Day By Day

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Intelligent Design Trial Update

On Wednesday testimony continued in the Harrisburg Federal Court trial over whether or not science teachers in the Dover [Pa.] School District can be required to read a short statement during the teaching of evolution to the effect that there are flaws in evolutionary theory and that Intelligent Design is an alternative embraced by many people. The statement also contains references to materials on the subject that are recommended, but not required, reading.

The only thing the opposing sides could agree on was that children should not be allowed into the courtroom. [here]

Then there was an argument over whether or not a catalog that described recommended readings on Intelligent Design as an aspect of "creation science" could be admitted into evidence. It was. This speaks to the plaintiffs' charge that ID is just dressed up "creationism" [an attempt to link the current dispute to the great intellectual battles of nearly a century ago].

Testimony from a teacher, Bertha Spahr, also held that some teachers had suffered emotional damage as a result of the controversy. Two of them were children of ministers and were hurt by being accused by some parents of being "athiests."

Neither of these pieces of evidence are particularly interesting, but both sides seem to be adopting a "kitchen sink" approach -- throwing everything they can think of into the mix.

Read about it here.

Spahr was followed on the stand by a Brian Alters, associate professor of education at McGill University n Montreal, who testified that simply reading a short statement would confuse students by misinforming them on the nature of evolution. He also branded ID as "creationism" and said that reading the statement was a form of "teaching." As such it could not be legitimately introduced into a science class.

Read about it here.

Reuters adds Alters' opinion that students who were exposed to ID arguments would be harmed.
Alters warned that high school students who were taught intelligent design may suffer a loss of credibility in college academics by mixing theology and science.
Read it here.

Photo, New Republic.

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