2005 December 20

Court Rules School District’s “Intelligent Design” Curriculum Unconstitutional


In 2004, the Dover area School District in Pennsylvania changed its biology curriculum to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to the theory of evolution, and also required use of the textbook, Of Pandas and People, which presented the intelligent design theory. Intelligent design is a theory arguing that the forms of nature emanate from a guiding intelligence and not from the unguided process of evolution. In a challenge brought by the ACLU on behalf of the parents of eleven school children in the district, a federal District Court ruled on this day, in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, that intelligent design was another version of creationism and advanced a religious point of view, in violation of the Establishment Clause.

In November 2005, all eight of the school board members who were up for reelection were defeated by candidates who opposed the teaching of intelligent design.

The attempt to include intelligent design in the curriculum was the latest in a series of attempts by religious conservatives to circumvent the Establishment Clause, including “school prayer” (June 25, 1962),  “balanced treatment” (June 19, 1987), and “moments of silence” (June 4, 1985).

Watch a documentary on the Kitzmiller casehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33k5As89pR4

Learn about Intelligent Design from the National Center for Science Education: http://ncse.com/creationism/general/intelligent-design-not-accepted-by-most-scientists

Read: Jeremy Gunn and John Witte, No Establishment of Religion: America’s Original Contribution to Religious Liberty (2012)

Learn more about Kitzmiller and intelligent design: https://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/aclu-history-recent-challenges-intelligent-design

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