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The Decline of Intelligent Design

The 10th Anniversary of the Dover Decision and the Demise of Intelligent Design

Sunday, December 20, 2016 was the 10th anniversary of Judge John Jones’ decision in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, better known as the court case that finally put intelligent design (ID) creationism on trial. It began in 2004 when creationists on the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board tried to sneak intelligent design creationist material from the Discovery Institute in Seattle, WA, into the school curriculum. The science teachers rebelled, as did a number of parents who became plaintiffs in the case. It was finally brought to trial on Sept. 26, 2005, and the proceedings lasted 40 days and 40 nights before the judge received the case for his deliberation.

During the course of the trial the witnesses for intelligent design creationism were repeatedly exposed for their bad science, and the documents introduced as evidence showed the clear imprint of having been recycled from older creationist documents. The most striking tampering was the discovery of different editions of the textbook Of Pandas and People. Early drafts were full of young-earth creationism, but when a federal case struck down creationism for the final time, the authors just did a cut and paste of a few phrases here and there to remove the references to God and creationism. In one place, the plaintiffs’ legal team exposed a telltale palimpsest: the phrase “cdesignproponentsists”, where the phrase “design proponents” had been clumsily and incompletely pasted over the word “creationists”.

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UPLOADING YOUR BRAIN SPECIAL ISSUE: Uploading the Mind to a Computer Mind Uploading: An Argument for the Scientific and Technical Plausibility of Preserving Thoughts Indefinitely by Kenneth Hayworth; Uploading Your Mind Does Not Compute by Peter Kassan; Virtual Immortality: Why the Mind-Body Problem is Still a Problem by Robert Lawrence Kuhn SPECIAL SECTION: What Motivates Extremists? Once Upon a Time: Re-Thinking the Fight Against Extremists by Tina Dupuy; Dealing With Islamism: Trust, Costly Signaling and Forming Moral Teams by Peter Boghossian and James A. Lindsay; Apocalypse Soon?: How Emerging Technologies, Population Growth, and Global Warming Will Fuel Apocalyptic Terrorism in the Future by Phil Torres ARTICLES Paleoanthropology Wars: The Discovery of Homo naledi has Generated Considerable Controversy in this Scientific Discipline by Nathan H. Lents; Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor by Harriet Hall, M.D.; Massachusetts: Mass Hysteria Cover Up by Robert E. Bartholomew; Agony and Ecstasy: Were Saint Paul’s Christian Beliefs a Symptom of Epileptic Personality Disorder? by Harry White; In Defense of Anti-Science: Why the Anti-anti-science Movement Has Gone too Far by J. Howard Siegal; The Decline of Intelligent Design: The 10th Anniversary of the Dover Decision and the Demise of Intelligent Design by Donald Prothero COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Flu Shots Facts and Fallacies by Harriet Hall, M.D.;The Gadfly: How Accurate is the “Cycle of Abuse”? by Carol Tavris REVIEW “Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World” by Seth Andrews reviewed by Donald Prothero JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Man-Eating Plants: The Cannibal Tree of Madagascar by Daniel Loxton.