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The Dover Decision

On Dec. 20, 2005, Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania handed down his ruling on the case Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., the nation’s first trial on intelligent design (ID), a belief system that holds that an intelligent designer, e.g. God, is responsible for creating the universe and all therein.

In his detailed, 139-page ruling, Judge Jones found no merits to the Dover school board’s case and ruled that its attempt to force teachers to read a statement to ninth-grade biology students (see below) would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution which is aimed at keeping church and state matters separate in all governmental (publicly run) agencies.

In finding for the plaintiffs, Jones ruled that ID is in reality creation science, a religious-based doctrine that the U.S. Supreme Court banned on constitutional grounds in 1987. Jones found that ID “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.” He went on to say: “The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism.” (page 31, court ruling) and further: “The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.” (page 43)

Below are key links to information on this ruling: