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Headlines Intelligent Design in court...

jamesp

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http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/nation/12749479.htm

First day for trial on 'intelligent design'

The case pits the Dover Area School District against eight families who say the teaching violates church and state.

By Amy Worden

Inquirer Staff Writer

HARRISBURG - A Pennsylvania school district sought to add Bible-based creationism to its science curriculum when it imposed a new policy that required the reading of a statement about "intelligent design," according to lawyers representing the plaintiffs in a landmark case that opened in federal court yesterday.

"Board members in starkly religious terms changed the science curriculum to advance a specific religious viewpoint," said Eric Rothschild, a Philadelphia lawyer representing eight families in the Dover Area School District in York County.

Two civil-liberties groups representing the parents sued the school district last year in an effort to halt its policy requiring ninth-grade biology students to hear a statement about "intelligent design" as part of their lesson on evolution.

A school board attorney told the court that the curriculum change was "modest" and that the board's goal was to pursue a "legitimate educational purpose."

"This case is about free inquiry in education, it is not a religious agenda," said Patrick Gillen, an attorney with the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan. The center, which lobbies for what it sees as the religious freedom of Christians, is defending the school district.

The suit, which is being heard 80 years after the famous Scopes "monkey trial," contends that the teaching of intelligent design violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

The case is being heard against a contentious national backdrop with an increasing number of attacks on evolution and the country split over the proper role of religion in government and the schools.

In 1987, in Edwards v. Aguillard, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a state law that required that creationism be taught alongside evolution. Richard Thompson, the lead defense attorney in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, said he believes this case will go to the Supreme Court.

The trial's focus is on a school policy that requires science teachers to read a statement presenting intelligent design - the concept that the universe is so complex it must have been created by an unidentified intelligent being - as an alternative to the long-accepted Darwinian view of evolution.

The statement says: "Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence... . Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." It then refers students to a book Of Pandas and People for more information on the subject.

In U.S. District Court yesterday, attorneys for the plaintiffs accused the school district of promoting religion in the guise of science earlier this year when the board instituted the new requirement, believed to be the first of its kind.

The plaintiffs' lead witness, Kenneth R. Miller, a Brown University biology professor and author of one of the leading high school biology textbooks, said evolution is "overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community" and that intelligent design "cannot be construed as scientific theory."

During cross-examination, defense attorneys sought to show that "legitimate scientific controversy" exists over Darwin's theory of natural selection and other evolutionary concepts.

Miller, who spent more than five hours on the witness stand, said "evolution is a scientific theory like many others," but added, unlike intelligent design it is a "well-supported, testable explanation."

Miller said the statement required by the board "falsely undermines the status of the theory of evolution," which is widely accepted by the majority of scientists and scientific organizations.

"It does not promote critical theory and it is a disservice to students of Dover School District," he said.

Witold Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said that requiring the statement "injects conflict between science and religion where none need exist."

But Thompson, the defense counsel, defended the policy as "the prerogative of the elected members of the school board and consistent with science education."

About 75 spectators filled the courtroom of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III for the start of the nonjury trial, which is expected to last 19 days scheduled over five weeks.

Outside there was a lone couple from Dover who came to the courthouse to pray in protest. Cindy Mummert, 53, who was with her husband, Ray, a pastor, read a Bible outside the courthouse.

"Our freedom to worship, to learn about God has been taken away from us," she said when asked why she had gone to the trial. "They're [the school district] not even asking for religious freedom, they're only asking for scientific freedom. But because it's somehow associated with God, it's not allowed."

Dave Volero, 43, took his two teenage daughters out of school to see the trial and attend a protest over a legislative pay raise at the Capitol two blocks away.

"It's a good civics lesson," he said during the lunch break.

Volero, who lives in Lewisberry in York County, said he did not think intelligent design had a place in public schools but his daughters were split on the question. Angela Volero said she did not believe intelligent design had a place in public schools. "That's what churches are for," she said. But her sister, Rachel, said she had "no problem with them throwing it out there. It's your choice whether you believe it."

WTF? They raise a semi good point that Evolution is a theory, and hence is not a fact, but there is still much more scientific evidence for this that for the idea that God created everything. And this is an obvious mix of church and state.
 

