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Postby RugbyD » Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:34 pm

Dover school board lost in the courtroom

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 32_pf.html

Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'

By MARTHA RAFFAELE
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; 11:06 AM



HARRISBURG, Pa. -- "Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

The Dover Area School Board violated the Constitution when it ordered that its biology curriculum must include "intelligent design," the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled Tuesday.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.

"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."

The board's attorneys said members sought to improve science education by exposing students to alternatives to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection causing gradual changes over time; intelligent-design proponents argue that it cannot fully explain the existence of complex life forms.

The plaintiffs argued that intelligent design amounts to a secular repackaging of creationism, which the courts have already ruled cannot be taught in public schools.

The Dover policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact," has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.

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.

The dispute is the latest chapter in a long-running debate over the teaching of evolution dating back to the famous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, in which Tennessee biology teacher John T. Scopes was fined $100 for violating a state law that forbade teaching evolution. The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed his conviction on the narrow ground that only a jury trial could impose a fine exceeding $50, and the law was repealed in 1967.

Jones heard arguments in the fall during a six-week trial in which expert witnesses for each side debated intelligent design's scientific merits. Other witnesses, including current and former school board members, disagreed over whether creationism was discussed in board meetings months before the curriculum change was adopted.

The controversy also divided the community and galvanized voters to oust eight incumbent school board members who supported the policy in the Nov. 8 school board election. They were replaced by a slate of eight opponents who pledged to remove intelligent design from the science curriculum.

The case is among at least a handful that have focused new attention on the teaching of evolution in the nation's schools.

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court in Georgia heard arguments over whether evolution disclaimer stickers placed in a school system's biology textbooks were unconstitutional. A federal judge in January ordered Cobb County school officials to immediately remove the stickers, which called evolution a theory, not a fact.

In November, state education officials in Kansas adopted new classroom science standards that call the theory of evolution into question
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Postby Coppermine » Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:41 pm

Well duh.

The merits of Intelligent Design, as noble as they are, simply aren't science.
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Postby WharfRat » Tue Dec 20, 2005 1:17 pm

Someone needs to tell these folks that science ain't democratic. ;-D
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Postby Madison » Wed Dec 21, 2005 1:17 am

Teaching only one possibility in the classroom----BRILLIANT!


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Postby ironman » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:17 am

Madison wrote:Teaching only one possibility in the classroom----BRILLIANT!


;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7


Its science class. Not mythology.
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Postby JTWood » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:27 am

ironman wrote:
Madison wrote:Teaching only one possibility in the classroom----BRILLIANT!


;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7


Its science class. Not mythology.

Since when have courts had the right to throw out a philosophy being taught in a science class?

I'm not so much for Intelligent Design as I am against the reasoning for which it is being rejected by the courts. There is nothing illegal about teaching a philosophy packaged in a non-religious context, which is what this is. There are many school topics that fit that description, and they are not illegal. Since it's not illegal, each school system should be allowed to deal with the subject matter as it sees fit and the courts should stay the heck out of this.

Make no mistakes about it. This was thrown out because religious people support it, not because it's religious. That's bullcrap in my book because it's the exact opposite of what religious governments used to do to scientific people back in the day.
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Postby Coppermine » Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:25 am

It violates the Establishment Clause of the constitution.... which was set up specifically by our founding fathers to prevent religion from influencing the government... schools are federally funded, so there ya go.

On the other side of this is that regardless of what you believe, what constitutes science, biology and Darwin's theory of evolution are all based on scientific study and overwhelmingly reliable results. So while 50% of Americans have no idea that the Earth orbits the sun, should we perhaps teach that alternative theory just because "lots of people believe it?"

On the other side of all this is that Intelligent Design is religion. It's religious in nature, it refers to a higher being, a deity, a God and it's principles are mostly specific to Christianity. While the idea of intelligent design, as I said, is noble; it is not a scientific theory in any way, shape or form and is simply not a reasonable alternative to the theory of evolution as far as scientific studies go.

The simple truth is that most people are simply misinformed over what the definition of theory is, what the study of science encompasses and how Intelligent Design is religion in the classroom.
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Postby acsguitar » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:18 pm

JTWood wrote:
ironman wrote:
Madison wrote:Teaching only one possibility in the classroom----BRILLIANT!


