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US citizens hail court ruling

Dec. 20, 2005--Scientists and nonscientists alike applauded a US district court decision ruling that a school board violated the Constitution by requiring high school science students to learn about "intelligent design," the idea that living species formed through the intervention of a supernatural designer. The decision shows that the US is committed to a strong science curriculum, which will help the US stay competitive in science and technology, experts say. According to others, the decision reveals that intelligent design is a disguised form of religious creationism, one that is promoted by organized public-relations strategies instead of research in scientific journals.

The US District Court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ruled that the York County (Pa.) school board violated the Constitution's principle to separate government and religion by requiring a four-paragraph statement to be read to high-school science students. The statement attacked evolution, the cornerstone of modern biology, and promoted intelligent design as alternative to evolution.

Judge Jones wrote in his decision released today (http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf) " We hold that the ID Policy is unconstitutional pursuant to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Art. I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution."

The decision promotes the teaching of sound and solid science in public school classrooms. "It is great to teach real controversies in school," says Kevin Padian, an evolutionary biologist and paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "But 'intelligent design' is a false controversy, manufactured by its proponents. Its only 'design' is to confuse students about scientific evidence and methods. It has no standing at all in the scientific community, and the judge recognized this."

According
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Contact: Martha Heil
mheil@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics
20-Dec-2005


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