Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"pro-child, pro-evolution, pro-science, pro-education"

Dozens of reporters from across the state, the nation, and the globe squeezed into a conference room at Pepper Hamilton's Harrisburg office as the plaintiffs and legal team basked in the glow of their victory in the Dover intelligent design case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District et al.

"The real heroes in this story are the plaintiffs," said Vic Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director. "They live in this community. They stood up to the schoolboard.

"They are very, very courageous individuals."

It was clear that the legal team feels that Judge Jones' decision is a best-case scenario.

"This opinion is a complete victory," said Eric Rothschild of Pepper Hamilton.

"We hope that school districts considering intelligent design will read Judge Jones' decision," Vic said, "and give pause."

Vic also talked about the negative impact of the situation on the community and noted the role of religion in government.

"The name calling, the tension, and the strife is as disturbing as it is predictable," he said and then mentioned that plaintiff Brian Rehm, a Bible school teacher, was called "an atheist bleep."

"Dover is exhibit A for what happens when government injects itself into religion."

Judge Jones clearly made it onto a lot of people's Christmas card list. (I might even send him a fruitcake.)

"Thank you, Judge Jones," said Tammy Kitzmiller, the plaintiff whose name graces the case's title. "You know our role as parents."

Tammy also expressed her appreciation to the legal team of attorneys from Pepper Hamilton, ACLU-PA, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"Thank you for taking on this important issue," she said. "You are the A-Team, and we're glad you're on our side."

Eric commented specifically on Jones' 139 page opinion.

"He expressed his astonishment about the drafts of Of Pandas and People." In her expert testimony, Dr. Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University pointed out that early drafts of the ID textbook used forms of the word "creation" until the Edwards v. Aguillard decision outlawed creation science in 1987 and that later drafts simply substituted "creation" with "design".

"The emperor of intelligent design had no clothes," Eric said. "The assertions of intelligent design have no evidence."

Pepper litigator Steve Harvey also praised the decision, saying, "This decision is pro-child, pro-evolution, pro-science, and pro-education."

Both Eric and Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, expect creationism/creation science/intelligent design to trudge on.

"We expect a change to another label," Eric said and noted that some possibilities are "abrupt emergence" and "teach the controversy".

"We are going to see the continuing evolution of intelligent design," Eugenie said.

Barrie Callhan, a plaintiff and former school board member, issued a warning to all citizens.

"Watch your school boards."

Andy in H-burg

13 Comments:

Blogger Tired of Idiots said...

Having just finished reading the decision from start to finish, I can't help but save part of me for caution.

Now that we have such a wonderfully complete roadmap of everything the proponents of ID did wrong, there is a strong possibility that ID supporters will use this as a handbook for how to structure their next attempt.

Each round may get progressively more subtle and supportable until they finally succeed.

I guess as long as they can't come up with real scientific evidence, we shouldn't have to worry. But it's still something to be on guard for, since we know they'll come back with ID 2.0 at some point.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Christian (many would say the personal relationship, born-again, fully dipped, grace-covered, southern peanut variety). After today's decision by Judge Jones, I would like to make a few comments about Intelligent Design®, the Dover Panda Trial, and today's ruling. In particular, I would like to address this message to the many angry and confused Christians who may wish to vent their wrath on the "Godless" American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

First of all, I would like to state one thing clearly and unequivocally. The Dover Panda Trial was not about whether God created life on earth in a puff of heavenly magic or whether it developed slowly over 600 million years through a process known as Darwinian evolution. This trial was not about another activist, Godless, left-wing-liberal federal judge "...kicking God out of the classroom." As long as there are math tests, God will be in every classroom in the United States. I know that from personal experience here in Tennessee, and all of that personal experience came after the early 1960s U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning teacher-directed prayers in the public schools. In those days, given the scary and abusive nature of some teachers, I must have said at least five prayers a day (20 on some days), and no student or school official ever stopped me or tried to interfere with my prayers. Why? Because prayer in the public schools is still legal now and always has been. Your child, be his name Robert or Moshe, can bow his little head in class and pray tomorrow morning. No teacher or principal will interfere, and the people at the ACLU will back me and him on that proposition.

If not those "obvious-looking" things, then what on earth was the Dover Panda Trial really about? Simply this: "Can the government allow one particular religious belief to be taught exclusively under the guise of science to a room of captive public school children?"

