T Nation

Intelligent Design Shot Down


In a victory for secular societies everywhere, it was ruled that "Intelligent Design" cannot be taught in public school classrooms.

Judge rules against ?intelligent design?
?Religious alternative? to evolution barred from public-school science classes

HARRISBURG, Pa. - 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.

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.

The school system said it will probably not appeal the ruling, because the members who backed intelligent design were ousted in November?s elections and replaced with a new slate opposed to the policy.

During the trial, the board argued that it was trying improve science education by exposing students to alternatives to Charles Darwin?s theory of evolution and natural selection.

The policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade lessons on evolution. The statement said Darwin?s theory is ?not a fact? and has inexplicable ?gaps.? It referred students to an intelligent-design textbook, ?Of Pandas and People.?

But the judge said: ?We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board?s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom.?

The disclaimer, he said, "singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere."

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism.

Eric Rothschild, an attorney for the families who challenged the policy, called the ruling ?a real vindication for the parents who had the courage to stand up and say there was something wrong in their school district.?

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., which represented the school district and describes its mission as defending the religious freedom of Christians, said: ?What this really looks like is an ad hominem attack on scientists who happen to believe in God.?

It was the latest chapter in a debate over the teaching of evolution dating back to the Scopes trial, in which Tennessee biology teacher John T. Scopes was fined $100 for violating a state law against teaching evolution.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in Georgia heard arguments over whether a suburban Atlanta school district had the right to put stickers on biology textbooks describing evolution as a theory, not fact. A federal judge last January ordered the stickers removed.

In November, state education officials in Kansas adopted new classroom science standards that call the theory of evolution into question.

President Bush also weighed in on the issue of intelligent design recently, saying schools should present the concept when teaching about the origins of life.

?ID is not science?
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.

Jones wrote that he wasn?t saying the intelligent design concept shouldn?t be studied and discussed, saying its advocates ?have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors.?

But, he wrote, ?our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.?

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.?

Former school board member William Buckingham, who advanced the policy, said from his new home in Mount Airy, N.C., that he still feels the board did the right thing.

?We were robbed?
?I?m still waiting for a judge or anyone to show me anywhere in the Constitution where there?s a separation of church and state,? he said. ?We didn?t lose; we were robbed.?

The controversy divided Dover and surrounding Dover Township, a rural area of nearly 20,000 residents about 20 miles south of Harrisburg. It galvanized voters to oust eight school board members who supported the policy in the Nov. 8 school board election. The ninth board member was not up for re-election.

The new school board president, Bernadette Reinking, said the board intends to remove intelligent design from the science curriculum and place it in an elective social studies class.

?As far as I can tell you, there is no intent to appeal,? she said.

The old board's actions may still have an impact, however. Jones also ruled that the school board would have to pay the plaintiffs? legal fees, which are not insignificant. Plaintiffs' attorney Rothschild said compensation would be sought despite the turnover on the board, but that the cost was still being tallied. ?We?ll sort out who we might pursue for this remedy in the days ahead,? he said.

This report includes information from MSNBC's Alan Boyle.



a big yahoo for science.

I'll give the obligatory " other side " an offer to give a viewpoint.

Any pro-creationists want to sound opinions?


A good decision, especially since this ID crap is spreading to Australia.

As America's 54th state, we can use this as legal precendence to argue against it.

Question - Bush said he thought it should be discussed in school. Is he just saying this so he can appeal to his Christian conservative backers, but knows it will get defeated in court? This way, he can appeal to his power base but knows it won't do any harm on account of it not getting through the courts. Or does he actually believe this should be a scientific subject?


Show me the absolute scientific evidence of evolution.
Why would people be so afraid of offering another 'unprovable' option?

This has NOTHING to do with science. It has everything to do with the radical liberal jurists new interpretation of the constitution. Remember, it's only been the past 35-40 years that this has been the 'intent' of the constitution.



I think Bush actually believes this crap should be taught /offered in schools.

I'm sure its a sign of the ruination of all curriculum.


