9.23.2005

Parents Sue To Stop Intelligence Decline



Court Case May Determine How Evolution Is Taught

from NewScientist.com

A landmark legal trial begins on Monday that could determine how the theory of evolution - one of the basic tenets of modern science - is taught in US schools.

In the town of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 11 parents of children who already attend the nearby Dover High school or who will in future, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, are suing the Dover Area School District for voting in new rules that will encourage children to consider alternatives to evolution such as “intelligent design.”

The parents claim the school board violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by creating new teaching requirements at the end of 2004 that cast doubt on evolution, introduce students to ID, and encourage them to read anti-evolutionary, pro-ID literature. The First Amendment prohibits teaching that is religiously motivated, or has the effect of advancing religion.

It will hinge on whether ID is a respectable scientific theory, or a religious belief that masquerades as science to sidestep a 1987 Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the teaching of creationism in schools.

The plaintiffs will argue that it is the latter. “There is so much evidence that this is just the latest incarnation of creationism,” says Witold Walczak, a lawyer for the ACLU of Pennsylvania based in Pittsburgh, who will represent the parents. He points to early drafts of Of Pandas and People, written before 1987. “It’s identical except for where it says creationism it now says intelligent design.”

This view is shared by the mainstream science community. Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science based in Washington DC and publisher of the journal Science, says: “ID was an effort to correct the legal problems of creation science.”

It will be up to the defence to prove that ID is in fact a scientific concept that has a primarily secular purpose and a secular effect on students.

The court’s verdict will only bind schools within the Dover district, but could influence how schools teach evolution across the country, says Walczak. If the decision was also appealed, the trial could move to a Supreme Court, whose verdict would apply to the whole nation, says Walczak.

“If we lose this case, I suspect it will send a green light to many school districts across the country that it is okay to teach ID,” he says. “If we win, hopefully it will put a break on what we view as a religious concept.”


Pop Quiz - Identify the Science: And then the all-powerful (A] magician The Amazing Mesmero!, B] God, C] Poseidon, D] alien warlord Xenu, E] Flying Spaghetti Monster, G] adorable little Anthony Fremont, boy-monster-god - as portrayed by Billy Mummy in the creepy Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life," G] laws of physics and biology) - with a (A] tap of his wand and puff of purple smoke, B] mere thought, C] strike of his trident, D] genocidal barrage of nuclear bombs, E] wiggle of It's noodly appendage, F] sinister glare, G] Big Bang) and after (A] saying "Abracadabra!," B] creating the universe from nothing and the first man from dust, C] several failed attempts, D] imprisoning his frozen Thetan enemies in a volcano on Earth, E] creating trees and mountains on a whim, F] wishing away electricity, singing, and the rest of the planet except his small hometown and a dwindling handful of terrified neighbors, G] possibly an eternity of repeating Big Bangs and Big Crunches - we may never really know) - astonishingly (A] conjured, B] created, C] created, D] created, E] created, F] created, G] facilitated) by means of (A] magic, B] divine will, C] divine will, D] pure accident, E] divine will, F] his God-like powers, G] evolution) the very (A] confused bunny, B] first woman, C] first horse, D] human soul, E] first midgit, F] abominable two-headed gopher, G] conditions necessary for the emergence of life) from nothing more than (A] a top hat, B] Adam's rib, C] a rock, D] alien corpses, E] possibly some alfredo sauce, F] a boring regular gopher, G] matter and energy) as (A] the audience gasps in delight, B] an afterthought - the All-Knowing didn't know Adam would be so lonely, C] his entry in the gods' Best Creation contest, D] revealed as prophecy by a science fiction writer, E] It's first attempt to create man, F] a cruel experiment to amuse himself after having killed all his playmates, G] supported by carbon dating, fossils, and all available scientific evidence) and to the fervant (A] applause of the crowd, B] belief of Christians, C] belief of Ancient Greeks, D] belief of Scientologists, E] belief of Pastafarians, F] but well-disguised horror of his terrified, ever-smiling mother, Cloris Leachman, G] contempt and dismissal of Christians), only to then (A] saw his beautiful assistant in half, B] punish all women with menstruation and eternal inferiority after Eve dared to seek knowledge, C] lose to Athena's olive tree creation, D] put his hands on his hips, throw back his head, and laugh and laugh his mighty evil laugh before flying back to his homeworld, E] try it again - creating cavemen, pirates, and supercool ninja assassins, F] command it to die, which it did, and then wish away "into the cornfield" another unlucky neighbor for thinking "bad thoughts" about him, G] let nature take its course). Today, Christians call this act (A] the heresy of witchcraft and grounds for stoning, B] the science of Intelligent Design, C] the foolish belief of dead Greeks, D] the foolish belief of Tom Cruise, E] ridiculous and irrelevant, F] heresy from what sounds like a blasphemous TV show and the reason Rod Serling is probably burning in Hell, G] a flawed if not false theory, like Buddhism, leprechauns, or the separation of church and state), but they would never, ever call it (A] harmless entertainment, B] Creationism in disguise, C] Intelligent Design, D] a "real" religion, E] Intelligent Design, F] harmless entertainment, G] science). Non-Christians call this event (A] sleight of hand, B] mythology and an unAmerican conspiracy to sneak Christianity into public schools, C] mythology, D] quite possibly the silliest thing they've ever heard, E] hilarious but just as scientific as A, B, C, D, and F, F] Best! Episode! Ever! - or maybe that's just me, G] fact), while President Bush (A] giggles with delight and claps his hands, dribbling cake down his shirt and squealing "This is the best birthday party ever!," B] thinks it should be taught in schools as science, a violation of the separation of church and state, C] now thinks a Greek cowboy named Poseidon invented Trident sugarless gum out of olives, D] never saw Battlefield Earth, E] spells it "spugetty," F] raises the Terror Alert Level to "Super-Duper Red" and declares War on This Anthony Fremont Kid, G] looks very confused, having spent most of high school drunk and barely passing "them fancy science classes" - suddenly feeling a nap coming on, he changes the subject in a panic: blurts out something about the War on Terror and evil and staying the course, spontaneously declares a Day of Prayer, checks his watch, snickers for no apparent reason, accuses Democrats of playing politics and hating God and America and their own mothers and our brave American soldiers, blesses America, scans the room frantically for Condi, wets himself a little, writes New Orleans a check for "a million billion dollars," wipes the sweat from his forehead and pokes himself in the eye, declares a War on Scientology, takes it back, declares War of Them Filthy Homosexuals and That Jon Stewart Fella, blesses America again, falls off his bike, and then points and shouts "Osama!" and, as everyone turns, runs out of the press conference - making that sound Fred Flintstone makes when he runs - off for another well-deserved vacation).

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home