U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III has ruled that the teaching of 'Intelligent Design' is unconstitutional.
According to the Associated Press, the school board's claim that they were seeking to improve science education by exposing students to alternatives to Charles Darwin's theory that evolution develops through natural selection failed to convince Judge Jones:
"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.
At Outside The Beltway, James Joyner agrees with Judge Jones posting there is no secular purpose for including this pseudo-science in the curriculum. I disagree with James. I think it is appropriate that students be made aware that some believe in intelligent design and expose them to the arguments concerning it. Judge James says such an approach is acceptable as long as it is not presented as "an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom:"
[W]e do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.
Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.
We shouldn't be afraid to expose students to ideas.
Judge Jones' opinion is available here [pdf]. Because that link is difficult to open, Howard Bashman has made it available at How Appealing.