We won!

Judge John E. Jones, III, has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District.

Hmm, where to start?

Maybe with the place where Judge Jones concludes that Dover’s “ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause” and that

“to preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”

Or…with his statement that intelligent design is not science “and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

Or, perhaps, with the stinging statement that

“the citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”

Or, we can just suggest you read the whole 139 pages yourself. Here you go… Enjoy.

Press Coverage:
AP Stories: “Judge Bars ‘Intelligent Design’ From Pa. Classes”
“Decision in Pa. case makes Kansas standards vulnerable, some say”

York Daily Record: “Judge rules against Dover school board”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Federal judge: Intelligent design unconstitutional”

New York Times: “Judge Bars ‘Intelligent Design’ From Pa. Classes”

American Institute of Physics Press Release: “Scientists, Teachers, Clergy Hail Court Ruling”

NPR: “‘Intelligent Design’ Barred from Dover, Pa. Schools”
“Teaching Evolution: A State-by-State Debate”

Panda’s Thumb Blog: “What the Dover Case Says”

Amy Laura in the Philadelphia Office

73 thoughts on “We won!

  1. thank you for all your hard work. Keep it up!
    (even if you do defend Rush and his ilk)

    We are all better served by your efforts at fairness and logicial application of the constitution.

    Are perjury charges going to be handed out? the judge flat out said the defendents lied to cover up their motives…

  2. Hey Knotheads,
    U will acknowledge your creator someday — like it or Knot!
    Your willful ignorance is only exceeded by your incumbent blindness.
    A – association of
    C – criminally
    L – liberal
    U – usurpers

  3. Hard to read all that legales stuff, but you can skip to the end and read the conclusion which sums it up quite well here:

    “Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”


  4. This is a wonderful decision – not only does he identify ID as religion, but he takes apart every argument to the contrary. I was close to tears of joy to see an objective observer with some clout using careful reasoning to finally put ID in its place.

  5. I am so grateful for the work of the ACLU. At a time when various levels of government shows disdain for our civil liberties we need you more than ever. This is a great victory for our democracy. Thank you!

  6. I find it interesting that the Discovery Institute has not yet acknowledged the ruling on their website. Looking for a face-saving spin?

  7. What about the fact that DNA is now proving we do NOT come from apes and that we come from one man and one woman. I will say out of fairness that ID puts God in the equation but when are we going to stop making the absurd proposition that we come from apes. Your efforts to separate Christianity and state is not a separation of church and state but a advocacy of atheism and state.

    The founding fathers were promoting freedom and not oppression. I am continually perplexed when one person out of a crowd of say 200 doesnt want to hear a prayer so he’s the one that gets his way. What about the 199 that don’t want to practice Atheism!

    John 3:19-21
    This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

  8. Woohoo! Thank you ACLU!

    (“U”? “like it or Knot”? “incumbent blindness”? Mr. or Ms. Troll, you’re not helping your case any, honestly.)

  9. To “anonymous” who doesn’t like the ACLU and that we will “someday acknowledge your creator”, try reading this paragraph from Judge Jones’ opinion. It says it all:

    Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock
    assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory
    is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in
    general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the
    theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the
    scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the
    existence of a divine creator.

  10. Once again, thank you ACLU, and job well done! Thank you for protecting the constitution and our children.

  11. “What about the fact that DNA is now proving we do NOT come from apes and that we come from one man and one woman. “

    got a link to that as of yet unverified comment?

  12. Congratulations to the ACLU. You guys did an outstanding job with this case, as is documented in the trial transcripts. I have followed this case closely, especially as I have a deep interest in evolutionary theory and its philosophical implications (I am a college philosophy professor).

    I have just read through much of the descision and am thoroughly impressed with the detailed reasoning exhibited therein. I think Judge Jones (and his clerks) not only clearly recognized the motivations of the defendents, but really took the time to absorb and comprehend the scientific background. I think it is interesting that the ruling leads with the dismantling of ID as science and builds from there. All in all, I cannot imagine a stronger ruling.

  13. To “gregory”, exactly what “DNA evidence” is that?

    Once again and for the record, humans did not evolve from apes. Humans and modern apes both descended from a common ancestor, now extinct. In the case of humans and chimpanzees, that common ancestor lived about 4-7 million years ago.

    This has long been shown by the fossil evidence, and it has recently been confirmed by the DNA evidence; humans and chimps share between 95-98% of their DNA.

