NOVA's Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

In summary, the show is about the Dover trial, where Intelligent Design Creationism, a.k.a. "The Intelligent Design Controversy", was put to the test. The theory was put to the test with recreations based on court transcripts, and it was shown to be logically and experimentally refuted. It should not be taught in schools alongside evolution for this reason, not for how refutable it is. Additionally, Michael Shermer has written a thorough dissection of the Intelligent Design Creationism cosmological argument in his book Why Darwin Matters - The Case Against Intelligent Design. Overall, it is an interesting show that I am looking forward to watching.
  • #36

That's not to say that the Discovery Institute and other ID proponents have packed up and called it a day; instead, they seem to simply be changing tactics. Recent developments indicate that the next wave of anti-evolution agitation will take a two-pronged approach. The first will be to try to foster doubt regarding evolution during high school education, while the second aims to explicitly carve a space for ID proponents at the college level by pressuring for their inclusion as a form of academic freedom. We'll take a brief look at both of these developments.
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  • #37
while the second aims to explicitly carve a space for ID proponents at the college level by pressuring for their inclusion as a form of academic freedom

I predict that any college/university that includes ID in their science curriculum will render any future degrees in the biological sciences from that institution worthless.
  • #38
They should teach about the" too. ~RAmen :smile:
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  • #39
yenchin said:
They should teach about the" too. ~RAmen :smile:

The on this one kills me.
Looks like an interesting video. I'll be sure to watch this tonight.
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  • #40
Here are some book tips if any of you want to explore the critical response from practicing scientists and the scientific community against intelligent design creationism further. Some are of historical nature, some philosophical, others focuses on biology and some gives perspective from theistic, pro-science scientists.

Gross, Paul; Forrest Barbra "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design"
Shermer, Michael "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design"
Young, Matt; Edis, Taner "Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of New Creationism"
Perakh, Mark "Unintelligent Design"
Pennock, Robert "Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism"
Shanks, Niall "God, The Devil and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory"
Scott, Eugenie C. "Evolution vs. Creationism"
Miller, Kenneth "Finding Darwin's God"
Ayala, Francisco "Darwin's Gift: to Science and Religion"
Petto, Andrew J.; Godfrey, Laurie R "Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism"
Ayala, Francisco "Darwin And Intelligent Design"
Roughgarden, Joan "Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist"
(Collins, Francis "The Langauge of God")


There are many more. If you are interested in a specific view, angle or frame and don't know quite what, I'd be more than happy to try to respond.
  • #41
Moridin said:
For those of you who have not been able to see the two-hour documentary "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial", either because you lived outside the US or were busy, PBS has posted the entire thing on their website, freely available to the general public:

The two-hour program is split up into 12 chapters, each about 10 minutes. Have fun!

Thanks. I'm looking forward to viewing this when I have the time.
  • #42
Here are some Barbra Forrest gems: (short chart of the history of creationism by Barbra Forrest). (149 page exposition into the history of creationism / ID by Forrest plus two co-authors)


"On several occasions during the last eighty years, states have attempted to either prohibit the teaching of evolution in public school science classes or counter the teaching of evolution with mandatory references to the religious doctrine of creationism. [...] This article considers whether these intelligent design creationism proposals can survive constitutional scrutiny. The authors analyze the religious, philosophical, and scientific details of intelligent design theory, and assess these details in light of the constitutional doctrine developed by the Court in its previous creationism decisions [...]"

There is also an article demonstrating that the adaptation of methodological naturalism in science does not a priori accept philosophical naturalism, although quite technical, can be found .

"But is it Science?" by Ruse and Pennock was supposed to be published Nov 30, but is currently not available :*(
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  • #43
What of this?

Darwinism: A new PBS docudrama aims to discredit intelligent design | Mark Bergin, World Magazine

A new NOVA docudrama, slated to air Nov. 13 on PBS and available for online viewing thereafter, purports to articulate an established definition of science, one that excludes intelligent design. Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial follows a landmark federal lawsuit in 2005 that pitted ACLU-backed parents against the Dover, Pa., school district. At issue was whether the inclusion of a brief statement on ID in the ninth-grade biology curriculum amounted to establishing religion in the classroom. Judge John E. Jones III ruled that it did.

Because no cameras were allowed in the courtroom during the trial, NOVA created dramatic reenactments of the proceedings with actors quoting lines from the case transcripts. Filmmakers also interviewed attorneys, school board members, scientists, and local teachers and parents. Conspicuously absent: interviews with fellows of the ID-advancing Discovery Institute, several of whom testified at the trial.

