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SCI/TECH: Judge Bans Teaching Intelligent Design in Dover PA

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posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:31 PM
A federal judge ruled that Intelligent Design cannot be taught in Dover Pa. Dover was the site of former battle over intelligent design and Evolution, wherein the local schoolboard added Intelligent Design to its Science Standards.
"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in a public school classroom," Jones wrote in a 139-page opinion.[...]The six-week Harrisburg trial, one of the highest-profile court cases on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial, was closely watched in at least 30 states where Christian conservatives are planning similar initiatives.[...]
In a fierce attack on the Dover board - all but one of whom have now been ousted by voters -- the judge condemned the "breathtaking inanity" of its policy."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Having school-boards include religion in their class curriculae is obviously unacceptable, outside of the issue of Intelligent Design.
Intelligent Design is, in my opinion, not science. While there are some interesting arguements for it, ultimately it seems to boil down to faith.

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
Testing Intelligent Design Theory?
Protein structures and intelligent design
Creationist Confusion
Intelligent Design and Creationism. Why they cannot co-exist

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 12:35 PM
Here is another site with lots of information about Intelligent Design, but from a contrary perspective.
And here is the Discovery Institute, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design's, reaction to the decision:
Dover Intelligent Design Decision Criticized as a Futile Attempt to Censor Science Education

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 04:29 PM
danged "activist judges"!!! they're everywhere, they're noses are into everything....

thank God!!!

still don't see the the Christians are so gun hoe about this anyways...if creation could be designed with "intelligence" well, the next step would be to become intelligent enough to design a creation ourselves!!! If you want my opinion, ID is just an attempt to get that step into a position where it is more accepted by the masses..

then hey, let's play with the dna, create whatever we create....pretend to be lucifer and claim to be Gods!!!

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:00 PM
While I don't care to debate the "ID is not science" rhetoric in this thread, there are plenty of other threads where this is already being done.

Please feel free to join us here or here if you wish to discuss this further.

Things have gotten a little... crazy lately, but seem to have returned to normal; recent posts do not necessarily reflect the predominant attitude of their authors. But I digress...

In any case, I think people have really sort of missed the boat on this ID in school issue. In my own mind the issue is not religion vs. science, but turning the schools into some sort of political battle ground.

The fact of the matter is text books, and especially high school text books are not meant to on the cutting edge of scientific knowledge. Text books 'evolve' if you will, in response to overwhelming consensus from a particular discipline.

For example, there's no one out trying to make sure that the most obscure string theories are included in high school physics texts, etc. Origins biology isn't really a topic for most high school students anyway.

The only legitimate way for ID to enter into any cirriculum is gradually and NOT by force. For example, if things had been allowed to occur naturally, it's likely that the ID courses being taught at a handful of universities, wouldn't even raise an eyebrow, and maybe eventually it would have worked its way into a lecture in a science class. Let's face it though, it's really not even a lecture's worth of material at this point. Hell, abiogenesis, gets maybe a couple of paragraphs in any standard college level biology text, and in fact, without being asked specifically, I don't believe I've ever discussed abiogenesis in a Gen Bio. Course. Since ID competes mainly with abiogenesis and not evolution per se, one would expect that's all ID would get in any bio text either way. In any case, the point is were ID discussed in biology classes, it probably would have only rec'd a cursory mention. Hell, I've taught biology for.... well a lot of semesters, and I only really spend a day, maybe a day and a half as it is on all of Darwin and evolution - something that's supposed to unify biology!!

However the effort to strong arm ID into any cirriculum has been nothing but bad for the ID itself. The vast majority of people haven't even formed their opinion about ID via reading any IDT. It in fact, only makes it seem less credible. It's unfortunate that the issue has been turned into a political one.

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:05 PM

Originally posted by dawnstar
if creation could be designed with "intelligence" well, the next step would be to become intelligent enough to design a creation ourselves!!!

Hmmm... not sure if you're aware of this dawn, but there's a whole field of science devoted to exactly that. Believe it or not, they think they will eventually be successful. If they didn't, it's not likely they'd be doing it.

Originally posted by dawnstar
then hey, let's play with the dna, create whatever we create..

Again this is already happening; it's called genetic engineering.

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:32 PM
It's very sad that ID have been linked to religion and creationism.

But who is at fault for that? Well if we go back to see the groups interested in ID and the groups supporting and financing ID then you will get a littler bit confuse as what is the true agenda.

