So, I’m back from my vacation, to more news of political messes as well as the encouraging news that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones has ruled against adding “intelligent design” to the biology curriculum in Dover, Pennsylvania. Judge Jones’s 139-page opinion eviscerates ID’s scientific pretensions, noting that it is “a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory,” and that it utterly fails all the tests a scientific theory must meet. He also pointed out the fundamental dishonesty of the pro-ID school board faction in Dover: “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.”
This is a good day for science and reason. I’m particularly pleased that Jones is a Bush appointee, which runs counter to political stereotypes of Republican and conservative judges and which should also, at least in theory, mute the ID backers’ cries of a liberal conspiracy to keep them down. Only in theory, of course: Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who represented the old school board in the case, was quick to tell the Associated Press that the ruling looked like “an ad hominem attack on scientists who happen to believe in God.” Nice try, Mr. Thompson; keep obfuscating about the fact that most scientists who “happen to believe in God,” and even those who happen to teach at religious colleges, firmly support evolutionary theory and reject ID.
By the way, Judge Jones is not only a Republican but a churchgoer as well. Not that it’s going to stop the ID’ers from painting themselves as victims of anti-Christian bias, but it may make it harder for their whining to be taken seriously by others.
Update, again: Added link to the Kitzmiller ruling. See also Richard Bennett for a good roundup.
And more: ID advocates react. Here’s a contender for dumbest quote of the week:
“This decision is a poster child for a half-century secularist reign of terror that’s coming to a rapid end with Justice Roberts and soon-to-be Justice Alito,” said Richard Land, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is a political ally of White House adviser Karl Rove. “This was an extremely injudicious judge who went way, way beyond his boundaries — if he had any eyes on advancing up the judicial ladder, he just sawed off the bottom rung.”
Can you say “unhinged”? I’m hoping Land is wrong and there’s no reason to believe that Roberts and Alito are going to be any more receptive to pseudo-scientific buffoonery than Judge Jones.