Oh jaysus here it goes

  1. Based on the scientific evidence offered which theory in your opinion based on science better explains the current state of things ? Creation? ID? Evolution?

  2. Oh this is about the constitution now? I guess what you mean by this is that since we have secularized schools to make them more multi-cultural friendly, this fight is to bring it back in? Well acting like that outside of politics can get you into trouble but it isnt of itself a rational reason to pursure ID.

Would you want an islamic teacher or buddist teaching your kids/family about their faith? What if your family member got intrested in this enough to pursue it some day? You wouldn't like it. End of story.

Practically speaking and i know that you are a practical yeti, if this happened there would be mostly christian teachers granted but also from these other religions and we would have to take religous beleifs into consideration for a teaching job. This would also give teachers more problems than they would know what to do with they already have enough. Oh so you might want to let kids to choose who they would want to teach them based on religion you might say?

This would be bad, b/c you would have a classroom full of one viewpoint. Public high schools are better than private IMO b/c they let you be around different kinds of people this would partially defeat that.

So tell us how you would do it and why i wanna hear


First off, you know nothing of me or my family, so don't assume to know how I would feel with a person of any religion teaching anything to my kids.
It's interesting how this is often talking point one from those who want to close off other options. They claim others can't handle diversity.

  1. There are enough holes in the evolutionist doctrine to just say that is the most likely so that is the way I'll go. Remember when the world was flat?

  2. If you don't think this is ALL about the constitution, we have nothing more to talk about.

I'll try to respond to the rest of your diatribe, but it really lacks anything of real substance to discuss.

I would encourage my kids to explore anything that interest them. Why would I be afraid of them learning about Islam or Budhism? Are you afraid of these religions? Are you afraid your kids are too weak of mind and spirit to learn of outside influences and respond accordingly? Learning is just that. We aren't talking indoctrination here. It's simply offering another POSSIBLE idea. What is so bad about that?

Because private schools offer a more religiously focused education does not mean they lack diversity. That's just a foolish assertion. Obviously, you are just guessing because you've never stepped foot in one. You're thinking white,upper class,uniforms,don'tdrink,have sex, always home and tucked in bed by 10.
Except for mandatory religion (1 class a day) and church once a week (regular service) the curriculum and student body is much like that of the public school system. Not everyone who attends private schooling comes out a preist ya know.


But would you mind? Even if you are open minded enough to not care, it is true that many others wouldn't. Thats why america has the system of learning religous stuff on sundays or saturday( outside of classroom) depending on who you are.


WTF does this mean. We have the current 'system' because of a VERY few who can't handle the very diversity you claim is so great about public schooling over private. Believe it or not, just like all learning, it's not relegated to certain days or times.

And no, I would not mind. We aren't talking extremism here. We aren't talking indoctrination. Hell, if they wanted to make it voluntary/elective great. But the Anti's are so pent up that they have to have it completely removed from all public places. Who does that best serve?

Show me one piece of original documentation that specifically forbade any type of religious activity on any public space.


I just wanted to clarify that I don't have any problem with religion being taught in schools as an elective subject. I do have a problem with this subject being taught as a science subject.

I also think that there are far more interesting things that could be taught in a religion class, rather than spending a semester concentrating on a Christian alternative to evolution.


But it wouldn't be. It has been seperated here for this educational purpose. In reality, it's simply one of the trillions of pieces that make up the whole.

And I most certainly agree that it should not be 'forced' on anyone.


I agree...

I think that having a religious studies course as an elective taught in public schools would be cool...

but religion should not be taught as science...

I.D. is a religious subject and has nothing to do with science...

the concept of I.D. taught in a religious studies course wouldn't bother me a bit.


Well, according to CNN:

Jones -- an appointee of President Bush, who backs the teaching of intelligent design -- defended his decision in personal terms.

"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," Jones writes.

"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 intelligent design, who in combination drove the board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy," he said.

This judge decided to follow the law as it currently stands, whether you agree with it or not, and decided to let the higher courts overturn the law should there be an appeal.

