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dogemperor [userpic]
Dominionists try to push "Intelligent Design" into Dover, PA schools


An in-depth article about the battle between "Intelligent Design" proponents and the Dover PA school board:

Looking Over the Cliffs of Dover

Like all those who are interested in science, education, and the separation of church and state, I've been watching the developments in Dover very closely over the past several months. It has been fascinating on many different levels: religious and secular interests, science versus pseudoscience, and legal and constitutional issues all colliding in one place. On some of the blogs I regularly follow, the discussion has been optimistic, though appropriately guarded. I think there is reason for both hope and concern. I know what the outcome should be, but litigation is a risky business and the end result can rarely be predicted with a high degree of confidence. Of course, I hasten to preface this by saying that I'm not in much of a position to do any armchair quarterbacking here: I know nothing of the evidence, or what is likely to be the evidence, beyond what is generally available on the Internet. With that said, here are some of the things I'll be looking at as events unfold in the Dover case.

The Overall Strategy

Cases tend not to make it to the United States Supreme Court by accident. When constitutional issues are at play, smart litigants choose their battles wisely. Is this the case, with the issues and the facts, which we want to groom for a decision by the United States Supreme Court? Most often the answer is no. Each side, hoping to establish a new constitutional principle or affirm an existing principle, decides to live to fight another day.

This, I strongly suspect, is why the Discovery Institute has done what it can to discourage the Dover School Board. The DI leaders know that the Dover policy is not the result of a carefully planned and coordinated effort; rather, it is the end product of a campaign by handful of determined but misguided zealots to interject Christian religion into the science classroom. While this is the object of ID generally, the DI strongly prefers that attempts to implement ID be disassociated from Christianity - the "hide the ball" strategy must be part of the implementation. Because the folks in Dover have tipped their hand on the ties between ID and religion, the DI must distance itself, to the extent it is able, from the Dover creationists. On a deeper level, I also think that those in charge at the DI recognize that the Wedge Strategy is not yet sufficiently developed (leaving aside, of course, the issue of whether it can be sufficiently developed) to test ID in the courts.

The DI's protests notwithstanding, the Dover School Board has decided to go cliff diving, or at least the School Board wants the world to think so. It may be that this is part of a larger strategy to get ID to the educational front burner nationwide, but that there is no real intent on the part of the School Board or its handlers to push this case all the way to the Supreme Court. Having gained a great deal of national attention, the School Board may choose to back down and play the religious persecution card. The School Board creationists can then claim to have "fought the good fight" as "soldiers for Christ," encouraging their fellow travelers to do the same.

Americans United and the ACLU have decided to challenge Dover in federal court. While the desire to fight is understandable, the challenge does not have to come right here, right now. If what is happening in Dover is unconstitutional, it will be equally unconstitutional when it happens in the next Dover. There are no doubt many people who think this is the case to take on ID; on balance, I tend to agree that the facts here are probably as good as we might reasonably hope to come along. The case is not a slam-dunk, but a constitutional test case is, by its very nature, one where each sides sees a decent chance of getting the outcome it wants.

Read the additional article at the website. This will eventually end up at the feet of the Supreme Court- but it is clear that this not-too carefully disguised attempt at replacing science with creationism will be fought school board by school board. These "soldiers for Christ" will stop at nothing to assimilate every school.

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