Dover – It Was All About the Book
|January 29, 2006||Posted by Dave S. under Courts, Intelligent Design, Laws, Legal|
This article lays it out and backs it up with quotes from the opposition.
The case stemmed from a school district’s requirement that teachers read a statement in biology class about gaps in evolutionary theory and point students to the pro-intelligent design text, “Of Pandas and People.”
The book’s history, uncovered by members of the Oakland center, proved critical to the outcome of the case. While combing through the center’s archives, staff member Nicholas Matzke noticed a 1987 advertisement for “Of Pandas and People” that referred to the upcoming book as a creation and evolution text.
So lawyers subpoenaed early drafts of the book. The first version was called “Creation Biology,” and drafts up until 1987 were full of references to creationism. But the wording changed after the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 struck down a Louisiana law banning the teaching of evolution. References to creationism in the Pandas drafts after 1987 had been almost entirely replaced by intelligent design.
“Once we figured that out, it was really a slam dunk,” Matzke said. “How much clearer could the evidence be?”
“It was the single most powerful piece of evidence that we had in the case,” said plaintiff lawyer Stephen Harvey.
Distasteful as it is, I have to agree with Harvey and Matzke. The history of Of Pandas and People was the only formidable obstacle in a winning defense. Judge Johnson’s ruling was 139 double spaced pages. Just for a lark, and since it was easy to do with Adobe Acrobat, I searched for the word Pandas and found it was used 74 times in the ruling. That’s more than once per single spaced page. Clearly what was on trial wasn’t the school board. Clearly what was on trial wasn’t the 60-second statement read to the biology class that students could opt out of hearing. Clearly what was on trial was the book Of Pandas and People.