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Important Account of ID and a Thorough Critique of an Erroneous Court Ruling,
This review is from: Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller v. Dover Decision (Paperback)
"Traipsing into Evolution" provides an important and strong critique of the opinion handed down by U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III in the much-followed case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board (M.D.Penn. 2005). Kitzmiller involved the first ever U.S. court case to deal directly with the theory of intelligent design. The case arose when a small Pennsylvania school board voted to have students read a disclaimer statement mentioning the theory of intelligent design before science class. (Students were permitted to leave the room during that time.) Judge Jones issued an unusually long district court opinion in which he went WAY beyond the controversy between the particular parties to the lawsuit and unfairly caricatured and blasted the theory of intelligent design, as well as many leading theorists and propoents of intelligent design.This short book serves an important function in analyzing Judge Jones's opinion.
The result is a strong rebuke of much of that opinion. "Traipsing into Evolution" provides a short background on the history behind the theory of intelligent design. It then demonstrates how Judge Jones's opinion seriously misrepresents the propositional content and empirical arguments for the theory of intelligent design. The book thoroughly dismantles Judge Jones's constitutional analysis of the theory of intelligent design. Judge Jones's opinion engages in an almost pathological resorts to guilt by association and misrepresentation of nuanced scientific arguments advanced by design theorists. Judge Jones's opinion frequently employs a double-standard whereby private, personal beliefs of certain design proponents are assailed while private, personal beliefs of neo-Darwinists are irrelevant. The opinion frequently purports to discredit intelligent design by trying to link it with creationism. Significant differences between the two are ignored in order to conjoin them. Scientific theories and ideas are supposed to involve evidence and empirical data. But Judge Jones's opinion almost takes for granted serious scientific ideas and new and emerging scientific theories can be dismissed by selective resorts to the personal beliefs of particular individuals.
"Traipsing into Evolution" is also unique in that it includes and summarizes many of the strongest arguments for the theory of intelligent design that were presented to the District Court through amicus curiae briefs or through direct testimony and depositions. Most all of the best arguments for the theory of intelligent design are completely ignored in Judge Jones's opinion. An important appendix by biochemist and professor Dr. Michael Behe is included in this book, offering a thorough rebuttal to the manner in which his expert scientific testimony at the trial was misconstrued (sometimes egregiously) in Judge Jones's opinion.
It is worth noting, as the authors of the book point out, that leading design proponents and institutions supporting the theory of intelligent design did NOT support the particular school district policy that was the subject of the lawsuit. They nonetheless wanted to defend the theory of intelligent design from government-sanctioned censorship. Stunningly, after Judge Jones denied a motion to intervene by the textbook publisher implicated in this case, the opinion of the court nonetheless blasts the theory of intelligent design in toto and to smear the names of countless individuals who were never parties before the lawsuit. This despite the fact that the briefs by amicus curiae offered the court many avenues by which to resolve the dispute existing between the individual parties while avoiding. Unfortunately, Judge Jones's opinion is an exercise in judicial activism, bizzarely purporting to resolve the emerging debate between the theory of intelligent design and the theory of neo-Darwinian evolution.
This book contains many legal arguments and case cites, but it is written in such a manner easily accessible to general audiences. The Kitzmiller case was never appealed, and so it constitutes perhaps the lowest level of legal precedent in the federal courts. Nonetheless, it is a case that has been much discussed and will continue to be discussed in the years ahead. "Traipsing into Evolution" provides readers with a much-needed corrective. ***Finally, Amazon readers are urged to ignore reviews by persons who clearly demonstrate their never having actually read the book they are so recklessly criticizing.***