1.04.2006

Intelligence Revives: Dover's Redemption



Board Rescinds 'Intelligent Design' Policy

from The Associated Press

DOVER, Pa. - Dover's much-maligned school policy of presenting "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution was officially relegated to the history books Tuesday night.

On a voice vote, and with no discussion beforehand, the newly elected Dover Area School Board unanimously rescinded the policy. Two weeks earlier, a judge ruled the policy unconstitutional.

"This is it," new school board president Bernadette Reinking said Tuesday, indicating the vote was final and the case was closed.

A different group of school board members had been in control when the policy was approved in October 2004. The policy required that a statement be read to Dover public school students. The statement said Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps."

Eight families sued, and on Dec. 20, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III sided with their argument that the concept of "intelligent design" is religious, not scientific. The judge said that violated the establishment clause in the First Amendment.

Most of the previous board members who had defended the policy were ousted in the November election, replaced by candidates who pledged to eliminate the policy.

The Dover policy and high-profile lawsuit added fuel to a national debate over "intelligent design."

In Kansas, where state officials have been arguing over the teaching of evolution since 1999, education officials recently approved science standards that treat evolution as a flawed theory.

In Georgia, the state schools superintendent drew protests in 2004 for proposing a science curriculum that replaced the word "evolution" with "changes over time." Last year, a federal judge ordered Cobb County schools to remove from biology textbooks stickers that called evolution a theory, not a fact.

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