  14. It is true that man did not evolve from apes. Apes and man both evolved from a common ancestor.
    Science and DNA are also proving that not only did man not evolve from apes- we are apes.

  15. This is not a time to gloat, but a time to be thankful for a well-reasoned result and an exceptional effort by the ACLU.

    What we need to remind those who do not agree with the decision is that the decision protects all of us from the federal government’s advancement of any one religion over others. This decision has preserved the freedom of all of us to believe what we want to believe instead of what the government tells us to believe. Perhaps the Christians who are offended by the ruling might be comforted in knowing that if instead of ID, the issue was Muslim-creationism, the outcome would have been the same.

    God bless America.

  16. Oh, Happy, Happy Day!

    I haven’t read the opinion yet, but from the posts it sounds like we won on both the purpose prong and the effect prong of the Lemon test. That’s huge!

    Congratulations to the ACLU, the NCSE, all of our expert witnesses (who received only expenses for their incredible investments of time and energy), and most especially to the team from Pepper Hamilton, who did an absolutely superlative job.

    John K.

  17. Hey Gregory,

    I’m guessing your tune will change awfully quickly when one person in your crowd of prayer listeners wants to voice a satanic prayer alongside your own.

  18. It’s good to see that logic and reason still prevail in the legal system. Although, there will be many who will object to the decision, it was the only decision that could have been made, due to the very nature of the Constitution. It, also, sets a legal precedent for any similar issues which might arise in the future.

  19. Gregory said “What about the fact that DNA is now proving we do NOT come from apes and that we come from one man and one woman.”

    This evidence is provided by mitocondrial DNA, as opposed to nucleic DNA. It comes from the mother, and therefore says nothing about the father(s). SO we all come from the same woman, but no one knows how many men were involved! I like to think that our greatest grandmother was quite an active lady!

  20. Press conference is at 1:30pm today in Harrisburg. We wanted to stream it live, but alas, it proved to expensive for us. We will be posting highlights of the press conference on the blog. We may even be able to post some video after the fact.

  21. Gregory said “The founding fathers were promoting freedom and not oppression”

    Gregory, I can tell that you are serious about freedom of expression. You would probably offer a prayer even if you were the only religious person amoungst 100’s of athiests. You would be the minority, but you would be doing nothing more than Speaking Freely. Promoting freedom from oppression MEANS protecting the MINORITY from the MAJORITY.

    If you are EVER the minority, if you are EVER denied your right to speak out for your beliefs, we will be there to help you.

  22. I’m about half way through the decision now. It is some of the most fascinating reading I’ve ever encountered.

    The judge is clear, thorough, and is obviously covering every possible angle that someone could object to.

    The history of fundamentalism and the the various attempts fundamentalists have tried throughout the last 100 years is amazing.

    The section I’m on now is pointing all of the defendants testimony that gave the judge plenty of basis for his ruling against them.

    I know there will be other fights, but for right now, I’m actually happy. Reason and science won, and it was handled in a way that does not demean Christianity.

    ID, however, is going to need to regroup yet again for their next attempt.

  23. Oh, duh. That’s what I meant — 1:30 (it’s 10:30 for me, and I forgot to reconvert back to Harrisburg time).

  24. Sure we are all coming from one man and one woman, and they come from other ancestors that we share with the apes and monkeys.

    Yes, a good win, without promoting anything else than good science!

  25. This is some seriously great news.

    I mean, really. Intelligent design? Just look at human biology. All life needs heat to survive. What do we have to provide this heat? Warm blankets? Fleece-lined vests? No. A giant ball of fire. That just can’t be safe. 🙂

  26. Start reading at page 64 of the ruling, it gets really good. I would that I could write in that way about other scientists work in peer-reviewed journals…… :dreaming

  27. “Anonymous said…
    It is true that man did not evolve from apes. Apes and man both evolved from a common ancestor.
    Science and DNA are also proving that not only did man not evolve from apes- we are apes.

    12:21 PM “

    and what a good looking specimen of an ape i am, if I do say so myself!

  28. I just want to thank the guys in the ACLU, and all the people who helped them, to do such an astoundly good job. I’ve now read the entire opinion, and the facts you presented were simply overwhelming.

    Excellent Job guys!

  29. 100% loss and yet they argue on…will it never end?

    Great super-duper job!

    GOD must be smiling!