While is people trying to get ID gain a good reputation you have others trying to make it look like is all about religion.

I guess that somebody has to get things straight and shake off all the misinformation that is circulating around.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by marg6043]

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 05:47 PM
yes, genetic engineering, cloning, ect.'s all been done, in the labs. I bet they even have a few human experiments hiding somewhere, that they won't admit to....

how about a whole army of altered human warriors "owned" by the government? how could we get society to accept such a concept as being right and proper? a few hundred years, I got a feeling it will be!

religions balk at such things as being why are the so gun hoe on the ID theory....

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 06:00 PM
ID is nothing more than a backdoor attempt by Christians to regain the foothold that until recently they had into the prime ground for the indoctrinating children with their Dogma.

Good decision by this Judge. Restores a little faith in the judiciary (yes, pun intended).

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 06:39 PM

It's very sad that ID have been linked to religion and creationism.
But who is at fault for that?

No, you can't be blaming this on Bush, too ...
No, probably not this time.

Anyway, have to agree that students need to learn real science in their classrooms.

There is another place where they can learn about ID (if they want to) and it's been there all along.

It's called a church ...

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:30 PM
Another College Course on Intelligent Design and Evolution

From the Center for Science & Culture's Evolution News & Views Dec. 04, '05.

Dr. Martin Roth, a visiting professor, is not a supporter of ID, and may even oppose it. But he also may do a fair job of explaining it. Let's see.

If not, Knox in February will present a lecture by Dr. Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial and godfather of the modern ID movement. Students will be served by having his insights added to the mix.

Students at Knox, the Review Atlas reports, say they want to know more about ID than what they have been reading in the mainstream media. The college is responding.

We keep hearing about these courses in places one might not expect them. The Wall Street Journal and Knight Ridder have both carried recent stories of such activities developing on college campuses. Barbara Bradley Haggerty's story on NPR recently about persecution of ID friendly scientists mentioned 18 science professors around the country who would not allow themselves to be identified and interviewed for fear of persecution.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Do any of the oponents of ID here have any issue with a course like this being taught? Where do you draw the line?

There seems to be the overwhelming lack of respect about ID and i'm curious where we draw the line? Calling it biblical creationism when it's not, is not much of an argument imho....

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 08:47 PM
Rren, it would probably surprise many people who have read some of my post that I actually do believe that something intellegent had a role in the creation of the universe. However, that is a belief, not science. It can't be proven, although I could argue a pretty good case for it.

Regardless, that is not what science is about. Science education needs to be more about teaching the scientific method properly, since a fundemental grasp of this methodolgy can be applied to just about any subject. Science class cannot hope to teach everything, so it is more important to teach how to anyalize and experiment objectively. If some learning institutions want to have classes about the different viewpoints and opinions on ID vs. Evolution, then call it what it is, Sociology or even Philosophy, instead of Science. That is fine as an addition to Science studies, but should never be considered a valid substitute for or alternitive to Science.

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:02 PM

ID is nothing more than a backdoor attempt by Christians to regain the foothold that until recently they had into the prime ground for the indoctrinating children with their Dogma.

There's a thread on the origins forum called "ID is a fraudulent means to support creationism". Go make your case... you seem so sure and i'd like to hear why or where you're coming from. Creationism is, very specifically, something that ID science is not. I could say it's you who's trying to idoctrinate children with your dogma. You got to bring more game than some lame, unfounded, rhetoric... it is a nice circle though Leonardo.

Good decision by this Judge. Restores a little faith in the judiciary (yes, pun intended).

Indeed science by decree of law... excellent

As Discovery Institute said in its reply to this judgment (from Nygdan's link) "“A legal ruling can't change the fact that there is digital code in DNA, it can’t remove the molecular machines from the cell, nor change the fine tuning of the laws of physics,” added West “The empirical evidence for design, the facts of biology and nature, can't be changed by legal decree."

You're right though, why debate when you can legislate. Now that's good science.

There is another place where they can learn about ID (if they want to) and it's been there all along.

It's called a church ...

Name me one church that teaches about biological complexity, the anthropic principal, information theory, irreducible complexity, cell theory... anything origins related that moves beyond GOD said, and it was good... while you're at it give me the ID hypothesis that was formulated using religous text, which is what creationism is.

Rren, it would probably surprise many people who have read some of my post that I actually do believe that something intellegent had a role in the creation of the universe. However, that is a belief, not science. It can't be proven, although I could argue a pretty good case for it.

