Why School Boards and Teachers Should Make Decisions Based On Edwards v. Aguillard, and Ignore Kitzmiller
For this post, I thought of using the title "How to Copy and Paste Your Way to Fame and Glory," but decided that that missed the more important point.
A delightful article is now available entitled: A Comparison of Judge Jones’ Opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover with Plaintiffs’ Proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” by John G. West and David K. DeWolf. This article notes:
90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken verbatim or virtually verbatim from the proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” submitted to Judge Jones by ACLU attorneys nearly a month before his ruling.
The judge even incorporated clear factual errors from the plaintiffs' proposed Findings. Keep in mind that the first drafts of his opinion were almost certainly drafted by his law clerks. This and other comments Judge Jones has made since the trial indicate that he may not have really understood the issues involved at trial.
A previous post of mine discussed other things that he clearly did not understand and his use of stereotyping and misrepresentation. Without knowing about the heavy borrowing from the Plaintiffs' documents, I noted:
Jones' opinion, however, reads like a narrow-minded work of advocacy, not an expression of thoughtful judgment reflecting an understanding of all the parties. One prominent Darwin Only blogger noted that the opinion could not have been better if he had written it himself. Hmmmm.
This is just one more reason that school boards should not follow the decision of one solitary district court judge in rural Pennsylvania. The fact remains that the controlling law in the area of teaching about evolution in the public schools is the Supreme Court case Edwards v. Agulllard. The court held that teaching "creation science," as formulated in that case, is unconstitutional. However, it also noted the following:
We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught. . . . In a similar way, teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction. (citations omitted)
It follows also that individual teachers can clearly teach the scientific problems with macroevolutionary theory.