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Opinion: Religion and science

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

(Peoria, Ill.) Journal Star

Since the term "intelligent design" entered the lexicon, its meaning and educational merits have been extensively debated.

No one has summed up the matter better than U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, ruling this week in a landmark Pennsylvania schools case.

Judge Jones wrote that its presence in the Dover, Pa., biology curriculum "violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation," and that it is nothing less than "a religious view, a mere relabeling of creationism." ...

Predictably, some denounced Jones as an "activist judge," which is code word for liberal. Considering that the jurist is a church-going conservative appointed by President Bush, that's unlikely to stick.

Not that this will put an end to the "breathtaking inanity" the judge said characterized the policy in Pennsylvania.

The National Science Teachers Association reports that a third of its members feel pressure from students or parents to teach creationism or intelligent design. ...

The whole uproar brings to mind the words of Clarence Darrow, who in 1925 defended the teaching of evolution during the Scopes Monkey Trial: "History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history."

For now, let history note the Pennsylvania ruling and maintain that intelligent design, as a matter of personal faith, does not belong in the science classroom.

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