I more or less agree with you. ID is something very different than what you and others would like to lable it as tho. The claim is that it [ID] is testable and that it doesn't violate methodological naturalism... it is science imho. I'd agree that my views as an old earth creationist are unscientific (you can't falsify my GOD - i make no apologies) in the strictest sense and shouldn't be in any public schools. But for the kabillionth time ID is not creationism. These things are testable and logical... materialism has no "legal" rights to science... regardless what this judge believes.

[edit on 20-12-2005 by Rren]

[edit on 20-12-2005 by Rren]

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:38 PM
Belief vs. Knowledge again and again.

Like I said, Science is about methodology. It's about how to examine and analyze physical phenomena, using repeatable, observable results that are consistent over time.

What Science should say about the origins of the universe is that we don't have enough information to know for certain but there are many conflicting ideas. That is the truth. We don't. We have theories. We have ideas that we suspect are correct, but have no way to test or prove them one way or another.

By all means, go start a class discussing the issue, but don't call it Science. It isn't. As I said, it's Philosophy or Theology.

As for ID, remember that I said that I actually believe that this is the case, but the Creationists have co-opted this as a way to get back their franchise in the schools, not based on the possible validity of the idea. Go ask some of these hard-core fundies to explain in detail just what ID is and what it means, and I expect most of them will have an entirely different take on it than you or I do. To them, it’s just a convenient alternate label they think they can use to get what they are really after, a free opportunity to indoctrinate.

posted on Dec, 20 2005 @ 09:52 PM
I don't have any problem with ID being taught in public schools, but I don't approve of it being passed off as science. I don't see any conflicts between religion and evolution. The only real problem is with those who insist that Genesis is an accurate account of creation. Those who insist on such not only limit science, but God, as well.

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 12:06 AM
The decision

A bit long, but well worth the read. Much of it is technical, but I have snipped out some of the juicier bits:

The judge is particularly caustic in his comments about the the members of the school board who spearheaded the ID policy in the first place.

Although Baksa claims he does not recall Bonsell identifying “creationism” as the subject with which he wanted to share equal time with evolution, nor that Bonsell mentioned “creationism” at any time up until April 1, 2003, we do not find his testimony on this point to be credible. We accordingly find that Bonsell is clearly the unnamed Board member referred to in Peterman’s memo who wanted fifty percent of the topic of evolution to involve the teaching of creationism.

It is notable, and in fact incredible that Bonsell disclaimed any interest in creationism during his testimony, despite the admission by his counsel in Defendants’ opening statement that Bonsell had such an interest. (1:19). Simply put, Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful manner about this and other subjects. Finally, Bonsell not only wanted prayer in schools and creationism taught in science class, he also wanted to inject religion into the social studies curriculum, as evidenced by his statement to Baksa that he wanted students to learn more about the Founding Fathers and providing Baksa with a book entitled Myth of Separation by David Barton.22 (36:14-15, 17 (Baksa), P-179).

Plaintiffs introduced evidence that at public school board meetings held on June 7, 2004 and June 14, 2004, members of the Board spoke openly in favor of teaching creationism and disparaged the theory of evolution on religious grounds. On these important points, Plaintiffs introduced the testimony of Plaintiffs Fred and Barrie Callahan, Bryan and Christy Rehm, Beth Eveland, former school Board members Casey and Jeff Brown and William Buckingham, teachers Bertha Spahr and Jennifer Miller, and newspaper reporters Heidi Bernhard-Bubb and Joseph Maldonado. We are in agreement with Plaintiffs that with the exception of Buckingham, the testimony of these witnesses was both credible and convincing, as will be discussed below.

We will now provide our findings regarding the June 7, 2004 Board meeting. First, the approval of several science textbooks appeared on the agenda for the meeting, but not approval for the biology textbook. (P-42 at 8-9). After Barrie Callahan asked whether the Board would approve the purchase of the 2002 edition of the textbook entitled Biology, Buckingham told Callahan that the book was “laced with Darwinism” and spoke in favor of purchasing a textbook that included a balance of creationism and evolution. (P-46/P-790; 35:76-78 (Baksa); 24:45-46 (Nilsen); 3:135-36 (B. Callahan); 4:51-52 (B. Rehm); 6:62-63 ©. Rehm); 7:25-26 ©. Brown)). With surprising candor considering his otherwise largely inconsistent and non-credible testimony, Buckingham did admit that he made this statement.

