On December 20, 2005, Judge John E. Jones issued a 139 page ruling on the case of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, stating that a rule requiring teachers to present Intelligent Design (ID) as a scientific alternative to evolution is unconstitutional. In Judge Jones' own words:
After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.
We in the Atheist Community of Austin applaud this ruling. We have been saying for many years that Intelligent Design is not science, but merely biblical creationism dressed up with the trappings of science.
Since the introduction of the Wedge Strategy in 1990's, it has been embarrassingly clear that Intelligent Design is a front for a group of individuals whose ultimate goal is to undermine scientific knowledge and shoehorn religion into public schools. They have done no original research, produced no scientific results, and accomplished little more than a massive and relentless public relations campaign for their ideas. Their strategy has been to repeatedly infiltrate school districts in individual towns across the country, instituting changes in local education standards, in the hopes that ID might eventually receive a facade of credibility if they win enough political battles.
Our home city of Austin received a taste of this campaign in 2003, when the neo-creationist road show came to Texas to demand that misleading statements about evolution be added to the state's textbooks. In that instance, as in this one, they were resoundingly defeated.
Unless Judge Jones' ruling is appealed, it will only directly affect Pennsylvania school districts. However, because the ruling is so thorough, it will likely serve as a legal template for any future decisions on the topic of ID in schools. Judge Jones minced no words regarding the scientific uselessness of Intelligent Design, also stating:
Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.
The issue of creationism affects education throughout the country. It is not a matter of atheists against Christians. It is a matter of good science, backed by decades of evidence, against a nonscientific political crusade. It is about religion masquerading as science, trying to sidestep the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state that exists in this country. This week, a major blow was struck against this agenda.