Hmm. It looks like the Discovery Institute’s efforts to overthrow the scientific method and “replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” took a couple of steps backwards yesterday, when a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional to teach so-called “Intelligent Design” in public schools as science, calling it “creationism in disguise.”
“U.S. District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board, saying its first-in-the-nation decision in October 2004 to insert intelligent design into the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
The ruling was a major setback to the intelligent design movement, which is also waging battles in Georgia and Kansas. Intelligent design holds that living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of higher force.
Jones decried the “breathtaking inanity” of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.
“We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom,” he wrote in his 139-page opinion. […] “It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”
Here’s a copy of the judge’s 139-page ruling (PDF) for all those interested, but at first glance it looks to be an overwhelming defeat for ID. The following passage is getting particular play in the media, and for good reason:
The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from “creation” to “intelligent design” occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs’ assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.
The Discovery Institute has issued a scathing press release attacking Jones as an “activist federal judge,” but then, isn’t that the right’s usual response to losing a court case… attacking the judge? (Especially Republican, church-going judges like Jones?) The fact is, religious activists are getting ahead of Discovery’s marketing plan, and that’s beginning to hurt their cause.