December 20, 2005
Washington, DC - The precedent has been set in the case of Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, and teachers in Dover, PA, are now free to keep science in the science class. Today Judge John E. Jones III ruled in favor of the parents who sought to prevent the incorporation of intelligent design, a religious concept, into science lessons on evolution. Click here to read Judge Jones's 139-page decision
"The real winners of this case are Dover students," says Kent Holsinger, incoming president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Students should be able to learn about the nature of science, which can be tested based on our observations of the natural world. Intelligent design does not fit that criterion."
The decision was well received by members of the mainstream scientific research community, who maintain there is no controversy about evolution, a unifying principle of biology. Many US scientists, concerned about losing ground to other countries, worry that American students who do not learn about evolution will be less prepared to embark on careers in science, engineering and technology.
In recent months a number of business leaders and organizations have called for an increased investment in research and development, recognizing that such an investment must include a national commitment to improving science education. Meanwhile global competitors have shown that they view science as a strong economic engine. China and India are regularly cited for their high numbers of science and technology graduates, and the European Union is considering a plan to double its investment in scientific research.
"We should always strive to help our students keep up with the growing global competition. One of the best ways to do that is by teaching the scientific method," says current AIBS President Marvalee Wake.
Last year, the Dover Area School District added intelligent design to its science curriculum and mandated that teachers read a statement referring students to a creationist/ID textbook. Eleven parents then filed suit in federal district court against the school district on the grounds that the Dover policy violated the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
In November, Dover citizens voted to oust all eight school board members up for reelection.
"These attempts to redefine science to fit a single religious philosophy cost taxpayers money and prevent teachers from preparing students to become fully productive in the nation's workforce and competitive in the global arena," says AIBS Executive Director Richard O'Grady. "Judge Jones and the citizens of Dover have confirmed, for all the country to see, that science classes are for teaching science."
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