Darklight

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um... didnt we try this case in court already in like the 1950's or somethin?
 

void

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a good satire on this story..

http://www.slate.com/id/2127054/

The good people of Dover, Penn., are in court this week fighting for their right to tell high-school students that evolution is an elective, not a requirement. Intelligent design isn't just your great-grandpa's creationism, they contend. Instead, it fills in the myriad "gaps" and "problems" in Darwin's theory of evolution with an unnamed, omnipotent "designer." (Hint: His name rhymes with "Todd.") For this exceedingly pluralistic and tolerant worldview, Dover School Board members have gotten themselves into a world of trouble with parents, the ACLU, and pundits across the land.
But the critics are missing the beauty of this new theory. Because the really great thing about intelligent design is that it takes all the awkward uncertainty out of science. It says, "You know those damn theoretical gaps and conundrums that send microbiology graduate students into dank basement laboratories at 3 a.m.? They don't need to be resolved at all. Go back to bed, sleepy little grad students. God fills those gaps."
Let's face it: The problem with science has always been that each new discovery unleashes thousands of new questions and ambiguities. So really, the more we discover new stuff, the stupider we get. Clearly, that isn't working. ID says we shouldn't bother ourselves with resolving scientific inconsistencies or untangling puzzles. We should recognize that what God really wants is for us just to stop learning.
Think of the applications. Science is, after all, teeming with unresolved conundrums. What if we just recognized, for instance, that we can't make the Standard Model of particle physics work? This theory, which purports to describe all known matter—including subatomic particles, such as quarks and leptons, as well as the forces by which they interact—is plagued by scientists' failure to observe something called "proton decay." Now, if we apply the ID principle to particle physics, no one ever needs to put on a lab coat again. Quarks and leptons? They're made of God.
And so are quartz and leprechauns.
There are many thorny medical mysteries doctors can't explain: How can pluripotent stem cells give rise to any type of cell in the body? Why is the genetic marker for Huntington's disease characterized by an excess of trinucleotide repeats? What accounts for the phenomenon of spontaneous remission in some cancers? With intelligent design, we don't ever need to find out. Years from now, we'll all lie in our hospital beds while ID-trained doctors hold our hands and assure us that we are merely dying of God.
We'll all be able to huddle around our radios and listen to Car Talk as a family. After the question is posed, we can all yell out in unison with Click and Clack that the mysterious drut-drut-drut coming from that lady in Vermont's carburetor is … "God!!"
And Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit will be vastly improved when Mariska Hargitay can look ruefully over at Chris Meloni, shake her head over the dead victim's limp frame, and shrug: "Heck if I know what happened. It's a real mystery. I guess we'll have to get a warrant for God." Sigh. "Again." Cut to closing credits.
Replacing every single gap in human knowledge with a theory of divine agency would save us billions of dollars in wasteful public education. In fact, while we're at it, replacing every single Gap store with a God store would save us billions of dollars on flat-front chinos.
 

jamesp

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No, those were against evolution. This one is actually against the Right Wing Christian conservative position.

Science is, after all, teeming with unresolved conundrums. What if we just recognized, for instance, that we can't make the Standard Model of particle physics work? This theory, which purports to describe all known matter—including subatomic particles, such as quarks and leptons, as well as the forces by which they interact—is plagued by scientists' failure to observe something called "proton decay." Now, if we apply the ID principle to particle physics, no one ever needs to put on a lab coat again. Quarks and leptons? They're made of God.
LMFAO! This is great! Except that scientists have observed proton decay now. In Japan and the US. Its still pretty fucking hillarious.
 

Boycott

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Umm - I think people should stop wasting money worrying about what their kids learn in school ... Err... Let me rephrase that to FREE EDUCATION - and let the teachers teach what the teachers want to teach - as long as it is not morally wrong (which teachers should know the difference of right and wrong) it should be taught.

In my sociology, anthropology and psychology class we've been taught Creationism, Interventionism, and Evolution theories, all of which we went in depth with and learnt about key figures in each... i.e. God, Aliens(or god), and Darwin, respectively.

Why waste government money on taking this stuff to court? They're all theories, and if you know a theory, you are that much smarter - which means the education system is working, and the kids are getting smarter... So just say one or two of these theories are unacceptable to teach - and the kid wants to become an anthropologist, where is he going to learn the theories from?

I have just one question for the people limiting the stuff learnt in schools... Have you read 'The Giver'? Because thats what this all sounds like.

I'd also like to point out that the evidence for Evolution is much more believable than the evidence for Creationism - Fossils vs. a book - But it all boils down to religion vs. science in the end...

--And on a second note I would also like to add that I believe in evolution theory or interventionism (because aliens are awesome, and that Fermi was a jerk to believe they don't exist) ... Just making that clear if you couldn't see it in my writing
 

jamesp

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Yes, I have read The Giver, but people go to church to learn about God, not public schools.
 

Jung

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The statement says: "Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence... . Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view." It then refers students to a book Of Pandas and People for more information on the subject.
Well here's the thing, evolution is _not_ a theory; it is a demonstrable empirically proven fact. Darwinism, now that _is_ a theory, and one with many holes. But it's _the_ best explanation to be offered thus far.

Creationism isn't based on any scientific evidence, theories or testable assertions. It's a guess that fits a very limited scope of beliefs. So why does the church, and some religious types, deny evolution, logic, and proven facts, in favor of the _theory_ of creationism? Some even to the point of forcing it upon our young students, who may or may not have faith it said religion or subsequent theories.