  30. I’m very happy about the decision, but I feel sorry for the students, having had their school money frittered away on this pernicious nonsense.

    I’m hoping that the school board members who brought this about are both sued for perjury and for misuse of taxpayer money. After all, if you can be sued for using school funds to pimp out your crib, you should certainly be able to be sued for using them to pimp out your pet religious heresy.

    As for the “apes” business, humans are apes the same way that humans are primates, mammals and animals. Our closest relatives, both from morphology and dna, are the bonobos, another member of the “great apes.”

  31. I was moved to tears (of joy) this morning when I heard the news on the freeway.

    Go Judge Jones!! It is so wonderfully reassuring to see an intelligent, educated jurist listen to all sides of the argument and make a reasoned, bold decision without letting ideology get in the way. And a Republican judge, no less! You are my hero.

    Great job, ACLU and Pepper Hamilton. You marshalled a team of the best scientists currently working, did incredibly thorough research and argued and cross-examined eloquently. Our entire country owes you a debt of gratitude. 🙂

  32. You guys rock.

    As does the judge, who ruled in favor of reason and civil rights.

    Hmm… maybe we could swap this guy in for ScAlito?

  33. Congratulations also to the plaintiffs and their families. To stand up for their rights and their beliefs in the face of undeserved opprobrium and ostracism took real courage. They deserve our thanks and congratulations.

  34. There is no way to get through to the far right wing fundies, desperately trying to shove their religion down everybody’s throat. They are just as twisted as the left wing extremists who want to legalize pedophilia. All are egomaniacs driven by their own selfish agendas. This case will always be viewed by the fundies as a strike against their god when the case had nothing to do with the belief in god or the practice of religion. Their ignorance is stated with such bliss…”U will acknowledge your creator someday”, or “your efforts are…an advocacy of atheism and state”. And yes Gregory, I’m so happy you’ve discovered mitochondrial DNA…where have YOU been? Today’s science is already gathering dust…pay attention. OUR distant mother-ancestor may be the same, but I am certain she needed a good shave.

  35. Well folks,

    Lets look at it this way. Your doing a good job oppressing the rights of the beleivers of God while they are in school. Your doing a good job getting God out of the public schools.

    Whats the result. Your ignorance blows me away while the atmosphere and moral in schools are going so far downhill and you all sit there with a dumb look on your face, saying “whats going wrong? Why are kids comming to school with guns” Hey anonymous (5:15 PM, at least put your first name up there) your right everyone wants their own agenda. Thats why you all forced another opinion out and left yours in place. Well theres some open mindedness, NOT

    Im personally angry that I grew up being taught that we evolved from the same root as apes when this is only a THEORY with gaping holes. I would have appreciated another view point.

    Somebody help me out. The ACLU is comming across and an anti christian organizatioin. Is this not the case.

    Regarding the comments about opposing view points and stanic prayers. No my view point would not change. Thats what freedom of religion means. My God is large enough not to be imtimidated by a satanic prayer.

    It is written in the Bible that God will confound the wise. There will come a day when we all know the answers. We all feel as though we have the corner on truth. Freedom means all view points are represented. If you want my view point out then take out your absurd unproved theory about an ancestory linked to apes. Wheres my rights for my children to not have to hear a weak theory that flies in the face of our beloved creator.

    Do you not hear yourselves “Liberty, Freedom” but only if our view point is the only one heard.

  36. Well gregory,

    The mere fact that you refer to evolution as a “THEORY” with gaping holes tells us all we need to know about the quality and depth of your science education. All well established and accepted explanations of the physical world are elevated to the level of theory. Let’s consider the Theory of Relativity or Quantum Theory or the Theory of Plate Tectonics or Newton’s Theories. Being a theory in science is a good thing, not bad.

    You probably wanted to say that evolution is a hypothesis. Unfortunatley there is way too much evidence supporting it to be a hypothesis, thus it is now a theory.

    Here’s an example: I have a hypothesis that you are an idiot. This is based on a limited number of observations. As you continue to post, however, the evidence will continue to pile up until a consensus of those reading these comments will promote my hypothesis to the Gregory Idiot Theory (GIT).

  37. My God is large enough not to be imtimidated by a satanic prayer.

    In that case, he’s large enough that he can hear you just fine without you insisting that everyone shouts at him, wouldn’t you say?

