Traipsing Into Evolution

by David Dewolf, John West, Casey Luskin, and Jonathan Witt.
Discovery Institute Press, Seattle, Wash., 2006, ISBN 0-9638654-9-8

At the end of 2005 a trial was held in Dover, Pennsylvania, which is known as Kitzmiller v. Dover.  Atheists hold this trial up as proof that no one claiming that there is design in the creation can be a good scientist or have a scientifically credible position academically.  Atheists have tried to paint all believers in God with the same brush and have used this lawsuit as the basis of this approach.  We continue to see references to this trial in scientific and popular literature, and very little publicity has been given to the facts about the trial.  The Discovery Institute is an organization made up of scientists with advanced degrees who support the efforts of the organization to do research on designed features in the cosmos.  In the back of the book are over 80 scientists from all over the world who are listed as Amici Curiae.  This strong scientific backing has caused some vicious attacks on the Discovery Institute from the media and from leading atheists and evolutionists.

This book is an analysis of the trial from the perspective of the Discovery Institute.  On page 14 of the book there is a wonderful summary of the book and the challenges it makes to the validity of the trial which you will find helpful:

1) Kitsmiller's Partisan History of Intelligent Design.  The presiding judge in the case Judge John E. Jones purports to offer a definitive history on intelligent design as an offshoot of "creationism," but the historical narrative he presents is shallow, one sided, and suppresses many facts.

2) Kitsmiller's Unpersuasive Case Against the Scientific Status of Intelligent Design.  The centerpiece of Judge Jones's opinion is his assertion that intelligent design "is an interesting theological argument, but that is not science."  Not only does this assertion go well beyond the judge's legitimate authority, it flatly contradicts both logic and the evidence presented in the court record.

3) Kitsmiller's Failure to Treat Religion in a Neutral Manner.  Judges are required by the constitution to treat religious questions neutrally, but Judge Jones applies different standards when examining the religious implications of intelligent design and Darwinian evolution.  He even attempts to decide which theological view of evolution is correct.

4) Kitsmiller's Limited Value as a Precedent.  Judge Jones purports to answer once and for all the question of whether it is lawful to include intelligent design in public school science curricula, but in fact his opinion on this question has almost no value in establishing a precedent for other judges.

The book takes these four points and does a good job of defending them and explaining what took place in Dover that makes this court decision almost meaningless.  We have stated in this journal that intelligent design is a wonderful apologetic, but it is not a method of solving scientific problems like avian bird flu.  Those interested in this trial and in the question of intelligent design will want to read this book.  It is obvious that major errors in the court case in Kitsmiller make it pretty much useless in the evolution-creation debate.  This discussion is far from over.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec08.