Tuesday, November 13th. Judgement Day

i-dbb4e5d243b0fff25b9a4187dd31fdc0-nova.jpg"Evolution is the central organizing principle of all biological science, yet teaching evolution has become controversial in many states. When the National Science Teachers Association recently surveyed its members, 30 percent said they experienced pressure to omit or downplay evolution and related topics in their science curriculum. What would you do if someone objected to the teaching of evolution in your school or district?"

From the Briefing Packet for Educators.

From the Judgement Day Website:

In this program, NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District. This two-hour special was coproduced with Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions, Inc.

In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design--the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The teachers refused to comply. (For more on this, see Board vs. Teachers.) Later, parents opposed to intelligent design filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

"There was a blow-up like you couldn't believe," Bill Buckingham, head of the school board's curriculum committee, tells NOVA. Buckingham helped formulate the intelligent-design policy when he noticed that the biology textbook chosen by teachers for classroom use was, in his words, "laced with Darwinism."

NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Is intelligent design a scientifically valid alternative?" Kitzmiller v. Dover was the first legal test of intelligent design as a scientific theory, with the plaintiffs arguing that it is a thinly veiled form of creationism, the view that a literal interpretation of the Bible accounts for all observed facts about nature. (See Defining Science and arguments for and against evolution.)

During the trial, lawyers for the plaintiffs showed that evolution is one of the best-tested and most thoroughly confirmed theories in the history of science, and that its unresolved questions are normal research problems--the type that arise in any flourishing scientific field.

U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III ultimately decided for the plaintiffs, writing in his decision that intelligent design "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents." As part of his decision, Judge Jones ordered the Dover school board to pay legal fees and damages, which were eventually set at $1 million. (Hear Judge Jones read excerpts from his historic decision.)

"Judgment Day captures on film a landmark court case with a powerful scientific message at its core," says Paula Apsell, NOVA's Senior Executive Producer. "Evolution is one of the most essential yet, for many people, least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science. We felt it was important for NOVA to do this program to heighten the public understanding of what constitutes science and what does not, and therefore, what is acceptable for inclusion in the science curriculum in our public schools." (Hear more from Paula Apsell on why NOVA took on this controversial subject.)

For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how it is taught in the classroom.

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JUDGMENT DAY PRAISED IN NATURE From the National Center for Science Education ... Judgement Day Praised in Nature Reviewing Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial -- the new documentary about Kitzmiller v. Dover -- for the November 8, 2007, issue of Nature (450: 170), Adam Rutherford was…
I said I was baffled by why the defense, of all people, would call former Dover school board member William Buckingham to the stand in the case, and here's why: he was in a no-win situation. He was the one quoted multiple times about wanting to balance out evolution with creationism in Dover's…
tags: evolution, politics, education, Kitzmiller, Dover School District, intelligent design, Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, NOVA, streaming video Occasionally, very rarely in fact, I wish I had a television, and this is one of those days. I just received an ad from Kate Becker,…
Quick post as I have to head out for the day but will post again later... Judge Jones has found for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v Dover, holding that ID is not science and that the ID policy violates both the purpose and effect prongs of the Lemon test. See here, here, and here. Legal buffs can…

We've been through all this before in the Tennessee 'monkey trials', a teacher prosecuted by Wm. Jennings Bryant and defended by the famous Clarence Darrow. They even made a movie, 'Inherit the Wind' starring Spencer Tracy and Frederich March; a masterpiece that should be shown on every TV channel repeatedly to all closed minded fundamentalists until they get it.

Excellent! The radical religious Christians do not appear to be able to tell the difference between belief and scientific fact. If we are to progress as a nation and keep pace with the rest of the world, this ignorance must be corrected.

Hopefully all creationists/intellegent design believers will watch this show. Unfortunately, I don't think they will. Their minds are closed and they do not want to listen to anything that would contradict their preconceived ideas.

why is never reported that most of the theories on which evolution is based have been proven false?
Is it because it would go against the secular humanist thinking that is so prevalent in our major universities?
just wondering,


The problem for many, like Joe, is that "secularist" and "humanist" have such a negative connotation. Science that is founded upon religion is not true science. In that sense, true science is always "secular," that is, it is founded upon scientific principles, not religious ones. Science is also always assumed to be "humanist," that is, it is concerned with human activity and the betterment of human beings as a species. In some regards, pure science might not even be considered "humanist" if its aims are simply to study the universe as it is, without regard to human development. So, yes, Joe - science does tend to be both secular and humanist, and rightly so.

