20 December 2005

It's Over in Dover

Score another one for the good guys. Science prevails again.

Today, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones rendered the ruling many were hoping to see, bringing the Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District case to a fitting end. The court's opinion delivered yet further stinging blows to "intelligent design" advocates and their anti-science, religious agenda. Jones' 139-page decision is available for viewing in its entirety here (.pdf), and conclusively states:

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. 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.
And now for my favorite portion of the court's opinion:

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.

One of America's most egregious anti-science organizations, the Discovery Institute, fired back with this press release immediately after the court's opinion was delivered today. I find this particularly funny:

"The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won't work," said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation's leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design. “He has conflated Discovery Institute’s position with that of the Dover school board, and he totally misrepresents intelligent design and the motivations of the scientists who research it.”

Sour grapes anyone? Why I find this ill-tempered response especially humorous (albeit predictable) -- Judge Jones' opinion not only included the following...:

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

... but Jones himself was appointed by President Bush, whose pro-ID, evangelical stance has been evident for some time. Holy psychic powers, Batman! Perhaps His Honor should have applied for James Randi's $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge beforehand. ;-)

The ID advocates' intellectual dishonesty once again takes the stage, visible to the nation and the rest of the world.

For further coverage of this story, surf on over to:

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Anonymous CCCP said...

Two words to not forget in the context of describing Intelligent Design are, "breathtaking inanity ..." Right on, man. Right on, reason.

12:45 AM CST  
Blogger Wolverine said...

Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?

12:45 AM CST  
Anonymous Reacher said...

It's always good to see that society's willing to show off it's left hook to defend science.

If only it did this more often.

7:09 AM CST  

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