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:
- The Dover School Board acted for religious reasons; and
- 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.