Judge Jones' decision

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Tue Dec 20 2005 - 14:33:00 EST

Judge Jones' decision in the Dover case is available here:

I am finishing an essay about it for the magazine, Religion in the News.
The following is my summary response. It goes without saying, this is only
my opinion and reasonable people might reasonably differ with me! Because
of my crazy schedule this week, I regret that I probably won't be able to
respond to any comments sent my way, but I will be sure to read them at some
point; they will not be ignored.


"The judge's decision is very understandable. Given the situation in
Dover, he really had no choice but to rule that the school board tried to
inject a reference to intelligent design for religious reasons, that they
had no clear secular purpose for doing so. ID is not creationism, but in
this situation it was just too hard to tell. "The evidence at trial
demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism," the
Judge wrote, and I can't blame him. The judge ruled that "it is
unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public
school science classroom." Perhaps this leaves open the possibility that
a science teacher might still be allowed to discuss aspects of ID. If not,
this would be unfortunate, because the decision overlooks the fact that
there is a small but growing refereed professional literature about
intelligent design in the philosophy of science. Pennsylvania science
standards call for teachers to discuss the nature of science, which is a
reference to philosophy of science. The line between philosophy of science
and science itself is not sharp, and historically traffic has flowed in both
directions. A science teacher could in my opinion have a legitimate secular
purpose in discussing various philosophical objections to aspects of
evolution that have been raised by scientists in the 146 years since
Darwin's book was published: the general education of a science student is
well served when such topics are introduced. I cannot criticize the judge
for overlooking this, however, since the defense did not make this argument.
 They kept insisting that ID is science, not philosophy of science, despite
the paucity of scientific literature favoring ID."
Received on Tue Dec 20 14:33:22 2005

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