Intelligent Design Loses

(AP) "Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said.

Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy," Jones wrote.

The board’s attorneys had said members were seeking to improve science education by exposing students to alternatives to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Intelligent-design proponents argue that it cannot fully explain the existence of complex life forms.

The plaintiffs challenging the policy argued that intelligent design amounts to a secular repackaging of creationism, which the courts have already ruled cannot be taught in public schools.

The Dover policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin’s theory is "not a fact," has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information. Full story

  • Al Bredenberg
    December 20, 2005 at 9:48 pm

    I enjoy your commentary on this topic, Rich, as it is a subject I’m interested in also.
    One thing I’ve noticed is that unfortunately the idea of “intelligent design” has quickly become associated in most people’s minds with creationism, religious fundamentalism, and political movements that are trying to influence school standards, curricula and textbooks.
    But it seems to me that the intelligent design model has some interesting ideas at its core — ideas that thinking people ought to at least consider. (Caveat: I’m not sure you can say there’s one single intelligent-design model, as there are a number of scientists and investigators working in this area.)
    Al B.

  • Rich Tehrani
    December 21, 2005 at 6:20 am

    Al, perhaps the best thing about these debates is that it gets us thinking. It makes us ponder our faith, how our faith meets up with science and also about how we became to be the creatures that we are. Technology will only advance more and when it does so it will give us the ability to more closely understand how we came to be and the nature of evolution. For example I understand there may be an attempt to reproduce a wooly mammoth soon.
    I agree that thinking people should consider possibilities they feel are 100% incorrect because only by having an open mind can we improve ourselves and learn more.

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