Paula Apsell, NOVA's executive producer, claims Michael Behe, Scott Minich, and other institute fellows declined to participate in the project. But Behe, Minich, and Stephen Meyer say they were excited for the chance to share their views when NOVA first approached them early last year. But negotiations over interview procedures broke down when Apsell refused to allow a Discovery Institute representative to record the exchanges for public release should NOVA use any statements out of context.

Apsell instead offered to provide Discovery officials with complete footage of the interviews provided they signed away any right to make it public. Rob Crowther, the institute's communications director, told WORLD that arrangement defeated the purpose of holding NOVA accountable. "We have had some other experiences with the media where we've been edited and kind of sliced and diced," he said. "NOVA didn't want to be held accountable."

The docudrama's accompanying education packet for teachers claims, "There is no scientific controversy about the existence of evolution," a statement that glosses over the critical difference between macro and micro evolution. The packet further contends, "Intelligent design advocates have never attempted to test their own work through basic research or submitted papers to peer-reviewed journals." That charge suggests NOVA has shifted genres from documentary to fiction—with hired actors, to boot.
  • #44
About the ID creationists "absent from the program".

Philip E. Johnson, the founding father of IDC was interviewed quite a lot for the show. There is even a full interview with him on the NOVA website. None of the members of the Discovery Institute ever took part in the trial (except Behe; denied to be interviewed in the documentary) because they withdrew (Dembski, Myer etc.) after making their deposits.

There isn't really a scientific controversy (same IDC propaganda as usual) and they have not attempted to make any original research (Dembski has admitted this) and there are no peer-review articles in mainstream scientific journals (they have published in the journals they founded themselves and other religious / philosophical journals).
  • #45
William Dembski made a serious error here, like he did in "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology", "Unapologetic apologetics" and in a few other places.

Friday Five: William A. Dembski

I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.

There’s a big question within the intelligent design community: "How did the design get in there?" We’re very early in this game in terms of understanding the history of how the design got implemented. I think a lot of this is because evolutionary theory has so misled us that we have to rethink things from the ground up. That's where we are. There are lots and lots of questions that are now open to re-examination in light of this new paradigm.

  • #46
Funny I didn't notice this earlier. It is a personal account by expert witness Barbra Forrest for the pro-evolution side on the Dover trial and its implications.

I had two tasks: to demonstrate to Judge Jones (1) that ID is creationism, thus a religious belief, and (2) that Of Pandas and People is a creationist textbook. As part of the evidence for my first task I included the words of two leading ID proponents, Phillip E. Johnson and William Dembski. Under direct examination by Eric Rothschild, I related Johnson’s definition of ID as “theistic realism” or “mere creation,” by which he means “that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology.” [27] To that I added Dembski’s definition: “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” [28] If the judge had heard nothing except these two quotes, he would have had all the evidence he needed that ID’s own leaders regard it as not only creationism but also as a sectarian Christian belief. But I had much more, such as CSC fellow Mark Hartwig’s 1995 Moody Magazine article in which he referred to a 1992 ID conference at Southern Methodist University as a meeting of “creationists and evolutionists,” calling Dembski and Stephen Meyer “evangelical scholars.” [29] During these early years, when they needed money and supporters, ID proponents openly advertised both their religiosity and their creationism.

While I'm here...[/URL] [PLAIN]

"Intelligent Design and Creationism/Evolution Controversy is a talk given by Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of National Center for Science Education on the increasing threat of Intelligent Design (ID) and Creationism. It was broadcasted as a part of the Explore Evolution series on Michigan Channel.

Scott demonstrates that Intelligent Design is nothing more than recycled creationism and that it completely lacks scientific basis by investigating its earlier forms advocated by Henry Morris, who falsely suggested that science supports the biblical account of creation as well as refuting the arguments made by proponents of ID."

"Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse is a one hour talk by Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, and serves on the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education. She is the author of the book entitled Creationism Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. The main theme of this video is analyzing the history of Intelligent Design (ID) and how it is clearly nothing else than recycled creationism in a cheap tuxedo.

In this video, she argues that not only is intelligent design not science, but that it is also a threat to science and education because it is attempting to inject false and unsupported claims into education. Forrest was a expert witness on the side of the plaintiffs in the Dover trial against the school board who pushed intelligent design onto the school’s science curriculum."[/URL] [PLAIN]

"A War on Science is a documentary by BBC Horizon exposing the ridiculous attempts of some to embed religion into the science classroom. The pseudoscience of “Intelligent Design” is attacking the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, and trying to inject creationism into science, even though it is against the law. It is a battle between nonsense and knowledge, evoking some of the biggest names in science to strike back at the false claims by ID proponents."

