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Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Decision Paperback – March 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David DeWolf is Professor of Law at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane, Washington.

John West is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and Chair of the Dept. of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University.

Casey Luskin is attorney with a law degree from the University of San Diego.

Jonathan Witt is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and covered the Dover trial for EvolutionNews dot org.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From the Conclusion, "The Need to Protect Academic Freedom"

Judge Jones’ opinion highlights the pressing need to affirm and defend the right of teachers and students to express honest disagreement with the claims of Darwinian evolution. For all of his concern about the illegitimacy of requiring teachers to mention intelligent design or to "denigrate or disparage" evolution, Judge Jones showed no similar interest in the freedom of teachers and students to express opinions that might be critical of Darwinian evolution. As a result, his opinion is likely to be used by defenders of Darwin’s theory as a pretext for censoring even completely voluntary expressions of dissenting scientific views by teachers and students.

Teachers seeking to "teach the controversy" over Darwinian evolution in today’s climate will likely be met with false warnings that it is unconstitutional to say anything negative about Darwinian evolution. Students who attempt to raise questions about Darwinism, or who try to elicit from the teacher an honest answer about the status of intelligent design theory will trigger administrators’ concerns about whether they stand in constitutional jeopardy. A chilling effect on open inquiry is being felt in several states already, including Ohio, South Carolina, and California. Judge Jones’ message is clear: give Darwin only praise, or else face the wrath of the judiciary.

Ironically, in the 1980s when the Louisiana Legislature tried to pass an "Academic Freedom Act" to permit teachers to teach "creation science," the Supreme Court replied by saying that the announced a purpose of protecting academic freedom was a "sham," because the act "does not give schoolteachers a flexibility that they did not already possess to supplant the present science curriculum with the presentation of theories, besides evolution, about the origin of life." In other words, the Supreme Court thought it was so clear that teachers had the academic freedom to present alternative theories that an act permitting them to do so was superfluous.

After Kitzmiller, no one can seriously maintain that academic freedom to study all of the evidence relating to Darwinian evolution is secure. As a consequence, administrative guidelines, even legislative enactments, are needed to provide clearer protection for the rights of students and teachers to critically analyze Darwin’s theory in the classroom. Otherwise it is the Supreme Court’s own rulings that will be made a "sham."


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery Institute Press; 1st Edition edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963865498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963865496
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,329,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A native of the great Pacific Northwest, I'm currently a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, which is perhaps best known for its work supporting the theory of intelligent design as an alternative to neo-Darwinism, although it has programs in many other areas as well. My special interests include the impact of modern science on politics and social policy, the role of faith in public life, and the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. My current research examines how neo-Darwinism and scientific materialism shaped American public policy and culture from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. For 12 years I was a political science professor at Seattle Pacific University, where I also chaired the Department of Political Science and Geography for several years. I earned my Ph.D in Government from Claremont Graduate University and my B.A. in Communications (Editorial Journalism) from the University of Washington. I've authored or edited several books, and contributed essays to a number of others. Over the past few years I've had the opportunity to interact with the national newsmedia on the evolution issue quite a lot, and you can often find my observations on the quality of media coverage on the 'Evolution News and Views' blog, www.evolutionnews.org.

I'm a bit of a contrarian by nature, and I also like siding with the powerless and the underdog. When the establishment insists 'Go this way,' I am likely to ask 'Why?' When I get pushed, I tend to push back. That's one reason I was attracted to the nascent intelligent design movement in the mid 1990s. I was intrigued by the fact that a growing number of recent PhDs in the sciences were questioning neo-Darwinism based on science, not faith, and were facing harsh recriminations as a result. I thought then--and still believe now--that people should have the freedom to raise uncomfortable questions and champion unpopular truths.

My heroes from the past are people like Jeremiah Evarts, who stood up for the rights of the Cherokee in nineteenth century America (I tell his story in chapter 4 of my book The Politics of Revelation and Reason); Frederick Douglass and Harriett Beecher Stowe, who helped persuade Americans about the injustice of slavery; and C.S. Lewis, who was one of the few equal-opportunity critics of both communism and fascism in the early 1930s (my thoughts about Lewis can be found in The C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia, which I co-edited). One of my favorite quotes on the importance of speaking out comes from Martin Luther King, Jr.: 'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'

Although I'm generally 'conserative,' I'm a strong believer in civil liberties, and I'm skeptical of some of the tactics adopted in the name of fighting crime and terrorism. I am also an enthusiastic believer in religious liberty and free speech. I think the best way for people to spread their ideas is through unhampered discussion, not government coercion.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book to see what the ID proponents had to say that they didn't say in court. I found little. And most of what I did find was more succinctly addressed by luskins's and behe's previous critiques of the decision which you can find on the internet for free. It is a quick read though.

