Creationism and atheism "by any other name"
The case of Kitzmiller v. Dover (ruling made on Dec. 20, 2005) concerned whether Intelligent Design (ID) could be mentioned as an alternative explanation to evolution in a ninth-grade biology class. The school board had directed that the following statement be read in the class:
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.
With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.
District Court Judge John Jones, himself a regular church-goer, ruled that ID is only Creationism relabeled, and as such is definitely promoting a particular religious view that includes belief in the God of Christianity. Judge Jones noted that the testimony of expert witnesses for the defendants (the Dover Area School Board) confirmed the religious mission of ID organizations. He further pointed out that the 1987 Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Arkansas has already declared the teaching of "scientific creationism" in public schools as unconstitutional. After Edwards, the editors of the ID textbook, Of Pandas and People merely changed the numerous references to creation and creationism in prior editions to Intelligent Design, with no other change of the content. His conclusion: since the teaching of "scientific creationism" in public schools is unconstitutional, and since Intelligent Design is "scientific creationism" with a new label, teaching in public schools it is also unconstitutional.
Further, Judge Jones said that while ID "may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science." This is because science by definition "is limited to empirical, observable and ultimately testable data.... [Its] explanations are restricted to those that can be inferred from the confirmable data – the results obtained through observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Anything that can be observed or measured is amenable to scientific investigation. Explanations that cannot be based upon empirical evidence are not part of science." Judge Jones agreed with the plaintiffs that selecting a supernatural explanation is a "science-stopper," because "once you attribute a cause to an untestable supernatural force, a proposition that cannot be disproven, there is no reason to continue seeking natural explanations as we have our answer."
No doubt this ruling will serve as precedent for future and pending creation vs. evolution cases throughout the country and will have a chilling effect on attempts by local school boards to introduce alternative explanations to macroevolution and its underlying religion, secular materialism (atheism relabeled). The truth is that as long ago as 1859, Louis Pasteur irrefutably proved that spontaneous generation never occurs. We stake our lives on this truth every time we open a can of peas. To claim that life arose spontaneously in the past when experiments in the present demonstrate it is impossible is not science. It is not testable; it is incapable of experimental disconfirmation.
Yet secular materialism continues, not only to be taught, but in the public school science classroom to enjoy a monopoly sanctioned by court rulings such as Kitzmiller.
Of course, this will not muzzle discussions of Intelligent Design. Several members of the Dover Area School Board who backed use of the above statement lost their reelection bids on Nov. 8, replaced by members opposed to the policy. The president of the new board, Bernadette Reinking, has revealed that the board now plans to remove ID from the science curriculum and place it in an elective social studies class.
Want to go deeper?
To learn more about Intelligent Design and the ID movement, check out the writings of Phillip E. Johnson, the man regarded as the founder of ID:
- Darwin on Trial
- Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education
- Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds
- The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
- Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law, and Culture
- The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate
- The Triumph of Design: And the Demise of Darwin (Video)
Also valuable is Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael Behe.
Steve Singleton, DeeperStudy.com