Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Judge tears apart "intelligent design"

We've been waiting for this to happen for a long time:
In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

The ruling was a major setback to the intelligent design movement, which is also waging battles in Georgia and Kansas. Intelligent design holds that living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of higher force.
It should be noted that Dover residents, in last month's election, had already dumped the school board members who had favored teaching intelligent design in classrooms.

The board members Judge Jones is attacking are already on their way out of office, which is a good thing. The court ruling is indeed welcome.

Before intelligent design proponents begin crying foul over the ruling, they ought to know a little bit of background about Judge Jones:
Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago.
(Emphasis is mine). Jones is not a Democrat. He's a Republican and a churchgoer. Not exactly the profile of a liberal "activist" judge.

Because the old school board is on its way out, this is the end of the road for this court case. The Dover school system is now governed by a board that opposes the teaching of "intelligent design".

Some final thoughts from the judge:
In his ruling, Jones said that while intelligent design, or ID, arguments "may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science." Among other things, he said intelligent design "violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation"; it relies on "flawed and illogical" arguments; and its attacks on evolution "have been refuted by the scientific community."

"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," he wrote.

The judge also said: "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."
Intelligent design is a prelude to teaching creationism in science class - which is totally unacceptable. Today's ruling is a well deserved victory for the scientific community and for reality.

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