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Transcript of Opening Arguments in Kitzmiller Case Posted

You can now read the transcript of the opening arguments in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case on Discovery Institute’s website here (the transcript is posted as an Adobe pdf document). The opening statements provide a good snapshot as to what each side is intending to show in the case. In its opening statement, the ACLU makes clear that it is essentially trying to prove two things:

  1. The Dover School Board acted for religious reasons; and
  2. Intelligent Design is part of a nefarious religious plot to pass off religion as science and therefore must be banned from science classrooms by the courts.

The school district, meanwhile, is going to try to show that the Dover School Board acted for legitimate secular reasons, and that intelligent design is a valid part of the scientific debate over evolution. Civil libertarians who normally support the ACLU should cringe over the overbroad position taken by the group in the present case. Going much further than simply trying to invalidate the Dover policy, the ACLU is attempting to use the case to shut down even voluntary classroom discussions of intelligent design. The ACLU is also trying to get the federal judge to decide by court order the very nature of science, essentially telling scientists what ideas they may or may not research and discuss as a part of legitimate scientific inquiry. Efforts to get the government to shut down free inquiry used to be called censorship. One would hope that at least someone at the ACLU is embarrassed by this effort to stop debate in science by judicial decree.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.