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Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Decision Paperback – March 7, 2006
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About the Author
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.
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 Darwins 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 todays 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 Darwins theory in the classroom. Otherwise it is the Supreme Courts own rulings that will be made a "sham."
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More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Do these people have shame? Keep publishing these junks won't increase one's chance of getting into one's imaginary heaven. Read morePublished on November 7, 2012 by A reader
As someone else has written, this is a waste of money no matter how you believe, as all of this slanted tripe is available for free.Published on November 11, 2007 by Cugel the Clever
By now, anyone who is reviewing the work published via the Discovery Institute ought to realize we're dealing with a slick PR agency and not a scientific research organization. Read morePublished on October 11, 2007 by Stephen Marley
More pathetic trash from The Discovery Institute. Their Christian Fundamentalist agenda was exposed in the Dover Trial for all to see. Read morePublished on September 23, 2007 by bendk
I notice the same old darwiniac reviewers go around and dis every book that disagrees with their 'science'. Read morePublished on August 29, 2006 by whoknows
I would like to update my previous review upon realizing that the authors agreed with Judge Jones' decision insomuch as it pertained to the Dover School Board. Read morePublished on August 29, 2006 by Glenn
This is a critique of federal case by scholars and attorneys NOT scientists. They come at the case from a religious viewpoint whether they all admit it or not. Read morePublished on August 28, 2006 by Elizabeth
It's really not that complicated. I would think that everyone could agree that kids ought to be taught science in science class, and I still have some hope that that is the case. Read morePublished on July 2, 2006 by Dr. Eigenvalue
If you're looking for an engaging, straight-up assessment of the recent Kitzmiller case, this is it.
And it's badly needed. Read more