  38. Congratulations to ACLU-PA. Pennsylvania seems to produce its share of separation of church and state issues, e.g., Schempp, Lemon, and now Kitzmiller. Every one in ACLU deserves much credit for handling this case so very well.

    Ellery Schempp
    Abington vs. Schempp, Supreme Court, 1963

  39. Alright anonymous (oh come on, at least give me a first name so I know Im speaking to the same “anonymous”), please compare and contrast Fact vs Theory. I am already aware of the scientific process of taking a idea from hypothosis to theory.

    Fact vs Theory

    Im sure your well versed in all the scientific terms and you could run circles around me with your knowledge of such.

    Let me change the tone and ask you to explain your position.

    but first

    Fact vs Theory ??

  40. Well anonymous, I believe your Gregory Idiot hypothesis is being upgraded to a theory as far as I am concerned. Why is it that Christians believe that their view is one side and EVERYTHING else is the other side? It blows my mind how arrogant they are to just disregard all the other religious beliefs that people hold. Your right to teach your children the religion of your choice is still yours. When will the religion of my choice be mine? We just want the public schools neutral. If you want a CHRISTIAN education, go to a christian school. The public schools belong to the public! and believe it or not we are not all christian. Tell me would we be having this conversation if Wiccans wanted their beliefs taught in the schools as “the other side” of evolution or how about Hindus. Oh I forgot they don’t exist. Only Jewish, Christian, and Muslim believers count when you ask what does the American public agree or disagree with. Thanks ACLU for standing up for the rights of ALL of us.

  41. You didn’t answer my question and you are still hiding behind “anonymous”. Please use a first name.

    Has science proved a direct link from modern humans to Neanderthal or Homo Erectus.

    Am I not right, there is a missing link, right.

    Correct me if Im wrong.

    Do you want to discuss this or just try to insult me?

  42. Oh, my mistake different anonymous

    question for both anonymous’

    who’s being dogmatic here?

  43. From Gregory – “Has science proved a direct link from modern humans to Neanderthal or Homo Erectus.
    Am I not right, there is a missing link, right.
    Correct me if Im wrong.”

    Abscence of proof is NOT proof of abscence.

    By the way – as far as I am aware the inclusion of Homo Neanderthalis in a direct line of descent would be invalid, the opinion seems to be that they are a related hominid which failed to survive.

  44. gregory…don’t you have your own web site somewhere…or some souls to save? Just eat it, you guys lost big time, suck it up and go away…maybe burrow under a rock until your mid evolves a few thousand years?

  45. Greg, we really don’t give a shit. We’ve heard it, read it, listened to it at trial and still think it’s a crock of crap.

  46. Sheikh,

    Thank you, I will check that out.

    For the record and probably to everyone’s surprise my science of choice was geology.

    But that works considering my last statement.

    Again, Sheikh, thank you for your respect and sincerity.

  47. To Gregory
    My mother always taught me that politeness costs nothing, also that when used in a dialogue it preserves the dignity of both sides.

    I am quite happy for us to continue this discussion, and if you really don’t have any problems with my calling on more expert help, I will happily provide you many interesting and informative web links.

  48. I think I have made my point with you anon (the anon hurling insults)

    Good luck in life, good bye

  49. I thank you all for evaluating the evidence presented and then honoring me by promoting the Gregory Idiot Hypothesis to the Gregory Idiot Theory (GIT). This is how good science should be undertaken.

    I now will begin formulating some predictions to examine the explanatory power of the new theorem:

    1) gregory will often respond to posts with short one sentence answers.

    2) gregory will repeat the argument that those supporting evolution are anti-christian.

    3) gregory will quote Bible verses as support for a scientific viewpoint.

    4) gregory will bastardize actual scientific findings in an attempt to make evolution science look bad.

    I await the first test results most eagerly.

  50. Obviously there is the link I provided earlier, in addition, the other talk origins faqs cover many other diverse subjects “including but not limited to” (sorry couldn’t resist that reference) – isochron dating, magnetic field decay, etc. All in all a good resource, with links out to reference material – have fun with it, I started reading various of the faqs some time ago and have not caught up yet….

    As an another alternative you could join the bulletin board of Phil Plait (www.badastronomy.com) 95% of this IS dedicated to modern astronomy, cosmology, etc, however there is a more general section where discussion of other subjects is open (advance warning – the bad astronomers site is open to youths, etc, Phil will NOT tolerate bad language, ad-hominem arguments, or other insulting behaviour at all).

