A good day for science

By Sean Carroll | December 20, 2005 12:22 pm

The verdict in the Dover intelligent-design trial is in! To nobody’s surprise, it’s a rout.

HARRISBURG, Pa. – “Intelligent design” is “a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory” and cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said.

“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,” he wrote in his 139-page opinion. “The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy,” Jones wrote, adding that several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs.

Judge Jones’s opinion is online (pdf); commentary from PZ and Ed Brayton. Overall, a huge, unambiguous win: not only were the creationists shot down, but their religious and anti-science agenda was made perfectly clear.

Not that the battles are over just yet. DarkSyde has an interview with Chris Mooney about his book The Republican War on Science. We have a long way to go, but it’s nice to win one decisively once in a while.

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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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