Righteousness inspires pride in Christians; fundamentalists push for intelligent design to be taught in schools, forcing non-christians to hear the theory. But, when compared to evolution, intelligent design is _not_ rooted in science, but rather hearsay and guesses. 'Intelligent' design is just another religious agenda; a way to force people into ‘hear the word of god.’

Evolution, whether or not you agree with it, is based in science. That's indisputable, therefore its place is in science class. Period. Intelligent design is _not_ based on any science; therefore its place is in church, Sunday school or religion class. Nobody is taking away the rights of Christian's here, they're protecting the rights of others, and the respectable name of science.

It's sad to see Christianity regressing into a pseudo-science.
 

Boycott

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Exactly - but you need to be saying to the kids - Yes, this is a widely accepted theory, and the evidence for it is the bible... I don't even know how old the bible would be, since it talks about Jesus, who is around 2,000 years old...I'm getting the bible would be around the same time...
 

Woodreaux

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The fight to keep ID out of science class is not a waste resources. Not because ID is supportted by religious fanatics, but because it is an afront to real science. As a concept it is not totally rediculous. It has a logical foundation and sits fairly well as a piece of philosophy. But so does Aristotle's Dialectic and Confusiousism and the I-Chi. These topic are ripe for academic study, in the appropriate classes. Biology is not one of them! Nor is any other science class.
Furthermore, prepending Theory of to Intelligent Design is an assualt on the integrity of the Scientific Method. It is like bullshitting on your resume or falsely claiming to be a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
 

Jung

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I would be ok with intelligent design being taught if someone would actually mention that "this is a highly controversial religious theory that isn't based on modern science," but that's not going to happen. No more than you can expect bibles to come with disclaimers stating that "this book covers the teachings and lineage of the Christian cult."

These people want to bastardize science to promote their own righteous agendas; that has no place in any public class room. They don't want intelligent design to be taught for what it is, they want it to be taught as an conflicting scientific explanation for 'evolution.'
 

void

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Woodreaux said:
These topic are ripe for academic study, in the appropriate classes.
for instance, creative writing workshops..

not the science lab..

 

Boycott

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actually, Jung, when I learnt it in Sociology my teacher started talking about it and then brought up a few cases where people went to court over it, proving it was a controversial subject... Then he asked the class how many people believed it and no one put their hands up ... We all either believed in Interventionism (but he used the term "intelligent being" rather than something that would lead us to think it was a religious being) and Evolution...

And in biology, the only reason you'd learn evolution theory (other than for the sake of knowing it) would be because you wanted to become an anthropologist, sociologist etc, which also deal with the other 2 theories... Knowing those other 2 theories wouldn't really hurt - If they were to add it to the curriculum, but say that it isn't as important to know them as it is to know Evolution, and to say that evolution is the only based off of any actual science (except for part of interventionism) then I would think that would be justifiable.
 

Woodreaux

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If the religious fanatics do not cease and desist their meddling with science, then I'll begin sueing publishers of the bible, demanding they revise it because it disagrees with science, logic and common sense.
 

Darklight

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Woodreaux said:
If the religious fanatics do not cease and desist their meddling with science, then I'll begin sueing publishers of the bible, demanding they revise it because it disagrees with science, logic and common sense.
sadly the bible doesn't disagree with any of that... what it does do is remain just vague enough that it Could be explained by science, but the nuts wont let anyone do that because it would make them slightly wrong on an element of the bible.. and if they were wrong in one belief... then we might just disprove god...and wars have been started over things like that...

I could honestly see a world religious war fought between science and religion.. war and killing on a cruisades scale all to protect blind faith over hard fact...
 

Jung

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From Benjamin F. Underwood's "The Practical Separation of Church and State" (1876)

There is no argument worthy of the name that will justify the union of the Christian religion with the State. Every consideration of justice and equality forbids it. Every argument in favor of free Republican institutions is equally an argument in favor of a complete divorce of the State from the Church. History in warning tones tells us there can be no liberty without it. Justice demands it. Public safety requires it. He who opposes it is, whether he realizes it or not, an enemy of freedom. He who sees its justice and fails to use his influence in its favor is recreant to duty and unworthy the name of freeman.
 

Noalear

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If God is taught in school, Evolution must be taught in churches. Wouldn't that make things a little more fair? Only teach the facts in school and teach beliefs in church. Keep it that way or were going to have a fucking stupid generation behind us. I dont want the person building my airplanes to beleive that "god" will keep the wing on and protect me. I would much rather have the weldings and bolts.

Fuck god, he likes Bush.
 

I Hate The FCC

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Now that John Roberts is the cheif justice we can truly live in a fascist theocracy soon enough, and then we'll go through a revolution! :thumbsup:
 

jamesp

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Actully, Roberts is supposed to be more liberal than Renquist was, and [SIZE=-1]Harriet Miers is supposed to be more liberal than O'Connor, which is good considering she's up for the swing seat. I doubt a theocracy is in America's future but revolucion definitely is.
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