Finally, although Buckingham, Bonsell, and other defense witnesses denied the reports in the news media and contradicted the great weight of the evidence about what transpired at the June 2004 Board meetings, the record reflects that these witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several occasions, and are accordingly not credible on these points.

In the midst of this panoply, there arose the astonishing story of an evolution mural that was taken from a classroom and destroyed in 2002 by Larry Reeser, the head of buildings and grounds for the DASD. At the June 2004 meeting, Spahr asked Buckingham where he had received a picture of the evolution mural that had been torn down and incinerated. Jen Miller testified that Buckingham responded: “I gleefully watched it burn.” (12:118 (J. Miller)). Buckingham disliked the mural because he thought it advocated the theory of evolution, particularly common ancestry. (26:120 (Baksa)). Burning the evolutionary mural apparently was insufficient for Buckingham, however. Instead, he demanded that the teachers agree that there would never again be a mural depicting evolution in any of the classrooms and in exchange, Buckingham would agree to support the purchase of the biology textbook in need by the students. (36:56-57 (Baksa) (emphasis added)).

The October 4, 2004 Board meeting agenda indicated that Nilsen had accepted a donation of 60 copies of the text Pandas. (P-78 at 9). There is no evidence that Bonsell, Buckingham or any other individual disclosed the source of the donation until it was finally admitted at trial, despite the fact that Larry Snook, a former Board member, inquired as to the source of the donation at a November 2004 Board meeting. (30:47 (Buckingham); 33:30 (Bonsell)).

The testimony at trial stunningly revealed that Buckingham and Bonsell tried to hide the source of the donations because it showed, at the very least, the extraordinary measures taken to ensure that students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. To illustrate, we note that at January 3, 2005 depositions taken pursuant to an order of this Court so Plaintiffs could decide whether to seek a temporary restraining order, upon repeated questioning by Plaintiffs’ counsel on this point, neither Buckingham nor Bonsell provided any information about Buckingham’s involvement in the donation or about a collection he took at his church. (30:50-56 (Buckingham); 33:31-35 (Bonsell) (emphasis added)). Buckingham actually made a plea for donations to purchase Pandas at his church, the Harmony Grove Community Church, on a Sunday before services and a total of $850 was collected as a result. (30:38-40 (Buckingham)). As proof of such donation amount, Plaintiffs introduced into evidence a check in the amount of $850 indorsed to Donald Bonsell, Alan Bonsell’s father, drawn on Buckingham’s account jointly held with his wife, with the notation “Of Pandas and People” appearing on the check. (P-80; 30:46-47 (Buckingham)). Alan Bonsell gave the money to his father who purchased the books. (33:131-32 (Bonsell)). When Spahr received the shipment of books and began to unpack them, she discovered a catalogue from the company that sold the books listing Pandas under “Creation Science.”

When we were moved to question Bonsell regarding this sequence of events at trial, he testified that his father served as the conduit for the funds from Buckingham’s church because: “He agreed to – he said that he would take it, I guess, off the table or whatever, because of seeing what was going on, and with Mrs. Callahan complaining at the Board meetings not using funds or whatever.” (33:129 (Bonsell)).

As we will discuss in more detail below, the inescapable truth is that both Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions about their knowledge of the source of the donation for Pandas, which likely contributed to Plaintiffs’ election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record. This mendacity was a clear and deliberate attempt to hide the source of the donations by the Board President and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee to further ensure that Dover students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. We are accordingly presented with further compelling evidence that Bonsell and Buckingham sought to conceal the blatantly religious purpose behind the ID Policy.

Furthermore, Board members somewhat candidly conceded that they lacked sufficient background in science to evaluate ID, and several of them testified with equal frankness that they failed to understand the substance of the curriculum change adopted on October 18, 2004. (31:175, 181-82 (Geesey); 32:49-50 (Cleaver); 34:117-18, 124-25 (Harkins)).

In fact, one unfortunate theme in this case is the striking ignorance concerning the concept of ID amongst Board members. Conspicuously, Board members who voted for the curriculum change testified at trial that they had utterly no grasp of ID. To illustrate, consider that Geesey testified she did not understand the substance of the curriculum change, yet she voted for it. (31:181-82 (Geesey); 29:11-12 (Buckingham); Buckingham Dep. 1:59-61, January 3, 2005; 34:48-49 (Harkins); 33:112-13 (Bonsell); 26:21 (Nilsen)). Moreover, as she indicated on multiple occasions, in voting for the curriculum change, Geesy deferred completely to Bonsell and Buckingham. (31:154-55, 161-62, 168, 184-87, 190 (Geesey)).

