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Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (2005)
In 2004, Dover Area School District (Dover) (defendant) instituted a policy that required teachers to read ninth-grade biology students a disclaimer that stated that there were shortcomings with the theory of evolution’s explanation of the origin of human life and that the intelligent-design (ID) theory was an alternative scientific explanation. The disclaimer also directed to the students to a book on ID for more information. According to experts and proponents of ID, ID was a religious argument that suggested that, because the natural world contains complex design, the natural world must have had an intelligent designer, which people familiar with Western culture would understand to be the Christian God. Parents of Dover students (the parents) (plaintiffs) filed suit against Dover, alleging that Dover’s policy violated the Establishment Clause. The parents’ expert witnesses testified that ID was a religious rather than a scientific argument that was based on the principles of the doctrine of creationism, which the US Supreme Court had previously held to be religious and thus had prohibited from endorsement by public schools. Dover’s experts acknowledged that ID implied an intelligent designer but claimed that the official position of ID was not that the intelligent designer was necessarily God. However, no experts put forth any legitimate alternative to the common understanding that the intelligent designer was God.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)
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