stinging rebuke to advocates of intelligent design

Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times:

Darwincollier20portraitA federal judge ruled today that a Pennsylvania school board’s policy of teaching intelligent design in high school biology class is unconstitutional because intelligent design is clearly a religious idea that advances “a particular version of Christianity.”

In the nation’s first case to test the legal merits of intelligent design, Judge John E. Jones III dealt a stinging rebuke to advocates of teaching intelligent design as a scientific alternative to evolution in public schools.

The judge found that intelligent design is not science, and that the only way its proponents can claim it is, is by changing the very definition of science to include supernatural explanations.

Eleven parents in Dover, Pa., sued their school board a year ago when the board voted that ninth grade biology students should be read a brief statement saying there are “gaps in the theory” of evolution and that intelligent design is another explanation they should examine. The case is Kitzmiller et. al. v. Dover.

The six-week trial in federal district court in Harrisburg gave intelligent design the most thorough academic and legal airing it has had since the movement’s inception about 15 years ago. The judge heard evidence from scientists in the forefront of the design movement, as well as scientists and other experts who are critics.

More here.  And Sean Carrol has more here at Cosmic Variance.