Third, Cleaver voted for the curriculum change despite the teachers’ objections, based upon assurances from Bonsell. (32:23-25 (Cleaver)). Cleaver admittedly knew nothing about ID, including the words comprising the phrase, as she consistently referred to ID as “intelligence design” throughout her testimony. In addition, Cleaver was bereft of any understanding of Pandas except that Spahr had said it was not a good science book which should not be used in high school. (32:45-46 (Cleaver)). In addition, Superintendent Nilsen’s entire understanding of ID was that “evolution has a design.” (26:49-50 (Nilsen)).

Although as noted Defendants have consistently asserted that the ID Policy was enacted for the secular purposes of improving science education and encouraging students to exercise critical thinking skills, the Board took none of the steps that school officials would take if these stated goals had truly been their objective. The Board consulted no scientific materials. The Board contacted no scientists or scientific organizations. The Board failed to consider the views of the District’s science teachers. The Board relied solely on legal advice from two organizations with demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions, the Discovery Institute and the TMLC. Moreover, Defendants’ asserted secular purpose of improving science education is belied by the fact that most if not all of the Board members who voted in favor of the biology curriculum change conceded that they still do not know, nor have they ever known, precisely what ID is. To assert a secular purpose against this backdrop is ludicrous.

Defendants’ previously referenced flagrant and insulting falsehoods to the Court provide sufficient and compelling evidence for us to deduce that any allegedly secular purposes that have been offered in support of the ID Policy are equally insincere.

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.

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.

(sorry about the excessive quoting, but those bits were too good not to post)

[edit on 21-12-2005 by HowardRoark]

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 12:30 AM
Wow, Howard. Very informative.

I'd say this supports my contention that this wasn't about the vailidity if ID at all but was in fact a mask to support a different agenda altogether.

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 08:06 AM
Good job Nygdan.

I watch trends in the "politicization of science" but missed this one from the New England Journal of Medicine. It kind of fits here.

Bioethics and the Political Distortion of Biomedical Science.

When prominent scientists must fear that descriptions of their research will be misrepresented and misused by their government to advance political ends, something is deeply wrong. Leading scientists are routinely called on to volunteer their expertise to the government, through study sections of the National Institutes of Health and advisory panels of the National Academy of Sciences and as advisers to departments ranging from health and human services to defense. It has been the unspoken attitude of the scientific community that it is our duty to serve our government in this manner, independent of our personal political affiliations and those of the current administration. But something has changed. The healthy skepticism of scientists has turned to cynicism. There is a growing sense that scientific research - which, after all, is defined by the quest for truth - is being manipulated for political ends. There is evidence that such manipulation is being achieved through the stacking of the membership of advisory bodies and through the delay and misrepresentation of their reports.

Full text here

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 08:13 AM
As soon as Sandra Day O'Connors' spot is filled, this ruling will be overturned.

A theory is a theory, and ID is a theory put forward by scientists who believe in a higher cause, being, diety, or god.
It should have equal play, as a scientific theory, as evolution, IMHO.


posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 08:28 AM

Originally posted by Seekerof
ID is a theory put forward by scientists ...
It should have equal play, as a scientific theory, as evolution, IMHO.

IMO - evolution is the best evidence of ID in existence: evolution is elegant, simple and it helps life survive through predictable -and unpredictable- change.

You might want to brush up on microbial evolution, and the use of evolutionary principles in drug design.

Evolution: The process of cumulative change occurring over successive generations.
Directed molecular evolution: A protein engineering technique that uses genetic algorithms to evolve molecules with new functions.

Source: Drug Discovery and Development

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 08:38 AM
Hey thanks, soficrow.
Accordingly, based upon you and some others, there is a whole lot of things I need to brush up on.

However, if schools are going to teach the origins of the universe, something that cannot be scientifically verified today, in a science classroom, then why not allow alternative viewpoints that likewise cannot be scientifically verified rather than simply just one? Discussion of ID does not require any type religious or Biblical references to be spoken off or offered as an alternative viewpoint or theory.


[edit on 21-12-2005 by Seekerof]

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