Skip to comments.Live from Pennsylvania: Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Posted on 10/03/2005 8:11:37 AM PDT by Valin
This week, the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District opened in federal court. The ACLU is suing the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania for adopting a policy which requires that teachers read to students a three-paragraph statement about the theory of intelligent design. In his opening statement, Eric Rothschild, the attorney for Kitzmiller, argued against the legitimacy of intelligent design (ID). Unfortunately for Rothschild, the testimony of Kenneth Millera Roman Catholic biology professor from Brown University who staunchly defends evolutionhas already refuted his argument. And even more unfortunately, Miller was his expert witness.
Early in his testimony, Rothschild claimed that intelligent design is not science in its infancy, it's not science at all. Yet Millers own testimony contradicts this. In cross-examination, when asked by Robert Muise, the defense attorney, if during a debate between Miller and Michael Behe, an ID proponent, at the American Museum of Natural History, you [Miller] were presenting your scientific argument against intelligent design, and Dr. Behe was presenting his scientific argument in support of intelligent design? Miller responded: Absolutely.
Rothschild then asserted that there is no controversy in the scientific community about the soundness of evolution. But once again, he contradicted his own testimony. In another round of Muises cross-examination, Miller explained that one of the three core propositions of evolution is united under the term of natural selection. Yet only moments later, Miller pointed to enormous controversy within evolutionary theory on the relative values and weights to give to forces such as natural selection
Rothschild went on to claim that Intelligent design has arguments but these arguments are not a positive case for intelligent design, just negative attacks on evolution. However, when asked about an article he authored, Miller admitted that Dr. Behe's biochemical argument from design [states that] the evolution of complex biochemical structures cannot even or ever be explained in principle. Moreover, this positive argument states that there is some aspect of this complexity, which means we can say not just, we haven't figured it out yet, but we will never figure it out, and that's where the evidence for design lies.
Later in his testimony, Rothschild stated that ID proponents have not publish[ed] original data in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Attorney Witold Walczak asked Miller if there is a very recent publication, peer-reviewed publication, that bears on this issue of common descent? To which Miller responded Well, the answer to that is, there's more than one. And the one that comes to my mind right away is an issue earlier this month of the scientific journal Nature Despite Rothschilds claim, an article from that group defends ID. An article which Miller alluded to but failed to mention is written by the ID proponent, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, published in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, called The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.
Finally, Rothschild claimed that arguments made by ID rely on an act of supernatural creation. Miller admits, however, that ID proponents like Michael Behe accept natural causes all the timetheir doubt concerns whether natural causes exhaust all causes. ID proponents admit the limits of science, in that science can only infer design and not the nature of the designer. Although they see it as far fetched, ID proponents like Michael Behe dont systematically rule out the remote possibility that the designer could be super intelligent space aliens from Mars or perhaps time traveling cell biologists going into the past from the future and causing the structures to be put together. In other words, ID is a research program for doing sciencedevoid of commitments to the supernatural.
As the trial continues, more expert witnesses will take the stand. Its hard to tell whether Millers testimony did his cause more damage than good. At a hearing on September 9th, Judge John Jones addressed Barbara Forrest, another expert witness in the case for the plaintiff. Based on his comments, its hard to say whether Forrest will do much better than Miller:
. Within Ms. Forrests testimony, I see repeated references to quotes that were apparently derived from magazine articles and third persons that look to me to be inadmissible hearsay . I might find it interesting and others might find it even entertaining, but for the purpose of an expert report, Ill bet she hasnt probably testified many times, if at all, as an expert witness.
Joe Manzari is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.
I am so proud of the ACLU for being so concerned with children's education. If we can just keep the Pledge out and Darwin in, we can finally compete with the rest of the world.
You are absolutely right! How could I have overlooked such a necessity????
Crevo Warrior Freepdays for the month of September:
2001-10-26 Genesis defender
2001-10-09 Mother Abigail
2004-10-03 Nicholas Conradin
2002-10-20 Z in Oregon
In Memoriam. Area Freeper
Bring back Modernman and SeaLion!
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