Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Science wins in Dover

If you follow the science news at all, you probably have alread heard about today's ruling in the the Dover trial (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District) over whether so-called "Intelligent Design" can be taught in the public school classroom. Judge Jones did not mince words:
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.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.
You can read Judge Jones' whole decision over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars. (I'll confess that I haven't read the entire 139 page ruling.)

• News article from the York Daily Record, which has had great coverage throughout the trial.

I can't think of anything to say that hasn't already been commented on by others, so I point to a few of the key posts:

• Carl Zimmer has an overview of the decision at The Loom.

• Jason Rosenhouse of the EvolutionBlog points out that this is what happens when the facts are fairly presented in a venue where the participants are required to stick to the facts, rather than rhetoric, soundbites, and appeals to emotion.

• PZ Myers at Pharyngula comments on Judge Jones' take on the testimony of defense witness Michael Behe.

• Matt Brauer at the Panda's Thumb comments on the Judge's take on the testimony of defense witness Steven Fuller.

• C. E. Petit has a more legal take on the ruling at Scriveners Error

The Questionable Authority is collecting posts on the ruling for a one time Dover Blog Carnival. Check back later for a roundup of posts on both sides of the issue (that is if any pro-IDers submit posts for inclusion).

(It's interesting that Judge Jones is a Republican appointee of George W. Bush. Not all Republicans live outside the reality based world).

Update: apparently the blogosphere is starting to call this Kitzmas. Very cute. (via Language Log)

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