The U.S. District Court for central Pennsylvania handed down a decision in the case of Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District on Tuesday, and dealt a serious blow to the Creationists trying to sneak the doctrine of divine creation into high-school science classes. The court decided in favor of the plaintiffs (a group of parents and teachers) and against the school board.
In 2004 the Dover school board voted to change the school curriculum to include a disclaimer stating that Darwinian evolution was just a theory with gaps which could not be explained. They also added an "Intelligent Design" textbook to the course. All this was justified in the name of giving equal time to a rival scientific theory.
The judge didn't buy it. "The effect of Defendants’ actions in adopting the curriculum change was to impose a religious view of biological origins into the biology course, in violation of the Establishment Clause."
Judge Jones (who is, by the way, a Republican and who goes out of his way to point out that "this is manifestly not an activist Court.") was obviously very unhappy with the Dover school board members behind the curriculum change. In his 138-page decision (which can be found here), the judge concluded that "Intelligent Design" is not science at all, for three reasons:
"(1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community."
The judge noticed that the "Intelligent Design" proponents were being deliberately deceptive in their attempt to sneak it into the curriculum:
"Moreover, ID’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 ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."
The really devastating part is where the decision scolds the defendants for their dishonesty in lying about their motives and actions. He practically throws his gavel at them:
"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."
Finally, Judge Jones seems to have run out of patience entirely:
"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."
So, no discount on BONE WARS for Pennsylvanians. Sorry, folks.