On Dec. 20, a federal judge prohibited a Pennsylvania school district from teaching the theory of "intelligent design" in public school biology classes, saying that the concept was just window dressing for creationism.
At issue was the October 2004 decision by the Dover (Pa.) Area School Board to require teachers to make a statement about "intelligent design" in biology classes before presenting lessons on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
Following a six-week trial, US District Judge John E. Jones delivered a stinging rebuke of the school board's decision by pointing out the "breathtaking inanity" of it and accusing several of the policy's proponents on the board of lying to conceal their true intentions of promoting religion in public schools.
It's not a stretch to envision The Eye doing cartwheels down East Bay Street when it learned of this news.
The Dover board's decision was the first in the nation that required intelligent design (ID) be taught in public schools. Jones' decision stated that this violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
"This case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources." Ouch! It gets better.
"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and time again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."
In other words and in another time, noted The Eye, these jokers would have called for the release of Barabbas.
This excerpt was The Eye's favorite: "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory."
The Eye fully expects the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and the bile-spewers at FOX News to try to get the nation lathered up into a frenzy over this ad hominem attack upon Christianity.
Jones' decision ought to make things a lot easier for state Secretary of Education Inez Tenenbaum and her battle with state Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville) and his intention to insert ID into South Carolina high school biology classes.
A couple of weeks ago, the state Education Oversight Committee, upon which Fair serves, recommended that standards currently in use to teach evolution and genetics be removed and reevaluated so as to include ID in the curriculum.
A decision on the revised standards will be made in February 2006, but it appears that for the time being it's all over but for the shoutin'.
Or at least until some half-wit religious wingnut state legislator decides to try to amend the South Carolina Constitution so as to require ID in the state's public schools.
Don't laugh, it could happen.
As for Sen. Fair, The Eye would like to point out that the eight members of the Dover Area School Board who voted for the ID Policy were all voted out of office this past November.
Watch your back, Mikey.