    I shall leave to your investigations for the time, I can probably be reached here in the future (on and off) or on other sites – look for either Sheikh Mahandi, or Chief Engineer Scott (they are the ID’s I normally try to get)


  51. Gregory,

    I will apologize for insulting you instead of just stating my point. I am “so inflamed by Christianity” because it is the only religion that continually tries to push it’s beliefs on others and shows NO respect for others beliefs. I don’t understand why you don’t see that your religion is just your opinion. You CHOOSE to believe it. You are entitled to that, but so am I. Why can’t you practice what you believe without involving everyone else? Just because you believe it doesn’t make it fact, or the only belief that can be practiced fully and wholeheartedly. Just as you don’t appreciate being called an idiot, others don’t appreciate being told that their belief system is invalid because Christians say it is. That is a very arrogant position and disrespectful. Also quoting the bible to people who don’t believe in it is pointless and gives the impression that you would never RESPECT any other opinion or belief. Be the best Christian you can, be a good person and respect my God given right to choose who to believe in or if to believe at all. I thought that was what freedom of religion was really all about.

    By the way, you have to sign as anonymous if you don’t have an account. Different people same name, sorry for the confusion.


  52. Gregory,

    Sure, here, you can have a name to respond to: Kevin.

    With Fact vs. Theory…

    Facts are things like “citrine and amethyst are both types of quartz, a mineral composed of silicon dioxide.”

    Theories are logical and proven explanations for sets of facts. For example:

    Theory of Relativity
    Theory of Gravity
    Evolutionary Theory

    There are other sorts of theories, from the arts and social sciences, such as literary theory and psychological theory, but these are not scientific theories.

    Theories are explanations for facts, and when these explanations are proven out by observation, they become facts themselves. Long ago, jewelers likely theorized that citrine and amethyst were both types of quartz, due to the observable phenomenae of them having the same hardness, the same crystalline structure, and some crystals even being colored gemstone at one end and clear crystal at the other.

    Of course, I can talk about the composition of gemstones all day, but this may upset some modern Maenads whose ancient (and long believed) texts say that drinking from an amethyst goblet prevents drunkeness, related to their belief that amethyst was once a maiden named Amethyst who the goddess Diana turned into crystal to keep Dionysus’s tigers from chowing down on her, who was later dyed purple by tears of grape juice cried by a remorseful hung-over demigod.

    Now, it’s perfectly good creation mythology to say that gods can create women out of men’s ribs, turn them into crystal, then dye them purple with grape juice, but it’s completely nuts in terms of science. Amethyst is silicon dioxide with other mineral impurities which make it purple.

    Now, we can propose the theory of Drunken Design, which doesn’t declare Who (or even What) created amethyst, but we can propose that minerals come about from the spontaneous petrification of animal remains dyed with plant extracts, then declare that this is scientific because scientists agree that this is sort of what happens with amber and opal, and then get school board members drunk enough that they agree that this should be taught in schools.

    We can also fill our amethyst chalices with merlot, pour a few of these down our throats, and declare ourselves not over the legal limit. Thankfully, the blood alcohol test is impartial, and does not have to agree with Maenad theology, no matter how many wild drunk women disagree.

  53. Different anonymous here – you can call me Keith.

    Congratulations again (almost extraneously) to the Dover parents and the ACLU of Pennsylvania on a classy win.

    Gregory – have you considered why your belief structures are not threatened by other scientific theories – such as plate tectonics, general relativity, thermodynamics, quantum dynamics, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics and the microbial theory of disease, for example, but only by the theory of evolution by natural selection?

    For example, you used computer systems to post to this blog, knowing that without quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics and other theories of physics (and electronics) these machines would never have been invented in the first place. I could offer many other examples of machines created because of scientific discoveries that you use unquestioningly.

    These other theories are supported by exactly the same general type and quantity of physical evidence as evolution, and none of them are mentioned in the Bible (at least I can’t find them when I read it). Yet, evolution gets the ire of many (although not all) fundamentalists in a way that the other theories cannot even come close to. I wonder why?

  54. Thank you ACLU. Thank you to Pepper Hamilton and the other fine lawyers who presented a magnificent case. Thank you to Judge Jones for getting it right. Most importantly thank you to the Kitzmillers and all the other fine citizens who stood up for rationality and reason.

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