;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7 ;-7


Its science class. Not mythology.

Since when have courts had the right to throw out a philosophy being taught in a science class?

I'm not so much for Intelligent Design as I am against the reasoning for which it is being rejected by the courts. There is nothing illegal about teaching a philosophy packaged in a non-religious context, which is what this is. There are many school topics that fit that description, and they are not illegal. Since it's not illegal, each school system should be allowed to deal with the subject matter as it sees fit and the courts should stay the heck out of this.

Make no mistakes about it. This was thrown out because religious people support it, not because it's religious. That's bullcrap in my book because it's the exact opposite of what religious governments used to do to scientific people back in the day.


Um....Are you arguing that philosophy should be taught in science class?

Yea there is no arguement for that one
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Postby knapplc » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:41 pm

Coppermine wrote:It violates the Establishment Clause of the constitution.... which was set up specifically by our founding fathers to prevent religion from influencing the government... schools are federally funded, so there ya go.

On the other side of this is that regardless of what you believe, what constitutes science, biology and Darwin's theory of evolution are all based on scientific study and overwhelmingly reliable results. So while 50% of Americans have no idea that the Earth orbits the sun, should we perhaps teach that alternative theory just because "lots of people believe it?"

On the other side of all this is that Intelligent Design is religion. It's religious in nature, it refers to a higher being, a deity, a God and it's principles are mostly specific to Christianity. While the idea of intelligent design, as I said, is noble; it is not a scientific theory in any way, shape or form and is simply not a reasonable alternative to the theory of evolution as far as scientific studies go.

The simple truth is that most people are simply misinformed over what the definition of theory is, what the study of science encompasses and how Intelligent Design is religion in the classroom.


ID is classified as a “religion” most often because its proponents are almost exclusively Christian. However, if you look at ID without preconceived notions of a Higher Being (that it is the Christian God, the Muslim God, the Hindu Gods, the Great Wheel or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) it is not a completely unreasonable concept. It takes a leap of faith to believe that “God” created life. In my opinion, it takes a similar leap of faith (albeit in a different direction) to believe that all life originated from the same primordial pool of goop.

To believe in ID you have to accept that a God you cannot see, will never meet and cannot quantify or reasonably define has made you and everything you see around you. You will never be able to prove or disprove this theory short of dying and returning with a video and a brochure from Heaven/Valhalla/Zion/Paradise/etc. That hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not likely to happen tomorrow, so IDers have to rely on faith. Faith not being verifiable via the scientific method, it creates problems with scientists.

To believe in Evolution you have to accept that all life originated in one “magic” moment when, in a setting more ideal than that in a modern laboratory, all the basic building blocks of life (amino acids, carbons, water, etc.) were in one pool at one time, coalesced and began to live. The creature that was formed by these random bits must have been able to ingest nutrients and eliminate waste, heal itself, defend itself from the elements and reproduce copies of itself upon the instant of its forming. The odds of this happening being exceedingly remote, many people find this concept difficult to believe.

What’s funny about this is that, if you look at the Evolutionist’s argument, they are primarily denying that ID should be taught because it is faith-based. However, so much of Evolution must be taken on faith that I find that argument to be comically ironic.

The problem I have with expunging any other theory besides Evolution is that our good friends the scientists are so often wrong. These are the same people who taught us that the Sun revolved around the Earth, that the Earth is flat, that maggots are formed by meat, etc. Sure, all of these have since been disproved by science, but in their day each were Sacred Cows of science and unassailable by any other school of thought.

IDers say they have the Final Answer on the origins of life. Evolutionists say they have the Final Answer on the origins of life.

I say neither has the whole answer, and both have huge, unexplained gaps in their reasoning.

It all depends in who/what you want to put your faith in.
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Postby knapplc » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:46 pm

Coppermine wrote:Well duh.

The merits of Intelligent Design, as noble as they are, simply aren't science.


What constitutes "science" is often whatever thought/theory you are comfortable in espousing. The Big Bang, Evolution and many other popular scientific beliefs are taken on faith because, at the moment, we simply don't have all the answers.

Until we do, those theories must be taken on faith. If we're not teaching faith in our schools, why are we teaching theories that we have no proof of?
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