The answer is an emphatic "no" and every one of us Christians who believes in the Holy Trinity and the U.S. Constitution should fall down on our knees and thank Jesus for today's ruling by Judge Jones. I do not know about you, but I do not want a Separate Baptist teacher spewing out her theology to my son in a science class. I do not want a teacher from Bhopal, India, feeding my child shades of Hinduism in biology class. I dare say that no Jewish parent would want L. Ron Hubbard or Reverend Moon's views on origins taught to their children in a science classroom. If Judge Jones had ruled differently today, the door to allowing such things to happen would have been flung wide open. If we once invest the state with the authority to teach religion to our children, we must understand that there is an excellent chance that the religion taught to them may not be our own. Hand-in-hand with that, we may find that we have lost all legal recourse to stop it. Do you want that---honestly?

Thomas Jefferson had my well being, your well being, and the well being of our children in mind when he made his now famous statement to the Danbury Baptist Association advocating the erection of “...a wall of eternal separation between church and state.” Oh, yes!!! Despite what you might have heard from so-called Christian nation proponents out there, that is exactly what Jefferson said. Those Christian fundamentalist preachers and their associates who suggest otherwise are feeding you more of the outright lies, deceptions, and baloney that Judge Jones highlighted in the trial testimony of former members on the Dover School Board. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of "Lying for Jesus" going on out there in American society by people who claim to be Christians. I wonder if that says anything about them, what they believe, and what they advocate? Do they really want to be like Jesus, or do they really crave the governmental power and the associated ego rush that Jesus so wisely turned down when he was tempted in the wilderness?

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a well thought out post! thank you!

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Phil Karn said...

"tired of idiots" said "I guess as long as they can't come up with real scientific evidence, we shouldn't have cause to worry".

Well, as I see it, if they did come up with real scientific evidence for "Intelligent Design", then more power to them! That's how science is supposed to work.

But they can't use political pressure and public relations to do an end-run around the scientific process and force their half-baked ideas on public school kids. That's what this decision said, and few people could have said it better than Judge Jones.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Tired of Idiots said...

Phil, I completely agree. I would have no problem with any theory that was a real scientific theory with real evidence.

Right now, though, it looks like DI and others are more interested in figuring out how to hide religion than in trying to provide a valid theory.

I would hope they've learned from this that they need to play by the rules of science, and dedicate more time to actually using accepted methods of science, and less time trying to figure out how to beat the consitution.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous The Mad Scotsman said...

I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) who created the universe and all in it. We have incontrovertible scientific proof of our position (please refer to http://www.venganza.org/index.htm for details).

I am ashamed that this activist Judge would deny ID, since it is obvious that the ID is the FSM. All praise the FSM for He created the universe.

But on a more serious note, the Christian dude who posted earlier - that is so right on!!

Cheers, Neil.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

Just what we we need - another mad scotsman - and a heretic too - all scots recognize the universe is the result of the sacrifices made by the original "Great Chieftan o' the Pudding Race" the one, the only, Hgs (pronounced haggis)

1:43 PM  
Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

From the York Daily Record -
Bonsell said he disagreed with the judge that the board provided a disservice to the public and that members lied to cover their tracks.

Hmmm I guess he has never heard of the commandment against bearing false witness then...

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Alan Mick said...

Anonymous said...
I am a Christian....

AMEN!!

4:35 PM  
Anonymous The Mad Scotsman said...

Thank you for those kind words, and may I shake your hand!

You're quite right, I fled Scotland in the wake of the Great Haggis Uprising, determined to practice my religion in the Land of the Free, Land of the Braves (Atlanta - 4 years). The worst part of the Great Haggis Uprising was having to read the Declaration of Arbroath in the original Latin.

That one's for you, Hand Shaker.

Suffering of the Haggis? It deserved it, wi' its Hurdies like a Distant Hill, wud ye no agree? Onythin' that Gushes Entrails Bright needs a good sortin' oot.

Cheers, Neil.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

Yes Neil you may shake my hand.

I wonder what percentage (if any) of readers will be off looking up the Declaration of Arbroath (Latin or not) and trying to find out about the Haggis Uprising, and Hurdies?

Well heres another - anyone who fails to include Tatties and Neeps with their sacrificial pudding will be stoned, or merry anyway.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous The Mad Scotsman said...

Mr. Mahandi:

Getting stoned with the Haggis Tatties & Neeps is one of my traditions as well.

But here's a question. Why are you mentioned on the FORESTDALE SALVATION ARMY CHURCH web site? Huh? Can you explain that?? Go on, try and explain your way out of that. They want to know if you're a courteous gentleman, of all things.

http://www.mattclifton.freeserve.co.uk/html/resource_-_22_07_01_-_i_am.html

Cheers, Neil.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

Thinking about it, I am a bit cheesed off - he gives a bio for Lord Russell Grennow, and all I get is a mention with a bunch of unanswered questions.....

8:07 AM  

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