Intelligent Design struck down in Federal Court

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. Judge Rules Against Pa. Biology Curriculum

    By MARTHA RAFFAELE, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago

    "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 that evolution develops through natural selection. Intelligent-design proponents argue that the theory 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 judge agreed.

    "We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom," he wrote in his 139-page opinion.

    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" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.

    Jones wrote that he wasn't saying the intelligent design concept shouldn't be studied and discussed, saying its advocates "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors."

    But, he wrote, "our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom."

    The controversy divided the community and galvanized voters to oust eight incumbent school board members who supported the policy in the Nov. 8 school board election.

    Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

    The board members were replaced by a slate of eight opponents who pledged to remove intelligent design from the science curriculum.

    Eric Rothschild, the lead attorney for the families who challenged the policy, called the ruling "a real vindication for the parents who had the courage to stand up and say there was something wrong in their school district."

    Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., which represented the school board, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

    The dispute is the latest chapter in a long-running debate over the teaching of evolution dating back to the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, in which Tennessee biology teacher John T. Scopes was fined $100 for violating a state law that forbade teaching evolution. The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed his conviction on a technicality, and the law was repealed in 1967.

    Jones heard arguments in the fall during a six-week trial in which expert witnesses for each side debated intelligent design's scientific merits. Other witnesses, including current and former school board members, disagreed over whether creationism was discussed in board meetings months before the curriculum change was adopted.

    The case is among at least a handful that have focused new attention on the teaching of evolution in the nation's schools.

    Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in Georgia heard arguments over whether evolution disclaimer stickers placed in a school system's biology textbooks were unconstitutional. A federal judge in January ordered Cobb County school officials to immediately remove the stickers, which called evolution a theory, not a fact.

    In November, state education officials in Kansas adopted new classroom science standards that call the theory of evolution into question.
  2. that is good news but i can tell you what they will say in my church. "this is just more proof that education today is anti god and you should put your kids in our christian schools where they can be taught the truth". their version of truth is that some unseen deity in the sky one day decided to pick up a handful of clay and breathed on it and that clay turned into a man. then a while later while man was sleeping this deity decided to take a rib from the man and used that to create a woman.
  3. Why don't you stand up in the pew and tell them what you think?
  4. i go because my wife asks me to with her. she has many friends there. i wouldnt want to hurt her. i can handle it.
  5. I can see the spirit of compromise is missing from your perspective....

    Many people who support the concept of intelligent design don't support a literal Biblical instruction set.

    I don't want biology teachers teaching their religion or atheism to students. No teacher should be pushing an atheistic or religous agenda.

    Just the facts, less speculative unprovable theory will do nicely.

  6. and exactly what form of creationism would you support? you could wipe every trace of darwin off the face of the earth and it would not hurt the evolution theory one bit because the ideas have been tested and observed. while there are still gaps in our knowledge nothing points us in another direction.
  7. dude: preacher, which one did God create first, the egg or the hen?
    preacher: I don't know. I never ask Him dumb questions!
  8. Facts please.

    You do understand the concept of accuracy, right?

    Say you were going to take a trip to the the moon.

    Could you be right 99% in your course planning and still get there?

    No, as the smallest margin of error becomes more significant over longer distances.

    So to when it comes to our origin, (by all accounts a very far distance from where we are today) teaching anything as a truth without 100% knowledge is not science, nor is it scientific. If it is taught as "what is accepted today by scientists" that means nothing, as history has shown the fashion of scientists and their beliefs are subject to change as knowledge deepens. I can't stand the fundamentalism of the scientists any more than their counterpart in the theist side of the argument.

    Rather than teach speculative conclusions, teach fact, and keep the wonder in children alive. Yes, high school kids are kids, not adults.

    Let them be absolutely free of bias to decide for themselves what is our origin, our purpose, and the nature of our being.

    The reaction by the extreme right wing Christians is a normal and expected response to putting science and scientists where they don't belong, i.e. Shamans and modern day witch doctors.

    Teach facts of biology, and keep the speculative unprovable theories out of science class for students in high school and below.

    I am firm, and have been consistently firm on this position. I say we teach only fact of biological process in high schools, none of the speculative crap either way.

  9. Wake up!
    Stop dreaming aloud.
  10. in science you can never know for 100% sure. you can only observe and test. lets take ideas of origin. on one side we have an idea based on an old book written by primitive men who thought thunder and lightening were god speaking.
    on the other side we have over 100 years of scientific observations and testing by the best means we have available. which do you think is more accurate?

    #10     Dec 20, 2005