Judge Jones' decision is a few pages longer than this book but if you want the truth about this case I encourage you to read the decsision and the transcripts of the testimony which you can find on the internet at [...]

Avoid the testimony of the school board members if you are a christian (pro ID or not) because a couple of the professedly christian board members got caught lying on the stand and I know that was upsetting to me. Don't miss the expert testimony though. Robert Pennock, Barbara Forrest, Michael Behe and Steven Fuller. HIgh points (IMO) are Dr Forrest's testimony about the writing of "Of Pandas and People" the textbook in question at the trial, and Dr Behe's admission that the rule changes necessary to make ID science would also allow astrology.

The view of the decision that you get here is not as complete or truthful as the the picture you can get by going to the source documents and making up your own mind. For instance, reading this book will convince you that Judge Jones went beyond his authority to make a needless determination that ID is not science. But a reading of the trial transcripts will show you that the one of the major arguments made by the ID forces was that ID should be taught because it is science.
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Several people have proposed that in addition to reading “Traipsing Into Evolution” that one should also read Judge Jones’ actual Decision. I would go one step beyond that. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) website has the complete transcripts of the trial available. They were originally made available shortly after each day’s testimony, and I read them as the trial progressed. One really gets an appreciation for the lack of scientific credibility behind the ID position by reading each day’s testimony. “Traipsing Into Evolution” claims that Judge Jones went beyond the evidence in his decision. I don’t think a fair minded person would think so after hearing the trial evidence. I would recommend the transcripts to anyone who wants to truly understand the trial.
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Losing a court case is like suffering a poker "bad beat." Nobody really wants to hear your story, and it's considered "whining" if you don't get over it after one beer. Amazingly, losers comprise more than 50% of all lawsuit participants. Most go away muttering under their breath about judges who don't understand them. Some can't get over their legal "bad beat" and write books about their loss.

So say it, so be it. The Discovery Institute has published their whine after the Dover bad beat. Entitled "Traipsing Into Evolution," it appeals to the court of public opinion. Appeal denied. This is a wretched book.

The Discovery Institute PR campaign for Intelligent Design bears a laughably strong resemblance to Baghdad Bob, the Iraqui "Information" minister who claimed there weree no Americans in Iraq's capital city as those same Americans pounded up the stairs into his own studio. His mere statements of fact served as their own proof, no matter how outlandish. Traipsing continues this M. O. None of the factual assertions in this book are to be taken seriously.

The book overlooks a peculiar idiosyncrasy of courts. Unlike Iraq's ministry of Information, courts rely on something called "evidence." There are two components to that concept. First, only evidence actually admitted in court "counts." Out of court self serving press releases are not evidence and don't count. Second, the evidence proffered in court must meet certain minimum requirements. Witness testimony, for example, must be both under oath and subject to cross-examination.

That means witnesses must answer questions from an attorney who is not sympathetic to the witness's own position. The witness cannot decline to answer and the witness must tell the truth.
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This book is a totally meaningless and worthless piece of garbage. Common sense, every single legitimate scientific authority, and now a Federal Judge have all exposed intelligent design to be nothing but a sham and a lame attempt to bring religion into public school science classes, and these authors (Discovery Institute hacks with ABSOLUTELY NO ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY) are doing little more than stomping their feet and crying persecution because they didn't get the court ruling they wanted.

Discovery Institute, the publisher of the book and employer of these four authors, is an ultra conservative think tank, and their intelligent design shop is funded by a reclusive, right-wing homophobic millionaire. They do no form of academic research into evolutionary biology - most of the time they just wirte press releases about how they are being discriminated against by a scientific establishment that hides behind "Darwinian Dogma" (whatever that means), and work with publicists to improve their image and spin their message in pathetic attempts to win the public's support. This is about all they can do because they do not have and never will have sound science to back them up. These are not the people to turn to when seeking answers as to the biological theory of evolution, and surely not the people you want talking about what to include in public school science classes.

People: intelligent design is a novel idea, and for all I know it might be the truth. But it simply isn't science. If you want to talk about it in school as a political issue, a social issue, or in comparative religion and mythology class, so be it. But if we allow this into science class, we will be creating generation upon generation of scientifically illiterate children who will not be able to compete in the science workforce.
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