In part one of this series we covered the first three court cases whose decisions paved the way for the censoring of theories in science class which attribute the origin of humanity to the existence of a Creator. In part two, we’ll pick up right where we left off…
Kitzmiller vs Dover
In October of 2004, a school board in Dover, Pennsylvania passed a resolution requiring the reading of the following statement at the beginning of each 9th grade biology class:
“The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution and eventually take a standardized test of which evolution is a part. 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. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unites a broad range of observations. Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, “Of Pandas and People,” is available in the library along with other resources for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards based assessments.”
Below are the first two pages of the court documents which record the statement to be read. These documents are public domain and can be accessed in their entirety at Wikimedia Commons.
Eight families in Dover somehow took issue with this and, backed by the ACLU, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the validity of the statement.
Notice that Dover school board’s statement doesn’t even use the words “creation science.” Instead they reference “intelligent design”. If you don’t follow science, you may not be aware that Intelligent Design is actually a movement that is wholly separate from creation science. Primarily ID differs from creationism in that, while creation science is the examination of scientific evidence through a “biblical lens,” ID is agnostic regarding their source of design and has no basis in the Bible or any other sacred text.
You might think this would be an acceptable compromise in the eyes of the court, but you would be mistaken.
The prosecution claimed that ID is indistinguishable from creation science and therefore unconstitutional. In December of 2005 US district court Judge John E. Jones agreed, and ruled that ID is a religion and ordered the school board to remove the statement. He went further by providing special protection for the theory of evolution stating that the school board could not require teachers to denigrate the theory.
The ACLU has gone so far as to attack the Discovery Institute, which is a proponent of ID. The illustrious ACLU accuses the Discovery Institute of using ID as a strategy to “promote their religious beliefs by denigrating science and promoting supernatural intelligent design as a competing theory.” So, the ACLU does not even want evolution to have to deal with any competing theories. Doesn’t it beg the question: If evolutionary theory cannot hold up to competing theories, shouldn’t it be allowed to collapse under its own unscientific weight? That’s what true science fosters- the discovery of truth- not the propping up of a failed theory.
In case you’re keeping score: The courts up to this point have ruled that schools can’t teach both creation science and evolution; they can’t verbally point out that evolution is not a fact, it’s a theory; they can’t mention any other theories regarding the origin of life; as a matter of fact, evolution is now legally beyond all criticism.
In the final installment of this series we’ll take a look at our last case, Selman vs Cobb County. It is in this case that the courts most grievously breach the rights of religious Americans by failing to remain neutral- legally siding with and advancing “anti-religion” which refuses to recognize even the possibility of a Creator.