Intelligent Design on Trial

Duh, over! Intelligent Design is not real science. You can’t teach it in science class. Debate over.

Perhaps you remember the good ‘ol flying spaghetti monster. Maybe, you’ve never heard of Dover, Pennsylvania before. Either way, I bet if I asked you, “How did life begin on Earth?” that you’d have some kind of opinion.

I just finished watching this NOVA program on PBS called, “Judgement Day – Intelligent Design on Trial.” If you missed it, you can watch the program online. Whatever perspective you bring to this issue, the program will be sure to get you up in arms. For me, it had me sputtering half-words of frustrated disbelief at the level of scientific ignorance and complete lack of rationale of the ID-pushers.

Science is ‘Exhibit A’ in this landmark trial on the teaching of evolution

This documentary tackles issues around our beliefs about how life began by covering the federal lawsuit brought against the Dover, Pennsylvania school board in 2004. The conflict started when science teachers in Dover refused to read a statement about alternatives to the theory of evolution in their biology classes. After the school board tried to tried to force teachers to read the controversial statement in classrooms, parents opposed to the school board’s actions filed a lawsuit in federal court.

The trial and the NOVA documentary are fascinating. Through interviews with many of the people involved, you get a real feel for the charged emotions surrounding this issue. Using transcripts from the courts, the trial unfolds as a drama that teaches you about evolutionary science. It’s well worth watching. In the end, the court’s decision made a strong statement in support of the science teachers and evolutionary theory by saying that, “Intelligent Design is not Science”. Debate over.

For more information, you can check out this online supplement.

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Joanne often gets really excited when she talks about Science. Luckily, she works in the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory, the educational arm of the Michael Smith Labs. She likes all kinds of science but has a special spot in her heart for biology, technology, and well, sports. As a scientist and educator at UBC, she hopes that she never becomes so specialized that she loses her global perspective. (When she gets around to writing an intro post, I'm sure that she'll link to it here).