KvD: Plaintiffs (and Science Education) Win!

By | 2005/12/20

In a clearly-argued decision, Judge John E. Jones III ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District case.

Back in 2004, Casey Luskin and I had lunch. One of the topics of conversation was the legal status of “intelligent design” and how a court case might turn out. Casey argued that since ID had no explicit mention of the identity of the “designer” as God and no explicit use of scripture, it would have no trouble in court. I argued that the history of commonality with creationism and the identity of the arguments between the two would be found to put ID in violation of the establishment clause. I’m happy to report that Judge Jones concurs with me and not Casey.

The decision runs to 139 pages. Within those pages, Jones finds that the DASD “intelligent design policy” failed the “endorsement test” for both a reasonable student observer and a reasonable adult observer, failed both the “purpose” and “effect” prongs of the Lemon test, fails to meet the standards of the Pennsylvania state constitution, that evolution is compatible with belief in a divine creator, demonstrated that “intelligent design” fails to reach the status of science, and finds that “intelligent design” is simply a new label for the old content of creationism. The decision is a wonderful read, reminiscent of the quality of the Overton decision in the 1982 McLean v. Arkansas case.

Panda’s Thumb has several new articles and an update to the “Waterloo in Dover” article. However, server traffic has out-run the available bandwidth this morning.

And Glenn Branch tells me that Dembski may owe him a bottle of Scotch over a wager from 2002.

Scott and Branch add, “… the sectarian orientation of ID renders it unsuitable for constitutional reasons.”

Comment: They are herewith throwing down the gauntlet. I’ll wager a bottle of single-malt scotch, should it ever go to trial whether ID may legitimately be taught in public school science curricula, that ID will pass all constitutional hurdles. To see why, check out the fine Utah Law Review article by David DeWolf et al. at http://www.arn.org/docs/dewolf/utah.pdf.

(William A. Dembski)

Another point: the decision also finds that the “teach the controversy” stuff is illegitimate.

[…] ID, as noted, is grounded in theology, not science. Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science 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.

(Decision p.89)

2 thoughts on “KvD: Plaintiffs (and Science Education) Win!

  1. Pingback: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

  2. Ellery Schempp

    Congratulations to you, NCSE, AU, and ACLU for a wonderfully presented case and a clear victory for science education. The decision’s exposure of the sham that is ID also represents a victory for freedom from religious indoctrination.

    Ellery Schempp
    Abington v. Schempp (1963)

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