For more background information on the Dover trial click here.
“While Discovery Institute opposes efforts to mandate the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, it even more strongly objects to the ACLU’s Orwellian efforts to shut down classroom discussions of intelligent design through government-imposed censorship,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, the nation’s leading think tank sponsoring research on intelligent design.
The case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District will open in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Monday, September 26. The ACLU is suing the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania for adopting a policy that requires students to listen to a three-paragraph statement about the theory of intelligent design. The ACLU alleges that the Dover policy violates the separation of church and state.
Discovery Institute strongly disputes the ACLU‘s effort to make discussions of intelligent design illegal. At the same time, the Institute opposes on policy grounds the science education policy adopted by the Dover School District. Discovery holds that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common sense approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.
“Attempts to require teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and hinder a fair and open discussion of its merits among scholars and within the scientific community,” said West, adding that most teachers currently have not been trained enough about intelligent design to teach it accurately and objectively.
“The courts should not be used to censor scientific ideas or instruct scientists and educators in what are legitimate avenues of scientific research,” said West. “Whether the ACLU likes it or not, advocates of new scientific theories must be allowed to critically examine reigning ideas if scientific progress is to ever take place.
“It’s a disturbing prospect that the outcome of this lawsuit could be that the court will try to tell scientists what is legitimate scientific inquiry and what is not,” added West. “That is a flagrant assault on free speech and free and open scientific inquiry. The debate over evolution should be decided through scientific discussion and debate, not by gag orders imposed by the courts.”