SEATTLE, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Dover decision is an attempt by an
activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to
prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship
rather than open debate, and it won't work," said Dr. John West, Associate
Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the
nation's leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as
intelligent design. "He has conflated Discovery Institute's position with that
of the Dover school board, and he totally misrepresents intelligent design and
the motivations of the scientists who research it."
"A legal ruling can't change the fact that there is digital code in DNA,
it can't remove the molecular machines from the cell, nor change the fine
tuning of the laws of physics," added West "The empirical evidence for
design, the facts of biology and nature, can't be changed by legal decree."
In his decision, Judge John Jones ruled that the Dover, Pennsylvania
school district violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by
requiring a statement to be read to students notifying them about intelligent
design. Reaching well beyond the immediate legal questions before him, Judge
Jones offered wide-ranging and sometimes angry comments denouncing intelligent
design and praising Darwinian evolution.
"Judge Jones found that the Dover board violated the Establishment Clause
because it acted from religious motives. That should have been the end to the
case," said West. "Instead, Judge Jones got on his soapbox to offer his own
views of science, religion, and evolution. He makes it clear that he wants his
place in history as the judge who issued a definitive decision about
intelligent design. This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur."
"Anyone who thinks a court ruling is going to kill off interest in
intelligent design is living in another world," continued West. "Americans
don't like to be told there is some idea that they aren't permitted to learn
about. It used to be said that banning a book in Boston guaranteed it would be
a bestseller. Banning intelligent design in Dover will likely only fan
interest in the theory."
"In the larger debate over intelligent design, this decision will be of
minor significance," added Discovery Institute attorney Casey Luskin. "As
we've repeatedly stressed, the ultimate validity of intelligent design will be
determined not by the courts but by the scientific evidence pointing to
Luskin pointed out that the ruling only applies to the federal district in
which it was handed down. It has no legal effect anywhere else. The decision
is also unlikely to be appealed, since the recently elected Dover school board
members campaigned on their opposition to the policy. "The plans of the
lawyers on both sides of this case to turn this into a landmark ruling have
been preempted by the voters," he said.
"Discovery Institute continues to oppose efforts to mandate teaching about
the theory of intelligent design in public schools," emphasized West. "But the
Institute strongly supports the freedom of teachers to discuss intelligent
design in an objective manner on a voluntary basis. We also think students
should learn about both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwin's
theory of evolution."
Drawing on recent discoveries in physics, biochemistry and related
disciplines, the scientific theory of intelligent design proposes that some
features of the natural world are best explained as the product of an
intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
Proponents include scientists at numerous universities and science
organizations around the world.
SOURCE Discovery Institute