Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intelligence Design

The schoolchildren of Dover, Pennsylvania learn an important lesson: Never allow yourself to be represented by the Thomas More Law Center.

Excerpts from United States District Judge John Jones' Memorandum Opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (note: large .pdf file):

Finally, although Buckingham, Bonsell [both members of the Dover Area School Board of Directors], and other defense witnesses denied the reports in the news media and contradicted the great weight of the evidence about what transpired at the June 2004 Board meetings, the record reflects that these witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several occasions, and are accordingly not credible on these points.


As we will discuss in more detail below, the inescapable truth is that both Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions about their knowledge of the source of the donation for Pandas, which likely contributed to Plaintiffs' election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record. This mendacity was a clear and deliberate attempt to hide the source of the donations by the Board President and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee to further ensure that Dover students received a creationist alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. We are accordingly presented with further compelling evidence that Bonsell and Buckingham sought to conceal the blatantly religious purpose behind the ID Policy.


Third, Cleaver voted for the curriculum change despite the teachers' objections, based upon assurances from Bonsell. (32:23-25 (Cleaver)). Cleaver admittedly knew nothing about ID, including the words comprising the phrase, as she consistently referred to ID as "intelligence design" throughout her testimony. In addition, Cleaver was bereft of any understanding of Pandas except that Spahr had said it was not a good science book which should not be used in high school. (32:45-46 (Cleaver)). In addition, Superintendent Nilsen's entire understanding of ID was that "evolution has a design." (26:49-50 (Nilsen)).


Moreover, Board members and teachers opposing the curriculum change and its implementation have been confronted directly. First, Casey Brown testified that following her opposition to the curriculum change on October 18, 2004, Buckingham called her an atheist and Bonsell told her that she would go to hell.


Defendants' asserted secular purpose of improving science education is belied by the fact that most if not all of the Board members who voted in favor of the biology curriculum change conceded that they still do not know, nor have they ever known, precisely what ID is. To assert a secular purpose against this backdrop is ludicrous.

The opinion is chock full of lessons, about religion, and the law, and natural selection. You could teach a course based on it.

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