As a side note, the very interesting Dr Patricia Princehouse is interviewed somewhere in "A War of Science" and is a co-host with Miller below.

"The Collapse of Intelligent Design - Will the Next Monkey Trial be in Ohio?" by Ken Miller

"Ken Miller's talk on Intelligent Design at Case Western University. Ken Miller basically rips Intelligent Design apart in a 2 hour long exposé of the claims of intelligent design and the tactics that creationists employ to get it shoehorned into the American school system."

Some more interesting things...

By cell biologist (and catholic) Ken Miller:

The Flagellum Unspun - The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity"
Answering the Biochemical Argument from Design

Evolution of the Bacterial Flagellum -
Stepwise formation of the bacterial flagellar system -

Yeah, none of the things with "new" are actually new :P

Some critical reviews of Behe's Edge of Evolution: (Richard Dawkins in New York Times)[/URL] (Paul Gross in The New Criterion)
[url][/url] (Ken Miller in Nature) (Carroll in Science)

Bad news:

According the [PLAIN][/URL], The new edition of "But Is It Science?: The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy" by Ruse (expert withness for pro-science in McLean v. Arkansas 1981 with Steven Jay Gould, Fransisco Ayala et. al.) and Pennock (expert witness for pro-science in Kitzmiller vs. Dover et. al 2005) will not be released until sometime during 2008. Can't wait.

I know, I have too much time on my hands.
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  • #47

I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.

Philip E. Johnson, one of the founding fathers to intelligent design creationism. Whoops.
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  • #48
The Painful Elaboration of the Fatuous - Norman Levitt Deconstructs Steve Fuller’s Postmodernist Critique of Evolution

Ultimately, then, we shouldn’t be startled by the alienation of academic non-scientists from science and technology, nor by the churlishnish with which they address such issues. Steve Fuller is merely an extreme case, an outlier. He represents what a widespread attitude may become when infused with mega-oses egotism and self-regard, and when maximally saturated with the desire to belittle and condescend to the much-hated scientific community. Fuller has perpetrated a dreadful book, but as a tantrum, it is exemplary. He may draw some cautious admiration from his colleagues for the operatic brio of his histrionics. But it seems to me doubtful — and this is a very good thing — that any large segment of the science-studies community, nor of the larger “academic left” will join him in the attempt to find comrades-in-arms in such venues as the Discovery Institute or the wider Intelligent Design movement. Figures like Johnson, Dembski, and Behe, not to mention Ahmanson and Monaghan, burn all too visibly with a searing desire to inaugurate a Godly polity that will be as intolerable to the postmodern left as to conventional liberals or secularists. These guys are just too scary, even for those academics who have heretofore flaunted their disdain for orthodox science. Fuller, I’m afraid, will just have to go it alone.

This is an extremely good review of the extremely poor book called "Science vs. Religion: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution". Fuller testified with the ID creationists in Dover, and is, to say the least a peculiar character.
  • #49
Here is a video of a lecture by Ed Brayton on the Dover Trial entitled . It is a great description of the trial.

His blog can be found here:
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  • #50
Anybody else think that biologist from around the globe should just get together and declare Evolution a "law"? Make a HUGE deal out of it, too, with a celebration and stuff. I wonder what would come out of that.
  • #51
I sometimes wonder if there would be as much discussion if they had simply called it the law of evolution to begin with...
  • #52
NeoDevin said:
I sometimes wonder if there would be as much discussion if they had simply called it the law of evolution to begin with...

Probably not. The real issue seems to be the perceived threat against the Christian fundamentalism
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  • #53
I am so sad that Michael Ruse book has not come out yet- It must be delayed again. Oh well, if you are waiting for something good...

Kenneth Miller's new book entitled "Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul" will be out June 12 this year. He has made the first few pages available online:

In other 'news': (29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent)
From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella - If you are going to read one paper on the evolution of 'the' bacterial flagellum, read this one. (Debunks creationist claims about the Cambrian radiation)

Google video version of Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial:

NCSE has a youtube account:
Evolution of the eye:
Intelligent design is creationism:
Another good youtube account

NCSE exposes the creationist movie expelled:

Rockefeller University Symposium on Evolution (Introduction by Paul Nurse):
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  • #54
Thanks for the updates, M. Much appreciated.
  • #56
Here is a scathing review of Expelled by Ken Miller.

