A New Resource for Educators: Discovery Institute’s “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet for Educators”

As part of our response to the PBS-NOVA documentary “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design,” Discovery Institute recently released “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet for Educators” (available free for download, here). The packet contains numerous resources for educators trying to effectively teach about biological origins in public schools. These resources include: An introductory letter helping teachers to understand the debate and to avoid the pitfalls in the PBS-NOVA’s educational resources; An FAQ answering common questions about evolution and intelligent design, discussing definitions and evidence for both theories. The truth about the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. A summary of the law regarding teaching evolution in public schools. A list of authorities that support teaching the controversy over evolution. A detailed Read More ›

Judge Jones Admits the Activist Nature of Kitzmiller Ruling on Lehrer Newshour

Federal judges don’t ordinarily travel around the country speaking about their judicial rulings, but Judge Jones is no ordinary federal judge. While promoting the PBS-NOVA special on intelligent design, he recently appeared the Lehrer Newshour, where he made striking admissions that demonstrate the activist nature of the Kitzmiller ruling. Two hallmarks of judicial activism are (1) the tendency to resolve questions outside the scope of the judiciary, which are best left to other branches of government,1 and (2) the intent to make policy and influence parties outside of the case.2 Judge Jones’ own admissions on the Lehrer Newshour demonstrate that both of these criticisms correctly apply to his Kitzmiller ruling. Judge Jones’ Expansive Intrusion into Legislative Questions First, Judge Jones Read More ›

Design of Life

Nearly 20 years ago, a small non-profit in Texas, The Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), published a short supplemental textbook called Of Pandas and People (Pandas). This event did not go unnoticed. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) soon thereafter published numerous reviews condemning Pandas as a “creationist … ‘equal time’ tract” that presented “a pot pourri of half-truths, untruths, and nonsense.” Law review articles were published hoping to prove Pandas unconstitutional. In 2005, a federal judge banned Pandas outright from science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania — but only after denying FTE the right to appear before the court to defend the book. Most troubling, the judge largely ignored the published text of Pandas, instead scrutinizing long-forgotten pre-publication Read More ›

Rebuttal to Paul Gross’ Review of The Edge of Evolution – Error #4: Misrepresenting the State of Thinking in Cosmology

[This four part series responding to Paul Gross can be seen in: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.] In his review of Michael Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution, Paul Gross wrongly claims that cosmic fine-tuning is rejected by mainstream physicists. Gross writes that “as proof of intelligent design [Behe] now hitches it to the strong anthropic principle: a universe fine-tuned for human life, and not by accident. … mainstream … cosmology remain[s] unimpressed.” First, cosmic design is a minimal component of Behe’s book, which primarily focuses on biological design. Second, there are a variety of respected physicists who believe that cosmic find-tuning is a valid inference from the data. Indeed, Gross seems to have forgotten that numerous Read More ›

Paula Apsell’s Lessons Not Learned from the History of Science

Paula Apsell was the executive producer of PBS/NOVA’s “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design” documentary, which tries to inaccurately paint ID as a creationist idea that has been refuted by science. But in fact, a few years ago Ms. Apsell produced a different NOVA documentary entitled “Mystery of the Megaflood.” For a geologist like me, it’s a fascinating tale about how mainstream geologists took decades to accept the view that a giant post-glacial flood was responsible for much of the bizarre geological features found in eastern Washington. According to Apsell’s “Megaflood” documentary, a geologist in the early 1900s named J. Harlen Bretz proposed a catastrophic local flood theory to explain this geology. Bretz was ridiculed by his contemporary geologists because his ideas Read More ›