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The Day a Judge Tried to Kill Intelligent Design

John G. West

Ten years ago today, an activist federal judge in Pennsylvania tried to kill intelligent design by court order. In Kitzmiller v. Dover, Judge John Jones declared that teaching about intelligent design was unconstitutional because intelligent design was religion rather than science.

The months following the Dover ruling were extremely difficult for those of us at Discovery Institute. Even though we had opposed the Dover school district policy, we were the ones who bore the brunt of the impact of Judge Jones’s decision. The ruling unleashed a wave of persecution against scientists friendly to intelligent design.

It was during the bleak months following Dover that I made one of the biggest decisions of my professional life. Rather than cut and run, I decided to risk everything. Convinced of the critical importance of the intelligent design debate, I gave up my tenured position as a university professor to devote my full energies to Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, which I had co-founded with Stephen Meyer in 1996.

When an atheist professor discovered I had left my university post, he started harassing me, gleefully informing me I would soon be out of a job because the Dover decision would destroy both Discovery Institute and intelligent design. That atheist professor had not counted on courageous people like the readers of Evolution News.

Because of support from independent-minded thinkers like you, intelligent design did not die after Dover, and neither did Discovery Institute. Instead, we produced a slew of new books advancing the argument, including Signature in the Cell, The Edge of Evolution, The Nature of Nature, and the New York Times bestseller Darwin’s Doubt. More than a million people learned about intelligent design through the documentary Expelled featuring Ben Stein. The ENCODE project exploded the myth of “junk DNA,” fulfilling early predictions made by intelligent design theorists. Bestselling authors Dean Koontz and Stephen King spoke publicly about the evidence for intelligent design. Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel issued a withering critique of Darwinian materialism and expressed his gratitude to “defenders of intelligent design.” Earlier this year, famed writer Tom Wolfe even compared the unjust persecution inflicted on intelligent design proponents to the Spanish Inquisition.

Ten years ago, Judge Jones and the activists behind him tried to use government power and censorship to kill intelligent design. Thanks to you, they failed.

But the battle is not over, not by a long shot.

Scientists who support intelligent design continue to face vicious persecution. Reporters who write about intelligent design continue to misreport it. And Darwin-only activists continue to use intimidation to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

Unlike Darwinists, we in the intelligent design movement don’t depend on tax dollars, judicial decrees, or bullying. We do depend on voluntary help from people like you. As we progress toward the 20th Anniversary of the Center for Science & Culture next year, we are preparing a stream of new books, scientific research, documentaries, and more to push the debate forward. But we can’t bring these things to completion without your support.

Will you take a stand against censors like Judge Jones and help us continue and expand the debate over intelligent design in 2016?

If you’ve helped us in the past, can you do it again right now? And if you’ve never donated to our work, isn’t it time to join us?

DONATE now to support the work of intelligent design in 2016.

Image: Judge John E. Jones III, by United States federal government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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.



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