First, a little background. In October of 2004, members of the Dover Board of Education in Dover, PA, voted 6-3 to endorse the following statement, "Students will be made aware of the gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of life is not taught."
By the 19th of November, they had prepared a statement to be read to students.
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves.
As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments.
While pretending that this wasn't endorsing any point of view, you'll notice they did manage to slip an endorsement of an 'intelligent design' textbook in there, mentioning 'Of Pandas and People' by name.
Then things got fun. The ACLU filed suit that December on behalf of eleven parents of Dover students. The case got national press. By the next December, Judge John E. Jones III ruled Dover's endorsement of ID as unconstitutional, finding 'we conclude that the religious nature of ID would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child'. Dover had spent $2 million it didn't have.
Good thing the smart folks of Dover voted out the nuts on the school board the month before and any dreams of an appeal died with the losses. According to MSNBC :
Voters came down hard Tuesday on school board members who backed a statement on intelligent design being read in biology class, ousting eight Republicans and replacing them with Democrats who want the concept stripped from the science curriculum.
The election unfolded amid a landmark federal trial involving the Dover public schools and the question of whether intelligent design promotes the Bible’s view of creation. Eight Dover families sued, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
Dover’s school board adopted a policy in October 2004 that requires ninth-graders to hear a prepared statement about intelligent design before learning about evolution in biology class.
Not surprisingly, rightwing mullah Pat Robertson didn't like this and warned the citizens, "I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there."
At this point, let me say that Robertson was not just being insane, he was being one hell of a stupid SOB. By saying that 'you just voted God out of your city', he blew a whole in the argument that ID isn't about religion. Dishonest ID-ers nationwide probably cursed Robertson for letting the obvious cat out of the bag. Later, in one of the most spectacular divine misses in the history of retribution, God sent a hurricane to Dover and wiped out New Orleans. Oops...
Which brings us up to date. This morning, the Lawrence Journal-World, of Lawrence, KS, reports:
Moderate Kansas State Board of Education candidates pulled off a victory Tuesday, gathering enough might to topple the board’s 6-4 conservative majority.
A victory by incumbent Janet Waugh, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Lawrence, and wins by Republican moderates in two districts previously represented by conservatives left the tables turned heading into the Nov. 7 general election.
“If we change the board around, we’ll be able to make decisions that we think are right for our students,” Lawrence school board member Craig Grant said.
Grant had worked to defeat the conservatives who attracted international attention and ridicule for the state after adopting science standards critical of evolution.
The world waits for Mullah Robertson's fatwah.