Education ForumScience Education

Defeating Creationism in the Courtroom, But Not in the Classroom

Science  28 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6016, pp. 404-405
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198902

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Summary

Just over 5 years ago, the scientific community turned its attention to a courtroom in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Eleven parents sued their Dover, Pennsylvania, school board to overturn a policy explicitly legitimizing intelligent design creationism. The case, Kitzmiller v. Dover, followed a familiar script: Local citizens wanted their religious values validated by the science curriculum; prominent academics testified to the scientific consensus on evolution; and creationists lost decisively. Intelligent design was not science, held the court, but rather an effort to advance a religious view via public schools, a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause (1). Many scientists cheered the decision, agreeing with the court that the school board displayed “breathtaking inanity” [p. 765 (1)]. We suggest that the cheering was premature and the victory incomplete.