Skip to comments.Intelligent designers down on Dover
Posted on 09/22/2005 6:53:07 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based nonprofit that describes itself as a "nonpartisan policy and research organization," recently issued a policy position against Dover in its upcoming court case.
John West, associate director of Discovery's Center for Science & Culture, calls the Dover policy "misguided" and "likely to be politically divisive and hinder a fair and open discussion of the merits of intelligent design."
Eleven parents filed a federal suit last December, about two months after the school board voted to include a statement about intelligent design in its ninth-grade biology classes.
Intelligent design says living things are so complicated they had to have been created by a higher being, that life is too complex to have developed through evolution as described by biologist Charles Darwin.
The parents, along with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union, said the board had religious motives for putting the policy in place.
The non-jury trial is expected to start in Harrisburg Sept. 26.
No surprise: The school board's attorney, Richard Thompson, said he isn't surprised the Discovery Institute has distanced itself from the school board's stance.
"I think it's a tactical decision they make on their own," said Thompson, top attorney with Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center, a law firm that specializes in cases related to the religious freedom of Christians.
Though the Discovery Institute promotes the teaching of intelligent design, it has been critical of school boards that have implemented intelligent design policies, Thompson said.
Discovery Institute's Web site offers school board members a link to a video titled "How to Teach the Controversy Legally," referring to the organization's opinion that there is a controversy over the validity of the theory of evolution.
The video doesn't specifically mention teaching intelligent design.
But Discovery Institute is the leading organization touting intelligent design research and supporting the scientists and scholars who want to investigate it.
Dover is the only school district that Discovery has publicly spoken out against. West said that's because they mandated the policy. Discovery Institute supports teaching intelligent design, but not requiring it through a school board policy.
He said there are few proponents of intelligent design who support the stand Dover's board has taken because the district has required the reading of a statement that mentions intelligent design and directs students to an intelligent design textbook.
"They really did it on their own and that's unfortunate," West said.
The "bad policy" has given the ACLU a reason to try to "put a gag order" on intelligent design in its entirety, he said.
Discovery also spoke out against Pennsylvania legislators who wanted to give school boards the option of mandating the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution.
Avoiding politics: Teaching intelligent design is not unconstitutional, but the institute doesn't support the Dover school board's stand because it doesn't want intelligent design to become a political issue, said Casey Luskin, program officer in the Public Policy and Legal Affairs department at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.
He said the Discovery Institute is "not trying to hinder their case in court," but the organization wants intelligent design to be debated by the scientific community, not school boards.
Lawyer: Won't hinder case: Thompson said the Discovery Institute's noninvolvement in the trial won't hinder Dover's case because "the judge is going to look at the policy ... not who is in favor of it on the outside."
But the institute has been a hindrance to the school district's attempts to find "scientific" witnesses to testify about intelligent design, Thompson said.
Though Discovery representatives said they have never been in support of Dover's policy, Thompson said the organization's unwillingness to get involved in the trial became evident after it insisted that some of its fellows -- who were lined up to testify -- have their own legal representation, instead of the Thomas More Center, which bills itself as "The Sword and Shield for People of Faith."
Some of the Discovery Institute's intelligent design supporters backed out of testifying, even after Thompson told them they could have their own legal representation if they wanted, Thompson said.
"It was very disappointing" that the institute would prevent its members from testifying, Thompson said.
But he still found some willing Discovery fellows to testify that intelligent design is not a religious movement: Michael Behe from Lehigh University and Scott Minnich from the University of Idaho.
West said Discovery fellow Charles Thaxton is also slated to testify.
Ping for the list. And that's Panda!
Why do you feel that the ToE says their is no God?
Why do you feel that it does? Why would scientists begin searching for an alternate model of origin that does not include God, unless they began with the fundamental premise that God was not there to create? Have you ever researched the bias and preconceptions of Darwin himself, much less his successors?
Isn't DI on record with the "Wedge" document?
This is why they're so reluctant to have ID submitted to court challenge. There's a paper trail that they created that admits it's a Trojan Horse.
Since you aspire to logic, you might consider the possibility that your graven image, the Bible, is not God. Worshipping the Bible is not the same as worshipping God. And finding that there is no physical evidence for some Biblical stories is not the same as declaring there is no God.
How do you make the leap that people worship the Bible? The actual book itself.
Where does that come from?
Its the God of that Bible that is worthy of honor and praise.
The net effect of all this is that mainstream science has tightened up its arguments, shed a bunch of flabby prose, and is a lot leaner and stronger.
I've seen this happen over the last couple of years on FR. People who accepted evolution passively have had to learn the arguments in some detail.
Read what people say about it. It's called the Word of God. Is not all of creation the Word of God?
How does one book descended from the oral tradition of one middle eastern tribe, with a lot of Babylonian myths tossed in, overrule the untranslated Word of God, available to everyone in the original language -- the world and the univrse itself?
"ID and Creationism both highlight the false assumption that underlies evolution, that there is no God."
1) Evolution doesn't care whether or not God exists, creationists made up that argument.
2) Even if it did assume God does not exist you can't call it a "false assumption" unless you can prove He does.
Remember no matter how strongly you believe something, it does not prove it as fact.
Now, I'm not saying God doesn't exist, I have no idea either way, I'll find out when I die. I'm simply pointing out the flaws in your logic.
Every now and then I see a post that is, for lack of a better phrase,shockingly accurate. Yours is one:
"...How does one book descended from the oral tradition of one middle eastern tribe, with a lot of Babylonian myths tossed in, overrule the untranslated Word of God, available to everyone in the original language -- the world and the univrse itself?"
I'm beginning to wonder if that's the only reason.... they've gone to fairly great legnths to dissuade their own people from testifying. You don't suppose they're afraid of having their funding sources scrutinized under oath, do you?
Scientists go where the evidence takes them. The evidence supports evolution. Evolution, and science in general, makes no claims about the existence or non-existence of God.
You mean, people like Howard Ahmanson?
Lance Armstrong says the testicular cancer made him tougher. Still, I bet he'd prefer not to have had it. :-)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.