The Harrisburg Federal Court hearing deciding whether or not the Dover School Board can mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools entered its second day today.
Yesterday was confined to opening statements and expert testimony to the effect that "Science" does not admit any supernatural agency in explaining natural processes.
Regarding today's testimony, AP reports:
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A rural school board showed a clear bias against teaching evolution before it pushed through a plan to introduce "intelligent design" to students, a former board member testified Tuesday in a trial over whether the concept has a place in public schools.Read it here.....
Aralene "Barrie" Callahan, who was once on the Dover school board and is now among the challengers, said she believed the policy to teach intelligent design was religion-based.
Callahan testified that board member Alan Bonsell — during a retreat in 2003 — "expressed he did not believe in evolution and if evolution was part of the biology curriculum, creationism had to be shared 50-50."
At a school board meeting in June 2004, when she was no longer on the board, Callahan recalled board member Bill Buckingham complaining that a biology book recommended by the administration was "laced with Darwinism."
"They were pretty much downplaying evolution as something that was credible," she said.
In the lawsuit challenging the intelligent design policy, Buckingham was further quoted as saying: "This country was founded on Christianity and our students should be taught as such."
In a separate development Tuesday, two freelance newspaper reporters who covered the school board in June 2004 both invoked their First Amendment rights and declined to provide a deposition to lawyers for the school district.
Both are expected in court Wednesday to respond to a subpoena to testify at trial, said Niles Benn, a lawyer for the papers.
Lawyers for the school district have questioned the accuracy of articles in which the reporters wrote that board members discussed creationism during public meetings. Patrick Gillen, an attorney with the Thomas More Law Center, said the defense would ask U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III on Wednesday to issue a contempt citation.
In other testimony Tuesday, plaintiff Tammy Kitzmiller said that in January, her younger daughter chose not to hear the intelligent-design statement — an option given all students — putting her in an awkward position.
"My 14-year-old daughter had to make the choice between staying in the classroom and being confused ... or she had to be singled out and face the possible ridicule of her friends and classmates," she said.