Dover judge rules against "intelligent design" creationism

Ow. That's gotta sting:
"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy," Jones wrote. "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."
And Judge John E. Jones III's conclusion:
Jones said advocates of intelligent design "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors" and that he didn't believe the concept shouldn't be studied and discussed.

"Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom," he wrote.
It looks like Judge Jones ruled broadly, rather than narrowly, that it is un-Constitutional to teach "intelligent design" creationism in a public school science classroom, because doing so violates the Establishment Clause. Excellent.

Maybe I'll write more on this later...

ADDENDUM: PZ Myers has more and a link to the complete decision. The snippets I had time to peruse briefly represent a resounding slapdown of ID-iocy and a joy to read. It took only a minute skimming this 139 page document to find some beautiful rebukes of ID advocates. My favorite parts thus far:
Although Defendants attempt to persuade this Court that each Board member who voted for the biology curriculum change did so for the secular purposed of improving science education and to exercise critical thinking skills, their contentions are simply irreconcilable with the record evidence. Their asserted purposes are a sham, and they are accordingly unavailing, for the reasons that follow.

We initially note that the Supreme Court has instructed that while courts are “normally deferential to a State’s articulation of a secular purpose, it is required that the statement of such purpose be sincere and not a sham.” Edwards, 482 U.S. at 586-87 (citing Wallace, 472 U.S. at 64)(Powell, J., concurring); id. at 75 (O’Connor, J., concurring in judgment). Although as noted Defendants have consistently asserted that the ID Policy was enacted for the secular purposes of improving science education and encouraging students to exercise critical thinking skills, the Board took none of the steps that school officials would take if these stated goals had truly been their objective. The Board consulted no scientific materials. The Board contacted no scientists or scientific organizations. The Board failed to consider the views of the District’s science teachers. The Board relied solely on legal advice from two organizations with demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions, the Discovery Institute and the TMLC. Moreover, Defendants’ asserted secular purpose of improving science education is belied by the fact that most if not all of the Board members who voted in favor of the biology curriculum change conceded that they still do not know, nor have they ever known, precisely what ID is. To assert a secular purpose against this backdrop is ludicrous.

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. 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 constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. 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.
What a fine Christmas present!

Hmmm. Maybe I don't need to comment any further. The ruling is crystal-clear without any additional opinion of mine interjected. I can't wait to see how William Dembski and other ID proponents try to spin this very harsh ruling.


  1. My, my - what a pleasant surprise. Nobody was really in doubt that the judge would rule against ID, but doing it this way? Sweet.

    BTW wouldn't some of the witnesses be in trouble for lying udner oath?

  2. "Breathtaking inanity" indeed, once one has read the chronology of the school board's actions contained in the decision. Pretty good analysis and refutation of ID, as well. This guy, Judge Jones, should be on the Supreme Court. He's certainly far more qualified than Harriet Miers (though that's not saying much, of course).

  3. My college professor, Leo Pfeffer, would be overjoyed at this decision. Keeping that wall strong is so important. Mixing religion and government is like political incest.

  4. "Breathtaking inanity"

    ID is pretty inane. It's in the same gutter as all Creationism: Argument from ignorance and argument from lack of imagination. It's just one least opposed to science, but not by very much.

    Maybe if these people got off their duffs and did some REAL science, rather than rephrase and rehash millenia old canards, they might actually find a testable way to determine the existence of deities.

  5. Hurrah!

    Problems with ID: ID proponents mistake the term "theory" in science for the colloquial term – and they have two different meanings. In science, a theory is a formula that explains the physical world which has been tested and verified and can be falsified. In the realm of astronomy, replace “tested” with “observed.”

    “Intelligent design” is a theory that cannot be tested or verified and there is absolutely no way to falsify it. After all, it probes into the supernatural which, by definition, is outside the physical world (i.e., not science). ID is mysticism.

    For the record, I’m an atheist and I have no passionate objection to ID being taught in a public school format so long as it’s under the heading of theology (I have to qualify that statement by saying things like, in a perfect world where kids could actually succeed at the basics, I would be okay with them spending class time on ethereal concepts – but as it is, I’m more interested in kids actually reading English when they graduate – but on principle, I’m okay with ID). Additionally, it would have to be taught alongside all the other world religions (including Voo Doo, Santeria and the half naked tribesman who wears a grass skirt and shakes a stick at the sick). Then it becomes part of investing in a generation of future adults who are well rounded, cultured people. Of course, giving kids a global perspective will likely set off a light bulb in most of their heads later on in life – gee, how was it that thousands of religions from the beginning of history are all wrong except for the one with baby Jesus, a manger and three wise men? (good thinking like that is priceless)

    Christian’s believe that what happens is always God’s will. That includes some pretty heinous evils – famine, rape, a tsunami, plagues, war. And it includes the ruling against ID. I guess even God agrees ID isn’t science.

    On a final note, I find it nauseatingly ironic that we American’s have bad-mouthed the middle easterners and their Islamic rule. Our war with Iraq has produced a democratic constitution for the former theocracy and yet right here, right in the U.S.A., separation of church and state in our own constitution means absolutely nothing to our own president (yeah, incredibly that’s you Dubya!) who has been outwardly supportive of ID being taught in public schools as science.

    What F***** hypocrisy!

  6. A final irony . . . Judge Jones, far from being the "liberal activist judge" the IDiots are sure to call him, was appointed to his bench in 2002 by George W. Bush. ;-)

  7. I suspect that if one checks Judge Jones' record, one would see a fairly conservative judge who would be acceptable to the religious right...until yesterday.

    I did come up with a good headline for the story:

    ID on ID (Intelligent Decision on Inteilligent Design).

  8. This is the best news to come out of the US in a long time, hopefully the ruling can be used to scotch the nonsense going on in Kansas.

    By the way, has anyone thought of compiling a complete list of rulings that can be used to oppose ID/CS/Creationism?

  9. Judge Jones was confirmed 96-0 and is a political ally of Tom Ridge and Rick Santorum. I am certain that the IDers while whine he is a secular humanist, although his bio mentions he is a Lutheran.

  10. You can find lots of links to good blog responses here, here, here and here.


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