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December 21, 2005

Judge Rules Against 'Intelligent Design'

by Michael Powell
The Washington Post

A federal judge barred a Pennsylvania school district yesterday from mentioning "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolutionary theory in a scathing opinion that criticized local school board members for lying under oath and for their "breathtaking inanity" in trying to inject religion into science classes.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, a Republican appointed by President Bush, did not confine his opinion to the missteps of a local school board. Instead he explicitly sought to vanquish intelligent design, the argument that aspects of life are so complex as to require the hand, subtle or not, of a supernatural creator. This theory, he said, relies on the unprovable existence of a Christian God and therefore is not science.

"The overwhelming evidence is that Intelligent Design is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism and not a scientific theory," Jones wrote in a 139-page decision. "It is an extension of the Fundamentalists' view that one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution."

In November, voters in Dover threw out eight of nine school board members; the ninth was not up for reelection. The new school board, which favors teaching evolution, will not appeal the ruling.

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