In order to buy into the concept of ID, you MUST believe in a supernatural entity. Evolution, on the other hand, has never EVER said that God does not exist. In fact, many scientists, theologians, and even the Catholic Church, have said that evolution and a belief in God are completely compatible. So, why the big push for ID? Why must ID be taught? Please explain this because I just don't see the need for ID to be taught.


I won't pander to those of you who so desparately would like to enter into a debate, but rather I'll pose some topics of discussion and thought:

1) What is Creationism? To assume that Creationism is to believe that God created Adam and Eve with the snap of his fingers is akin to comparing God to David Copperfield. Instead, for those that DO believe man was created in such a manner, than I pose this question: If you believe that God created all things in 6 days, and rested on the seventh, do you also hold true the belief that 1 day to God is the same as you and I define a single day? If your answer is 'no' (that 1 day to God is not the same as 1 day in today's terms), then how can we, as Christians, allow the teachings that man was, in fact, created as a whole, complete man...from nothing? In other words, is it not plausable that God's most miraculous act is, in fact, that the world and all its creatures are so intertwined that man did, in fact, evolve from the earth? For, in fact, if ALL living organisms are composed of, primarily, the same elements, is it not both possible AND ingenious that all humans, animals, plants, and other living things are, in fact, as one?

2) For all those so vehemently opposed to teaching of Creationism as a plausible explanation to the existance of the world around us, I ask you this: Isn't education, by definition, the act of acquiring a higher level of enlightenment and understanding, and breadth of knowledge? How, then, does banning the introduction and teaching of one hypothesis, even if only in a cursory sense, promote enlightenment in our educational systems? The argument most often cited is that Creationism can't be proven or disproven, and thus is not scientific. Though, isn't much of what's taught in our educational systems based upon theories or only creative thought, at best? Reading poetry and discussing Poe, does little to teach our children how to write a constructive essay for a college entrance exam; it (poetry) is, however, another type of literary writing, albeit not functional or pragmatic. Thus, to ban teaching an opposing theory, whether one likes or believes in the theory or not, is to promote ignorance; not enlightenment.

I believe that the conflict stems for a simple, albeit grounded ignorance on both sides of the debate:

Evolution teaches us that all living things have evolved from spores that, most likely, first began living within the ocean particles. After a series of dramatic climate changes, the earth's temperature finally reached a "sustainable" level by which these spores were capable of developing via anaerobically-dependent (w/o oxygen)organisms. As major changes and more particles continued to interact with Earth, the environment became such that the highly toxic, and believed to be mostly Sulfuric gases (mist) that previously defined the earth's atmosphere, finally gave way to an atmosphere that gradually became more oxygen-dense. Thus, those species capable of adapting to aerobic metabolism survived...or, at least, multiplied with greater verocity; ensuring survival of the species. In essence, cosmic particles left on earth, combined with a changing Earth's atmosphere, is what Evolutionists agree is where our planet and its plants, creatures and humans have evolved from.

In 2004, the journal Nature (430, 149)ran an article discussing new findings from the Hubble telescope that supports the assertion that our galaxy has existed for Billions of years. Previously, in June 2001, Time magazine ran an artilce of similar focus - the Big Bang Theory.

To summarize the Time article: The Universe was created about 15 Billion years ago as the result of a giant explosion...The earth will/could remain habitable for another few billion years...After 100 trillion years, expansion of the universe will lead to disintegration of galaxies, eventually leading to Black-Holes (vortexes whereby matter is drawn-in and cannot escape) and, finally, just atomic particles.

Though, despite such findings, two questions still remain in science: What caused the explosion in the first place and, more importantly, where did atoms come from?

For if we're to believe that only Evolution is acceptable b/c it somehow is superior science, than how can we believe the finality of Evolution if we don't know it's true beginnings?

It's ironic isn't it: More evolutionary scientists would more quickly support the wholly unproven hypothesis that intelligent life exists on other planets, than to accept that Creationism may beget Evolution.

