Tag Archives: Stephen Barr

Dover Design Debate Debacle

Dover, Pennsylvania.  Symbol of the defeat of Intelligence Design as scientific theory..... or a tragic setback for the advancement of scientific discourse?

Dover, Pennsylvania. Symbol of the defeat of Intelligent Design as scientific theory….. or a tragic setback for the advancement of scientific discourse? (photo credit: msnbc)

Should Intelligent Design be taught as science in the classroom?

It has been almost ten years since the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case in Dover, Pennsylvania. There a group of elected school board officials, spearheaded by some Christians favoring Young Earth Creationism, sought to have a particular biology textbook removed from the classroom. The biology textbook was co-authored by Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University, a practicing Catholic, and an outspoken advocate of what some call “theistic evolution.” Instead, a different textbook developed by the Discovery Institute, Of Pandas and People, would be used. The Discovery Institute is a think-tank that advocates Intelligent Design as opposed to Darwinian Evolution, among other important cultural and intellectual interests. A lawsuit ensued, and while it was not as big and spectacular as the famous 20th century Scopes Monkey Trial, the Dover case still became a media sensation. In the end, the court ruled that teaching Intelligent Design in a public school science class is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The court reasoned that Intelligent Design (ID) is not science and therefore cannot be uncoupled from its Creationist, and therefore religious, antecedents.

It was a devastating blow to the movers and shakers behind Intelligent Design. I pretty much thought that the ID movement was dead in the water after that. However, the issues behind the controversy are still with us.
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