Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Kitzmiller vs. Dover Case, 20th of December 2005

The decision in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Case is out.

If you are unfamiliar with the case, Dover Area High School administrators would read aloud, at the beginning of biology lessons on evolution the following statement stating that evolution is only a theory, not a fact:

"The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

"Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, 'Of Pandas and People,' is available in the library along with other resources for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves.

"With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments."

This task fell upon the administrators because it was something which the teachers refused to do.

One of the more important highlights of the trial was the uncovering of the fact that the intelligent design textbook "Of Panda's and People" had been a scientific creationist textbook until the Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987 which ruled that scientific creationism could not be taught -- soon thereafter, the words "scientific creationism" were replaced by "intelligent design" almost as if by a word processor. This came to light in the discovery phase. During the trial, this was a key part of Barbara Forrest's testimony.

In today's decision, Judge Jones stated that the key issue is, "whether Intelligent Design is science," and, "we have concluded that it is not." Speaking of Intelligent Design, he said, that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious antecedents."

For the entire ruling, please see: http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf

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