Seeing the Forrest for the trees

Or, in this case, seeing the religion in the theory.

It was a contentious morning in Courtroom Number 2 at the federal courthouse as our team called Dr. Barbara Forrest to the stand. Dr. Forrest is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and is the author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse, which tracks the history of the intelligent design movement. (See previous post for more background.)

While our attorneys called Dr. Forrest for her expertise on the, um, evolution of ID, opposing counsel spent much of the morning objecting to her statements and her credibility as an expert witness. Judge Jones spent much of the morning overruling their objections and ultimately entered Dr. Forrest as an expert witness.

According to her testimony, she has spent eight years researching the ID movement by examining its leaders’ writings, interviews, articles, etc. Dr. Forrest also touched on “the wedge strategy,” which she described as “a tactical document in which they describe their goals and strategies.”

In reference to “the wedge,” she said, “That’s a word that ID supporters use themselves.”

In direct questioning and re-direct, attorney Eric Rothschild questioned Dr. Forrest on the various drafts of the ID textbook Of Pandas and People and earlier documents called “Creation Biology” and “Biology and Creation.” She highlighted several examples where the word “creation” or “creationism” was replaced with “design” or “intelligent design.” Using a graph that charted the word count of “creation” and “design,” Dr. Forrest noted a sharp drop in the use of “creation,” “-ism,” etc. and a sharp increase in the use of “design” after 1987, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the teaching of creationism in Edwards v. Aguillard.

Proceedings resumed this afternoon at 1:30pm.

Submitted by Andy Hoover, community education organizer, ACLU of Pennsylvania