Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ID cannot be taught in classroom, judge says

The ruling has come down from Judge John Jones III, in which he states that the local school board cannot mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design in the classrooms in the Dover, PA school district. In making his ruling, the judge wrote:

We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom.

Somewhat less charitably, he also wrote:

It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

Here is the actual text that biology teachers have been reading to students at the beginning of biology classes:

"The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, "Of Pandas and People," is available in the library along with other resources for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments."

Interestingly, the text avoids the problem I alluded to in an earlier post that, if ID were to be taught in the schools, it is not clear how it would be done.

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