Arguments have come to an end in the Dover, Pa. court case that will decide whether intelligent design theory can be taught as an alternative to evolution in a ninth-grade biology class. Following the dramatic election-day ouster of all eight members of the Dover school board, who had supported intelligent design, the nation's attention turned to Judge John E. Jones III, who will decide the case. Below is an excerpt from the emotional closing argument of the plaintiff's lawyer, who insisted that intelligent design should be banned from public school classrooms because it is a religious, not a scientific, theory. Read an excerpt from the defendant's closing argument here.

ATTORNEY ERIC J. ROTHSCHILD: Michael Behe told this Court that intelligent design is not a religious proposition, but he told the readers of the New York Times the question intelligent design poses is whether science can make room for religion. He acknowledges that the more one believes in God, the more persuasive intelligent design is. The religious nature of intelligent design is also proclaimed loudly and repeatedly in the Wedge document. The other indisputable fact that marks intelligent design as a religious proposition that cannot be taught in public schools is that it argues that a supernatural actor designed and created biological life. Supernatural creation is the religious proposition that the Supreme Court said in Edwards cannot be taught in public schools.

And it's obvious why this has to be the case. When we talk about an actor outside nature with the skills to design and create and build biological life, we are talking about God. The experts that testified at this trial admit that in their view, the intelligent designer is God. The Discovery Institute's Wedge document's first paragraph bemoans the fact that the proposition that human beings are created in the image of God has been undermined by the theory of evolution. Professor Behe admitted that his argument for intelligent design was essentially the same as William Paley's, which is a classic argument for the existence of God.

Intelligent design could not come closer to naming the designer if it was spotted with the letters
G and O.

Who else could it be? Michael Behe suggests candidates like aliens or time travelers with a wink and a nod, not seriously. Intelligent design hides behind an official position that it does not name the designer, but as Dr. Minnich acknowledged this morning, all of its advocates believe that the designer is God. Intelligent design could not come closer to naming the designer if it was spotted with the letters G and O.

The case for intelligent design as a religious proposition is overwhelming. The case for it as a scientific proposition, by contrast, is nonexistent. It has been unanimously rejected by the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and every other major scientific and science education organization that has considered the issue, including, we learned this morning, the American Society of Soil Scientists.

The fact that it invokes the supernatural is, by itself, disqualifying. As William Dembski stated, unless the ground rules of science are changed to allow the supernatural, intelligent design has, quote, no chance Hades, close quote.

In this courtroom, Steve Fuller confirmed that changing the ground rules of science is intelligent design's fundamental project, and if defendants get their way, those ground rules get changed first in Dover High School.

There's a reason that science does not consider the supernatural. It has no way of measuring or testing supernatural activity. As Professor Behe testified, you can never rule out intelligent design.

Defendants' comparisons to the big bang or Newton's work make no sense, for those, as with many scientific propositions, we may have at one time attributed natural phenomena to supernatural or divine action before working out the natural explanations that fall under the heading "science."

Intelligent design is moving in the opposite direction, replacing a well-developed natural explanation for the development of biological life with a supernatural one which it has no evidence to support.

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