Evolution wins Pennsylvania trial -- Judge declares intelligent design is creationism in disguise.

Evolution wins Pennsylvania trial-Judge declares intelligent design is creationism in disguise A federal judge has ruled that teaching intelligent design in US public high schools is unconstitutional.

On 20 December, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Judge John Jones issued a scathing opinion in which he described a local school board's efforts to promote intelligent design as 'breathtaking inanity'.

Rather than just throwing out the policy because of the religious motivations of the school board members who instituted it, Jones went on to state that intelligent design was clearly religious and indubitably not science.

"We conclude that the religious nature of intelligent design would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child," he writes.

In his 139-page opinion, Jones reviews the history of intelligent design. He declares: "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that intelligent design is a religious view, a mere re-labelling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."

The decision will not have legal precedence for similar cases in other districts, but because of the thoroughness of the opinion, it may have what lawyers term "persuasive authority". The ruling bans the reading of the Dover statement, which was due to go ahead next month at the beginning of the ninth-grade evolution unit.

The school board that wrote the policy has since been voted out, and their replacements are unlikely to appeal.

Biologists who testified in the case were even more ecstatic. "I think it is everything we could have hoped for," says Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. "The opinion is splendid. What is very clear is that the judge worked hard, diligently followed the scientific arguments, and understood them thoroughly."

"The whole place here is saying that this is beyond our wildest dreams," says Kevin Padian, a palaeontologist and trial witness from the University of California, Berkeley, speaking from Harrisburg. "This means that as science, intelligent design is effectively dead."

Nick Matzke of the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization in California that guards the teaching of evolution in public schools, says that intelligent design, under any name, is hard to squelch. "The history of creationism is that it doesn't go extinct... it evolves," he says. "We fully expect that they will come up with a new strategy.""

Full text of Judge Jones' Opinion

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