Tuesday, December 20, 2005

An Intelligent Decision

Judge John E. Jones III released his much anticipated decision today in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, otherwise known as the "Intelligent Design Case." In summarily (if you can call anything that is 139 pages long "summarily) dismissing the defendants' claims that Intelligent Design did not violate the constitutionally required separation of church and state, Jones was unsparing in his criticism. Illustrative of the majority of the opinion was a footnote, on page 26, in which Jones noted that the "Defendants' argument lacks merit legally and logically."

Due to time and physical constraints I'm going to withhold most of my comments on the decision for the time being. But I will say that, beyond everything else, I am deeply ambivalent about this opinion. On the one hand, I feel both vindicated and relieved to know that science, at least for the moment, has triumphed over sophistry in our law courts. On the other hand, I find it ridiculous and dismaying that, nearly one hundred and fifty years after Darwin first made his theory known, this sort of question even made it to court in the first place.

Scopes was eighty years ago and teaching creationism in schools has been unconstitutional for decades. Eighty years from now will we still be mired in a dispute between evolutionary theory and the latest incarnation of re-packaged creationism? I sure hope not.


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