As for the other contention, that evolution has been proven false, I'm with Warren. I've heard at least most of the arguments against it, and they are unconvincing. Most of them have little to do with good science. Some are flat-out garbage.

Clever ploy, Gary. Define science as something that cannot by definition be "founded on religion", leading to the logically obvious statement that science must therefore be "secular". Thousands of believers through history who also practised science, or believers who continue to do so, would disagree with you. Why must science be conducted in a hermetically-sealed "bubble" in which religion has no place?
Explain to me why I, as a believer in God, cannot study science from a Christian perspective. Would you have me deny my sincerely-held belief in an almighty being without whom my life makes no sense? How would you have a teacher, who believes that the universe was created, teach about origins?
It is errant nonsense to claim that religion and science cannot co-exist in any place. It might not exist in your thinking, or your workplace, your school, your group of friends and colleagues. But for many who have a theistic worldview (and I remind you that there are millions of us, so we are not some fringe group of radical fanatics), God has to be a part of every question about life, including where life itself came from.

Peter, to respond to your points, Gary is not the one who defined science as something that cannot come from religion. That is what science IS, an alternative to received wisdom, whether from religion, mythology, tradition, politics, or from anywhere else. It involves going into the world humbly, without the arrogance of the made-up mind that is secure in the "rightness" of its worldview, and actually finding out for yourself how things work. And THAT is why science HAS to be conducted in a way that does not draw upon religious teachings.

You as a believer in God, CAN study science from a Christian perspective, or from ANY other perspective you wish. You can study it from the perspective that the whole rest of the universe is a figment of your imagination, if you wish. What you CANNOT do, according to the U.S. Constitution, is insist that your perspective be accepted as valid science. Which would mean that you could also not insist that your perspective on science be taught in the schools as science. Because it is NOT science, it is ONE perspective on science.

The way that I would have a teacher who believes that the universe was created teach about origins is that, if the teacher were teaching science, to teach the scientific explanations of qualified biologists as to the origins of life, and the scientific explanations of qualified astrophysicists as to the origins of the universe. And if the teacher was teaching religion, I would have them teach the Creation teachings of their religion.

Let me ask you this. Religious people insist that evolution, is just another belief. They call it "Darwinism" (a misnomer.) They feel their religion should be given equal time, and taught alongside "Darwinism." Would you be willing to reciprocate? Teach evolution along with your religions Creation teachings, in your church's Sunday school?

You say, "It is errant nonsense to claim that religion and science cannot co-exist in any place." I agree with you. Science and religion DO, demonstrably, co-exist. I saw nothing in Gary's post to deny this. It is not that both exist, but that SOME religious people want their religion (NOT anyone else's) to interfere in the realm of science, and to be accepted as valid science, when it is not. That is the issue.

You seem to feel that your point that there are millions of us, so we are not some fringe group of radical fanatics, somehow strengthens your argument. It does not. If there were BILLIONS who believed that the Universe rests on the back of a giant turtle, that would not make it so. If 3/4 of the human race believed that Jesus was NOT the Messiah, would that change YOUR beliefs? The number of people who beleive something has no bearing on its truth.

No one is denying the rights of people of ANY religion to believe what they wish. But most people do not want the beliefs of anyone's religion forced down their throats...not even if it's adherents believe that they have the ONE TRUE FAITH. To keep religion and science in their separate spheres is not to deny the importance, or influence, or meaningfulness of religion to its believers, nor to those who may be influenced by its teachings. I feel it is a sign of a WEAKNESS of faith to be threatened by the discoveries of science. At one time believers in the Christian faith burned people alive at the stake for saying that the Earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around.
THEY WERE WRONG! And the scientific view was right.
It took them 400 years to admit their error. And yet, religion is still here.

So, keep your faith. But don't insist that me and mine give your beliefs equal time.

The Intelligent Design (ID) movement is just building on the failed Creation Science movement's fake "teach the controversy"--when there is none. Religious doctrine is not scientific, and ID is not scientific theory. At best, it's a weak untested hypothesis for which there is no evidence.

Fundamentalist Christians are attempting to do to the U.S. what fundamentalist Muslims did to Iran. People are brainwashed by religious teaching and cannot seem to see through it (or perhaps they stridently cling to it out of fear).

Christianity as it is practiced by fundamentalists is really Paulism, and represents one of the more destructive metaphor cults.

Warren...please give me one example of evolution of one species into another that has been proven .