Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ID (the other kind)

PBS Nova last night aired Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.
NOVA captures the turmoil that tore apart the community of Dover, Pennsylvania in one of the latest battles over teaching evolution in public schools. Featuring trial reenactments based on court transcripts and interviews with key participants, including expert scientists and Dover parents, teachers, and town officials, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" follows the celebrated federal case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District.

For me the highlite was how the school board had their petard hoisted by the hasty cut & paste job performed on the ID text book 'Of Pandas & People', in which occurrences of 'creationism' were hastily replaced throughout the book with 'Intelligent Design' and occurrences of 'creator' with 'intelligent agency'. Perhaps the switcheroo might have worked to convince readers that the book was more than merely creationism relabelled, except that in one occurence the proofreader screwed up and "cdesign proponentsists' slipped through. I find it wonderfully ironic that the type of copying error on which gene-based evolution often works contributed to the Dover plaintiffs winning their case against ID.

Intelligent Design reminds me of Voltaire's quip describing the Holy Roman Empire, namely that it was 'neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire'.

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