To wit, read something that was written, not by today's scientists, or even within the time period since Darwin first proposed the Theory of Evolution, but, instead was written in 4004 B.C. (i.e. over 6000 years ago):

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep...And God said, 'Let there be light: and there was light. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. [BTW, a firmament separates; thus, to seperate water from water, is to describe creating air where there previously was only vapors/gas]...And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit...And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth [NOTE: Make special note Moses writes that life was created from water, and specifically the Bible makes note that birds were brought forth, out of the water.]

"...But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God Formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. [BTW: Biology is defined as "the study of life", and thus, the 'breath of life', with regards to man, would be defined in biological terms, as 'Oxygen.']" - Genesis 1-2

As a Christian and a student of the hard sciences, I find it hard to believe that Creationism and Evolution DO NOT, or at least cannot co-exist. In fact, I see more evidence that the two are intimately intertwined, than radically opposed to the other.

And finally, to address the conclusion of our planet and galaxy, again, I find it reassuring that modern science has confirmed what was written by the prophet Isaiah, some 2700 years ago (713 B.C.):

"..all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved [BTW, in ancient times, the word 'heavens' refers to the stars], and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll [NOTE: Sorry to keep interrupting, but this is what I find most interesting. I assume that if I was living in 713 BC and saw a vision of a Black-Hole about the only comparison of my time that I could make would also be to say that the stars rolled into themselves like a writer's scroll of paper rolls into itself]

"...And the streams shall be turned into pitch, and the dust into brimstone, and the land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever." - Isiah 34

BTW, The word 'pitch' refers to a resin, residue or substance, primarily composed of hydrocarbons. Also, 'brimstone', for those science supporters, should be familiar with it's more common name - Sulfur (a gas); what the earth's atmosphere was primarily composed of in the first place....before all this Evolution started :slight_smile:

Interesting, isn't it...what one can learn when you read more than what is placed in front of you, and open your mind to the possibilities that true enlightenment doesn't come from banning opposing thoughts, but rather engaging opposings theories with unbiased, thorough and plausible conclusions.



  1. Please don't compare ID to poetry (especially E A Poe).

  2. Saying that we are ignorant if we don't want ID taught as a science is absolute monkeyshit and you know it.

  3. Many of us have already said that we arne't against ID being taught in a religious or even a philosophy class, but it isn't science and doesn't belong in a science classroom.

  4. Quoting the Bible as to why ID is a science does not work. Sorry.


Quoting Lockwood

'As a Christian and a student of the hard sciences'

You're lying.

No student of any type of science,unless it's some fukwit religious science would say that sulPHer (not sulfer) is a gas when in fact it's a yellow solid.

Yes, SO2 (sulpher dioxide)was a component of the early atmosphere,but amongst many others.

Do you think that your (false) claim of a science background makes your scriptural ranting any more palatable to those who don't really understand the issues here?

Please read anything by Richard Dawkins,he writes well,he speaks sense and he is right.


Everything has it's place.

Religion is not science. Science is not religion.

Life is good.

This is all about some people not liking the fact that some people choose not to get their view of the world from the same place they do.

To them, I can only say...



ID is not science.

Evolution is not perfect but it is scientific.

The big debate is about religion vs secularism.

Both have their place, but religion does not belong in science class.

I understand that Christianity has been under attack in schools but science class isn't the place to fight the battles.

My public school first grader has recently learned about Ramadan, Kwanza and Hanukah but her only exposure to Christmas has been learning what other cultures call Santa.

No mention of Jesus yet they talked about Allah and Muhammed. Something is fucked up in our public schools.

The idiots in Dover picked the wrong subject to fight the battle.


Actually- this has EVERYTHING to do with science. Science is a process that helps us determine the answers to questions about all sorts of topics.

If you let a few wild-eyed wacknuts (who lied on the stand) decide what should be presented in a science class, then you might as well let them decide every ounce of your curriculum. These board members (all of whom were subsequently voted out of their positions) are NOT scientists. In fact, based on their statements, they do not even understand what science is.


Furthermore- the fact that you were so quick to jump to the conclusion that this judge was a "radical liberal jurist" indicates your position and yoru bias on this issue.