Trouble ahead for science

Puzzled, the editors of Scientific American asked Mark Mathis, the film's co-producer, why he and Stein didn't interview such people, like Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project), Francisco Ayala, or myself. Mathis cited me by name, saying "Ken Miller would have confused the film unnecessarily." In other words, showing a scientist who accepts both God and evolution would have confused their story line.

Despite these falsehoods, by far the film's most outlandish misrepresentation is its linkage of Darwin with the Holocaust. A concentration camp tour guide tells Stein that the Nazis were practicing "Darwinism," and that's that. Never mind those belt buckles proclaiming Gott mit uns (God is with us), the toxic anti-Semitism of Martin Luther, the ghettoes and murderous pogroms in Christian Europe centuries before Darwin's birth. No matter. It's all the fault of evolution.

Why is all this nonsense a threat to science? The reason is Stein's libelous conclusion that science is simply evil. In an April 21 interview on the Trinity Broadcast Network, Stein called the Nazi murder of children "horrifying beyond words." Indeed. But what led to such horrors? Stein explained: "that's where science in my opinion, this is just an opinion, that's where science leads you. Love of God and compassion and empathy leads you to a very glorious place. Science leads you to killing people."

That immortal phrase: "Science leads you to killing people".
  • #57
Louisiana's latest creationism bill moves to House floor: . It is one of those "academic freedom" bills, which is one of the reincarnations of "teach the controversy".

B.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

Notice how the topics explicitly stated have a common denominator? Notice that it also separates evolution from abiogenesis.

The state sounds familiar? That's right, Louisiana was the stage for the now famous supreme court case of Edwards vs. Aguillard in 1987 where Justice Brennan struck down the Creationism Act banning the teaching of evolution.

Some Reactions:
Louisiana creationism bill passes house committee
Panel OKs bill on science texts
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  • #58
Of my, my, my. Next time you come into contact with an IDC supporter that want it to be taught in school, you can retort with the following information provided by the Discovery Institute showing their inconsistencies as ammo. This was on page four and I though it was hilarious. Why did they testify if they opposed it?

For the record, we do not propose that intelligent design should be mandated in public schools, which is why we strongly opposed the school district policy at issue in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case.

Page 7 states that

Should public schools mandate Intelligent Design?

No. The priority of the ID movement has long been focused on developing the theory of intelligent design through scientific research, scientific publication, and other forms of scientific discussion and does not seek to push ID into schools. In today's politically charged climate, attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will only hinder fair and open discussions on the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about ID to teach about it accurately and objectively.

  • #59
Excellent job by NOVA. All of these creationists appeal to emotion. One of them said it hurt his dignity that we came from smaller life forms. Aw, poor baby's dignity was hurt. Another stupid claim was because they didn't understand it that it must be false. Reza Aslam in a book discussion with Sam Harris pretty much echoed the same statement. It's lazy, pathetic and stupid.
  • #60
LightbulbSun said:
Excellent job by NOVA. All of these creationists appeal to emotion. One of them said it hurt his dignity that we came from smaller life forms. Aw, poor baby's dignity was hurt. Another stupid claim was because they didn't understand it that it must be false. Reza Aslam in a book discussion with Sam Harris pretty much echoed the same statement. It's lazy, pathetic and stupid.

Not to mention a textbook example of the moralist fallacy.

To quote Dawkins: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniac".

It does wonders for your sense of dignity, doesn't it?
  • #61
Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy:

Antievolution legislation in South Carolina dies:

Dembski has now officially gone of the deep-end:


Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s signing of a transgender anti-discrimination bill points up the lunacy that ensues in a world without design (see here).

I don't know if that is sad or just pathetic.

On David Berlinsk

"Berlinski is a critic, a contrarian, and—by his own admission—a crank."
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  • #62
This might be of interest.

Science, Evolution, and Creationism
Free download available.

. . . . Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable.

In the book Science, Evolution, and Creationism, a group of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine explain the fundamental methods of science, document the overwhelming evidence in support of biological evolution, and evaluate the alternative perspectives offered by advocates of various kinds of creationism, including "intelligent design." The book explores the many fascinating inquiries being pursued that put the science of evolution to work in preventing and treating human disease, developing new agricultural products, and fostering industrial innovations. The book also presents the scientific and legal reasons for not teaching creationist ideas in public school science classes.

Mindful of school board battles and recent court decisions, Science, Evolution, and Creationism shows that science and religion should be viewed as different ways of understanding the world rather than as frameworks that are in conflict with each other and that the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. For educators, students, teachers, community leaders, legislators, policy makers, and parents who seek to understand the basis of evolutionary science, this publication will be an essential resource.

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