Skip to comments.Trial Over 'Intelligent Design' Resumes
Posted on 09/27/2005 9:12:23 AM PDT by Junior
Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, the first witness called Monday by lawyers suing the Dover Area School District for exposing its students to the controversial theory, sprinkled his testimony with references to DNA, red blood cells and viruses, and he occasionally referred to complex charts on a projection screen.
Even U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III was a little overwhelmed.
"I guess I should say, 'Class dismissed,'" Jones mused before recessing for lunch.
Dover is believed to be the nation's first school system to mandate students be exposed to the intelligent design concept. Its policy requires school administrators to read a brief statement before classes on evolution that says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.
Intelligent design holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms. It implies that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force.
Eight families sued, saying that the district policy in effect promotes the Bible's view of creation, violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
Miller, whose cross-examination was to resume Tuesday morning, said the policy undermines scientific education by raising false doubts about evolutionary theory.
"It's the first movement to try to drive a wedge between students and the scientific process," he said.
But the rural school district of about 3,500 students argues it is not endorsing any religious view and is merely giving ninth-grade biology classes a glimpse of differences in evolutionary theory.
"This case is about free inquiry in education, not about a religious agenda," said Patrick Gillen of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., in his opening statement. The center, which lobbies for what it sees as the religious freedom of Christians, is defending the school district.
The non-jury trial is expected to take five weeks.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs began their case by arguing that intelligent design is a religious theory inserted in the school district's curriculum by the school board with no concern for whether it has scientific underpinnings.
"They did everything you would do if you wanted to incorporate a religious point of view in science class and cared nothing about its scientific validity," attorney Eric Rothschild said.
Miller, who was the only witness Monday, sharply criticized intelligent design and questioned the work that went into it by one of its leading proponents, Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, who will be a key witness for the district.
The statement read to Dover students states in part, "Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered." Miller said the words are "tremendously damaging," falsely undermining the scientific status of evolution.
"What that tells students is that science can't be relied upon and certainly is not the kind of profession you want to go into," he said.
"There is no controversy within science over the core proposition of evolutionary theory," he added.
On the other hand, Miller said, "intelligent design is not a testable theory in any sense and as such it is not accepted by the scientific community."
During his cross-examination of Miller, Robert Muise, another attorney for the law center, repeatedly asked whether he questioned the completeness of Darwin's theory.
"Would you agree that Darwin's theory is not the absolute truth?" Muise said.
"We don't regard any scientific theory as the absolute truth," Miller responded.
The Dover lawsuit is the newest chapter in a history of evolution litigation dating back to the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee nearly 80 years ago. More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that states may not require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism.
2005-09-26 Creationism, Christianity, and Common Sense
2005-09-26 Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution
2005-09-26 Dispute over evolution goes on trial in U.S. court
2005-09-26 Does Genesis hold up under critics scrutiny? (Creation/Evolution)
2005-09-26 New Analyses Bolster Central Tenets of Evolution Theory
2005-09-26 The Problem With Evolution
2005-09-26 With world watching, trial starts
2005-09-25 In Evolution Debate, Creationists Are Breaking New Ground
2005-09-24 The trouble with Darwin (Bush's I.D. comments changed Australia's Educational Landscape)
2005-09-23 Ultimate thread on Dover, Pennsylvania's Evolution v. Intelligent Design trial
2005-09-22 Court Case Threatens to 'Drag Science into the Supernatural'
2005-09-22 Evan Jamieson, hydrometallurgy (Creation/Evolution)
2005-09-22 Insight into our sight: A new view on the evolution of the eye lens (Desperate conjuncture)
2005-09-22 Intelligent Design: An Ambiguous Assault on Evolution
2005-09-22 Intelligent designers down on Dover
2005-09-22 Intelligible Design
2005-09-21 Intelligent design? Not on this campus [Pennsylvania]
2005-09-21 Researchers create functioning artificial proteins using nature's rules
Crevo Warrior Freepdays for the month of September:
2004-09-15 Diana in Wisconsin
In Memoriam. Fallen Crevo Warriors:
peg the prophet
Bring back SeaLion and Mondernman!
Oh no. Not another crevo thread
I don't see a problem with them mentioning the theory in school. School is a place that people learn, after all.
They are not asking the same disclaimer for gravitational theory, or electrical theory, or atomic theory, are they?
Isn't it natural and healthy to doubt everything?
I think we've both posted the same article. This is getting confusing. We ought to settle on one thread.
Oh my goodness! AP now endorses religion! It filed this under the "science" category! =O
Fine with me. I thought I beat everyone else to the punch.
Certainly. However, why single out the theory of evolution for a disclaimer?
Just wait. Someone will notice Joshua 10 verse 13, (The sun delayed going down about a full day), and demand a new theory of Newtonian mechanics that allows for the non-conservation of angular momentum. This conservation is 'only a theory' which 'has never been proven' after all.
Or maybe they will just challenge the heliocentric model of the solar system. All that astronomy may just be unproven theories as well...
Can I bill you for my bypass surgery when I need it?
"Intelligent Design, on the other hand, does not meet the criteria to be considered a scientific theory. Therefore it is impossible to prove or disprove it, or study it using scientific methods".
Honestly, if folks knew a tenth of what they think they know when it comes to the Theory of Evolution, this trial would never have occured.
Try this essay for a possible explanation of the long day.
`People feel most strongly regarding things about which they know the least.' Montaigne
Or something like that.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.