Intelligent Design Goes on Trial
From the LA Times:
In the beginning, members of the Dover Area School District board wrangled over what should be required in their high school biology curriculum.But this is only a prelude to the real battle. Whoever loses this case will likely appeal to the Supreme Court where Bush’s next nominee will probably cast the deciding vote. There’s a lot hanging in the balance on this one. Either public education will withstand the Christian Right’s attempt at infiltration or students in PA, and soon other states, will being hearing nonsense like this on the first day of biology class:
Some were adamant that science teachers should stick with the widely taught theory of evolution and random selection. Others said the teaching of "intelligent design" should also be required, arguing that certain elements of life, like cell structure, are best explained by an intelligent cause.
The debate had strong religious overtones.
"Nearly 2,000 years ago, someone died on a cross for us," said board member William Buckingham, who urged his colleagues to include intelligent design in ninth-grade science classes. "Shouldn't we have the courage to stand up for him?"
Today, a trial begins over the board's decision last year ordering that students be taught about intelligent design and flaws in Charles Darwin's theories.
Several parents, fearing the intrusion of religion into public schooling, filed a lawsuit to block the policy, backed by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.
Activists on both sides believe that the stakes are high in the case, which has divided this small rural town about 100 miles west of Philadelphia.
The proceedings in a Harrisburg federal court will be the first legal challenge to the mandatory teaching of intelligent design, which is championed by a growing number of Christian fundamentalists. The verdict, to be rendered by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, could have a profound impact on America's cultural wars over religion and its role in public life.
"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in theory exist for which there is no evidence…. Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin…. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind."