Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Kitzmiller Roundup at eSkeptic

Ed Brayton (St. Cynic) and Burt Humburg have written an article for eSkeptic magazine, discussing the Kitzmiller case and ruling.

...After 40 days and nights of testimony, the first evolution-Intelligent Design trial of the 21st century drew to a close in Federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While evolution trials in the 20th century had focused more on traditional creationism, Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District pit the teaching of evolution against a more legally sophisticated challenger, Intelligent Design (ID).”

“This is a stunning blow against Intelligent Design and creationism, but we are not surprised by it given how the trial unfolded. The first handicap that ID advocates had to deal with was the zeal of the law firm representing them. The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC),... TMLC sought out confrontations with the ACLU on a number of fronts, from public nativity and Ten Commandment displays to gay marriage and pornography. But the fight they really wanted, it seems, was over evolution in public school science classrooms,..

Its a very good article discussing the origins of the case: from the legal precedents concerning the teaching of Creation Science in science classrooms, Edwards vs. Aguillard (1987), to how the book of Pandas and People evolved from the Creationist Science manifesto it was at the time of that ruling, by replacing “Creator” with “Intelligent Designer”, to how the legal teams for each side came to represent their clients:

“TMLC representatives traveled the country from at least early 2000, encouraging school boards to teach ID in science classrooms. From Virginia to Minnesota, TMLC recommended the textbook Of Pandas and People (Pandas) as a supplement to regular biology textbooks, promising to defend the schools free of charge when the ACLU filed the inevitable lawsuit.”

and for the Plaintiffs

“Eric Rothschild, one of the partners of the Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton LLP and a member of the NCSE legal advisory council, enthusiastically offered to take the case, telling Scott, ‘I’ve been waiting for this for 15 years.’”

Despite the deep divide between the two sides in this issue, evident in the many internet fora where discussion about this case has raged, it is encouraging to consider this from the article:

“Eventually, the attorneys would make closing statements and summarize their cases. Judge Jones, in a gesture of class, complimented the attorneys for their advocacy, stating “Every single one of you made me aware of why I became a lawyer and why I became a judge.””

Hopefully, we can all go back to performing our own roles as scientists, teachers, religious instructors, parents,... and set aside the unnecessary differences activists groups like the Discovery Institute and the TMLC have sought to exploit in this issue.

Go check it out.

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