Dear Physics Folk,
The journal club this week [Wed 12:15 in SW113] is "Intelligent Design
vs. Evolution -- End of Round One". Please come for informal
discussion and Pizza. The journal club schedule is at http://cecelia.physics.indiana.edu/journal
On Wed. Tim Londergan and Nick Remmes will review the "Intelligent
movement. They will discuss the basic issues, some of the tactics used
by "ID" proponents, including the so-called "Wedge strategy", and some
of the more prominent "ID" advocates. They will also review the ruling
by Judge John Jones in the recent court case involving "ID" in Dover,
A NY Times article is included below.
An excellent Web site for anyone interested in questions about
is the "Talk Origins" Web site, at http://www.talkorigins.org/
the nice things about this Web site is that it will send you to both
creationist and legitimate science sites -- something almost NO
creationist Web sites will do! Note -- there is an enormous amount of
material on this site! If you aren't careful, you can wade in here and
never come out! A good starting point is the "frequently asked
questions" area. In that area, an excellent review is the "29+
for macroevolution", at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
However, note that this is a book-length monograph on macroevolution.
One of the things Nick and I will do at this journal club is to hand
a list of Web sites with useful information.
December 20, 2005
New York Times
Judge Bars 'Intelligent Design' From Pa. Classes By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
HARRISBURG, PA., Dec. 20 - A federal judge ruled today that a
Pennsylvania school board's policy of teaching intelligent design in
high school biology class is unconstitutional because intelligent
is clearly a religious idea that advances "a particular version of
In the nation's first case to test the legal merits of intelligent
design, Judge John E. Jones III dealt a stinging rebuke to advocates of
teaching intelligent design as a scientific alternative to evolution in
The judge found that intelligent design is not science, and that the
only way its proponents can claim it is, is by changing the very
definition of science to include supernatural explanations.
Eleven parents in Dover, Pa., sued their school board a year ago when
the board voted that ninth grade biology students should be read a
statement saying there are "gaps in the theory" of evolution and that
intelligent design is another explanation they should examine. The case
is Kitzmiller et. al. v. Dover.
The six-week trial in federal district court in Harrisburg gave
intelligent design the most thorough academic and legal airing it has
had since the movement's inception about 15 years ago. The judge heard
evidence from scientists in the forefront of the design movement, as
well as scientists and other experts who are critics.
Intelligent design posits that biological life is so complex that it
must have been originated by an intelligent source - without ever
defining the identity of that source. But the judge said the evidence
the trial strongly proved that intelligent design is "creationism
relabeled." The Supreme Court has already ruled that creationism, which
relies on the Biblical account of the creation of life, cannot be
as science in a public school.
In his opinion, the judge said he found the testimony of Barbara
Forrest, a historian of science, very persuasive. She had presented
evidence that the authors of an intelligent design textbook, "Of Pandas
and People, merely removed the word "creationism" from an earlier
edition and substituted it with "intelligent design" after the Supreme
Court's ruling in 1987.
"The evidence at trial demonstrates that intelligent design is nothing
less than the progeny of creationism," Judge Jones wrote.
"We conclude that the religious nature of intelligent design would be
readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child," he said.
"The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer
postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity."
The lead defense lawyer for the school board, Richard Thompson, said it
was "silly" for the judge to have issued such a sweeping judgment on
intelligent design in a case that he said merely involved a "one minute
statement" being read to students.
"A thousand opinions by a court that a particular scientific theory is
invalid will not make that scientific theory invalid," said Mr.
Thompson, the president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law
a public interest firm that says it promotes Christian values. "It is
going to be up to the scientists who are going to continue to do
research in their labs that will ultimately determine that."
Opponents of intelligent design were delighted by the decision, but
it would not put an end to intelligent design or the efforts to teach
because it is only an opinion from one federal district court.
Eugenie Scott, executive director, National Center for Science
Education, an advocacy group in Oakland, Calif., that promotes teaching
evolution, said, "I predict that another school board down the line
try to bring intelligent design into the curriculum than the Dover
did, and they'll be a lot smarter about concealing their religious
Even after courts ruled against teaching creationism and creation
science, she said, "For several years afterward, school districts were
still contemplating teaching creation science."