Judge rules against 'intelligent design' in class
17:37 20 December 2005
NewScientist.com news service
Pennsylvania science teachers will not be forced to advocate "intelligent design" after a judge
ruled that that the theory is really religion in disguise.
Judge John Jones of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled
that intelligent design - which bills itself as a scientific theory and states that life shows
signs of being the work of an intelligent designer - is in fact reworked creationism.
The decision comes after 11 parents sued the Dover High School Board of Education for requiring
that biology students be read a statement that cast doubt on evolution and endorsed intelligent
design. Eight of the nine school board members were voted out of office in November, but the case
continued in the court.
In his decision, Jones systematically dismantled the arguments of the proponents of intelligent
design. Jones said that the history of intelligent design shows that it is essentially creationism
with explicit references to God and the Bible removed. As such, it is primarily a religious
theory, not a scientific one, and cannot be taught in US public schools, which are prevented from
Jones also said that language in the school board statement that evolution is only a "theory" is
misleading. It confuses the scientific and colloquial meanings of "theory". And by singling out
evolution from all other scientific theories it suggests that there is some special doubt about
the truth of evolution.
The judge stated that intelligent design cannot be considered science for a number of reasons. By
depending on a supernatural cause it violates the basic ground rules of science that have been in
place since the 16th century.
He also found that intelligent design relies on the "false dualism" that if evolution can be
disproven, then intelligent design is proven. In any case, he found that intelligent design's
criticisms of evolution have been largely refuted.
Check back tomorrow for more news and analyis of the verdict.
Intelligent Design trial is over
Christopher W. Ashcraft
Northwest Creation Network