Fallout from Dover: Effect on Science Standards Adoption and Academic Freedom Laws

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Marshall Ballroom West (Marriott Wardman Park)
Eugenie C. Scott,National Center for Science Education, Berkeley, CA
If the judge in Kitzmiller had ruled that intelligent design (ID) was legal to teach, very little would change in the science community – ID repeatedly has been shown to lack scientific merit. But the politicization of science education and science would have increased exponentially. The adoption by states of the national science education standards already had been lagging, largely as a result of the strong inclusion of evolution and climate change; this delay would have been greatly exacerbated, and many state departments of education would have been under even more pressure to reduce the coverage of evolution and even to include ID in their states’ standards. The spate of Academic Freedom and other antievolution laws dating from the early 2000s would similarly have been augmented by a positive decision for ID in Kitzmiller, and local ID policies would have burgeoned. The efforts of pro-ID organizations in these efforts, largely held at bay through the legal failure of ID, would likely have been more successful. We owe much to the efforts of the Kitzmiller legal team, and to a fair-minded judge who listened carefully to both sides and concluded that ID was another chapter in the long history of creationist efforts against the teaching of evolution, and unconstitutional to teach.