On October 18, 2004, the Dover Area School Board passed this addition to the science curriculum:

"Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin's Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of life will not be taught."

On November 19, this four-paragraph verbal disclaimer was published. Biology teachers would be required to read it at the beginning of the evolution unit in January:

"The state standards require students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and to eventually take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves. As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind.

The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life up to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses on the standards and preparing students to be successful on standards-based assessments."

On December 14, eleven Dover parents, the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP filed suit against the school board in Federal District Court. The suit argues that intelligent design is a religious theory and is therefore inappropriate material for the public school classroom.

Opening arguments in the case, Kitzmiller v. Dover, were made on September 26, 2005.

Closing arguments in the case were made on November 4, 2005.

On December 20, Judge John E. Jones III decided the case in favor of the plaintiffs, disallowing the intelligent design materials from the biology class.

_Related Features
  • Evolution v. Creationism Quiz
  • What is Intelligent Design?
  • Complete Intelligent Design Coverage
  • Join the Discussion
    comments powered by Disqus