Rachels Gedankenkasten | Rachel's MusingsPosted on by Rachel
Just released on DVD, Nova’s show “Intelligent Design on Trial” chronicles the trial in Dover, Pennsylvania where parents and science teachers fought the edict of a religiously driven school board to read a 1-minute statement that Intelligent Design (ID) is an alternative theory to evolution. The show explains in good-old Nova fashion the background of evolution while recreating parts of the trial. The witnesses on the side of evolution present their case first. One of their key witnesses was biologist Ken Miller who educated the judge and the journalists covering the trial about the breath-taking facts of the theory of evolution. He points out how evolution had been threatened by genetics, when that field was a science in its infancy. Instead of debunking Darwin’s theory, genetics turned out to support it remarkably. Another witness was Philosopher Barbara Forrest who probably dealt the harshest blow to ID by showing that it simply is Creationism in new clothes (which the U.S. Supreme Court only in 1987 ruled to be incompatible with teaching science). In subpoenaed drafts of the textbook the ID people were trying to force onto Dover students, she found the same definition for ID before and after the 1987 Supreme Court ruling: Before, that definition was defining creationism; after the ruling it defined ID. She even found words that had evolved from creationism to intelligent design but only imperfectly. Obviously, nobody had spell checked the draft…
From the ID side, the key witness was, of course, Michael Behe and his idea of irreducible complexity. It is almost saddening to watch how his testimony imploded: His assertions rested on ignoring evidence, which was presented to him by one of the lawyers from the evolution side. In volumes. It was difficult even for Behe to continue to ignore that evidence when it was right in front of him. In a court room. Irreducible complexity is simply bogus, especially in the example he brings up. And so the whole case for ID goes down the tube.
Judge John Jones, who was appointed by George W. Bush, ruled that ID is not a scientific theory and that teaching it in school would introduce religion. Thus it is unconstitutional for ID to be taught in public school. His ruling was greeted with insults (a former Dover School Board Member called him a “clown” who should sit on a “circus bench”) and death threats. Apparently, those people who think there is no good without God become immoral as soon as somebody points out reality to them.