Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NOVA | “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” | PBS

I don’t know how many of you saw this last night, but it was a great documentary. My husband and I watched the whole two hours of it. We found it amusing by the attempts of the IDers to try to prove that ID is a “scientific theory” with absolutely ZERO evidence except for their assumptions based on some ancient texts. It was proven in this court case that ID is just “religion in disguise”. There is a discussion thread going on about it over at Panda’s Thumb.

Here is the link to the NOVA site where you can watch the whole documentary if you haven’t seen it yet. NOVA Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

Edit:The Judge Speaks

The 2005 trial of Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the latest major bout in a long-standing legal battle over the teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. The crux of the case was Dover’s newly implemented policy requiring biology teachers to read to students a disclaimer purporting that “gaps” exist in Darwin’s theory of evolution, and moreover, that there is an alternative scientific explanation called intelligent design (ID). The disclaimer suggested that students learn more about ID through a book called Of Pandas and People, 60 copies of which were available in the school library. (To read the statement in full, see Board vs. Teachers.)

Was Dover’s ID policy a covert way to introduce religion into a public school, and therefore in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? That is what Dover parent Tammy Kitzmiller and her co-plaintiffs claimed. Following six weeks of testimony from some of the country’s leading biologists, as well as arguments from the nation’s most ardent supporters of intelligent design, Judge John Jones issued a 139-page ruling on the case.

ID is not science
After a searching review of the record and applicable case law, we find that while intelligent design arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, intelligent design is not science. We find that intelligent design fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that intelligent design is science. They are: (1) intelligent design violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to intelligent design, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) intelligent design’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. It is additionally important to note that intelligent design has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.

ID is the progeny of creationism
The evidence at trial demonstrates that intelligent design is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. What is likely the strongest evidence supporting the finding of intelligent design’s creationist nature is the history and historical pedigree of the book to which students in Dover’s ninth-grade biology class are referred, Of Pandas and People. Pandas is published by an organization called FTE, as noted, whose articles of incorporation and filings with the Internal Revenue Service describe it as a religious, Christian organization. Pandas was written by Dean Kenyon and Percival Davis, both acknowledged creationists, and Nancy Pearcey, a Young Earth Creationist, contributed to the work.

Evolutionary theory is not antithetical to religion

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of intelligent design 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.

The disclaimer Dover wanted read to students is flawed
The disclaimer written by the Dover School Board singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource, and instructs students to forego scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere.

The goal of the ID movement is to foment a revolution
Intelligent design, as noted, is grounded in theology, not science. Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’ as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce intelligent design to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. Moreover, intelligent design’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not intelligent design itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the intelligent-design movement is not to encourage critical thought but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with intelligent design.

It is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution
We do not question that many of the leading advocates of intelligent design have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that intelligent design should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

No comments: