Tammy Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

United States District Court for the Middle District of
December 20, 2005

Citations 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005)  

Holding Teaching intelligent design in public school
biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the
First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
(and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State
Constitution) because intelligent design is not science
and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus
religious, antecedents."

Judge John E. Jones III (appointed in 2002 by George W. Bush)

Laws applied U.S. Const. Amend. 1; Penn. Const. Art. I, § 3

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case
No. 04cv2688, was the first direct challenge brought in the United
States federal courts against a public school district that required
the presentation of "Intelligent Design" as an alternative to
evolution as an "explanation of the origin of life." The plaintiffs
successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of
creationism, and that the school board policy thus violated the
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution. The judge's decision has sparked
considerable response from both supporters and critics.

Eleven parents of students in Dover, Pennsylvania, near York,
sued the Dover Area School District over a statement that the
school board required be read aloud in ninth-grade science
classes when evolution was taught. The plaintiffs were
represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),
Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and
Pepper Hamilton LLP. The National Center for Science Education
(NCSE) acted as consultants for the plaintiffs. The defendants
were represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC). The
Foundation for Thought and Ethics, publisher of a textbook
advocating intelligent design titled Of Pandas and People, tried
to join the lawsuit as a defendant but was denied.[1]

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief. Since it sought
an equitable remedy there was no right to a jury trial; the
Seventh Amendment did not apply. It was tried in a bench trial
from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005 before Judge
John E. Jones III. On December 20, 2005 Judge Jones issued his
139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover
mandate was unconstitutional, and barring intelligent design from
being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school
science classrooms. The eight Dover school board members who
voted for the intelligent design requirement were all defeated in a
November 8, 2005 election by challengers who opposed the
teaching of intelligent design in a science class, and the current
school board president stated that the board does not intend to
appeal the ruling.[2]

Certain members of the Dover Board of Education
expressed concern about the teaching of evolution. In the
summer of 2004,
they were given legal advice by the Discovery
Institute, and around July, they accepted an offer by the Thomas
More Law Center to represent them. On October 18, 2004, the
school board voted 6–3 to add the following statement to their
biology curriculum:

Students will be made aware of the gaps/problems in Darwin’s
theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited
to, intelligent design.

Note: Origins of life is not taught.

Part of the series on
Intelligent design

On November 19, 2004, the Dover Area School District issued a
press release stating that, commencing in January 2005,
teachers would be required to read the following statement to
students in the ninth-grade biology class at Dover High School:

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn
about Darwin's theory of evolution and eventually to take a
standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as
new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in
the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is
defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of

Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs
from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People
is available for students to see if they would like to explore this
view in an effort to gain an understanding of what intelligent
design actually involves.

As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an
open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life
to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven
district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to
achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments.

(page 1 of conclusions)

The three school board members who voted against it resigned
in protest, and science teachers in the district refused to read
the statement to their ninth-grade students, citing the
Pennsylvania code of education, which states that teachers
cannot present information they believe to be false. Instead, the
statement was read to students by a school administrator.

The school board claimed there are "gaps" in evolution, which it
claimed is a theory rather than established fact, and that
students have a right to consider other views on the origins of
life. The school board claimed it does not teach intelligent design
but simply makes students aware of its existence as an
alternative to evolution. It denied intelligent design is "religion in
disguise", despite being represented in court by the Thomas
More Law Center, a conservative Christian not-for-profit law
center that uses litigation to promote "the religious freedom of
Christians and time-honored family values". Its stated purpose is
"...to be the sword and shield for people of faith".

The ACLU filed suit on December 14, 2004 on behalf of eleven
parents from the Dover school district, and sought a law firm
willing to take on the case at the risk of not being paid if the case
was lost. Eric Rothschild, one of the partners of Pepper Hamilton
LLP and a member of the NCSE legal advisory council, was quick
to agree to take the case on such a pro bono basis.

The Discovery Institute's John West said the case displayed the
ACLU's "Orwellian" effort to stifle scientific discourse and
objected to the issue being decided in court. "It's a disturbing
prospect that the outcome of this lawsuit could be that the court
will try to tell scientists what is legitimate scientific inquiry and
what is not," West said. "That is a flagrant assault on free
speech." Opponents, represented by the American Association
for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of
Biology Teachers, contend that his statement is not just ironic,
but hypocritical: the Discovery Institute opposes methodological
naturalism, the basic principle that limits science to natural
phenomena and natural causes without assuming the existence
or non-existence of the supernatural, which by definition is
beyond natural explanation.

Despite its earlier involvement, the Discovery Institute was
concerned that this would be a test case and that the defendants
had earlier displayed their religious motivations. This tension led
to disagreements with the Thomas More Law Center and the
withdrawal of three Discovery Institute fellows as defense experts
prior to their depositions – William A. Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer
and John Angus Campbell. This was apparently because the
Thomas More Law Center refused to allow these witnesses to
have their own attorneys present during deposition.[3]

In May 2005, the publisher of Of Pandas and People, the
Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE), filed a motion seeking
to intervene in the case. FTE argued that a ruling that "intelligent
design" was religious would have severe financial consequences,
citing possible losses of approximately half a million dollars. By
intervening, FTE would have become a co-defendant with the
Dover Area School Board, and able to bring its own lawyers and
expert witnesses to the case. FTE's president Jon Buell implied
that if allowed to intervene, FTE would bring William A. Dembski
and Stephen C. Meyer as expert witnesses. In his decision on the
motion, Judge John E. Jones III ruled that FTE was not entitled to
intervene in the case because its motion to intervene was not
timely, describing FTE's reasons for not trying to become
involved earlier as "both unavailing and disingenuous." Judge
Jones also held that FTE failed to demonstrate that it has "a
significantly protectable interest in the litigation warranting
intervention as a party" and that its interests will not be
adequately represented by the defendants.

In the November 2005 elections, none of the members of the
Dover School Board who voted for the intelligent design policy
were re-elected, and a new school board, which rejected the
policy, took office. This effectively precluded the possibility of an
appeal to a higher court.

The plaintiffs were all parents of students enrolled in the
Dover Area School district.

Tammy Kitzmiller
Bryan Rehm
Christy Rehm
Deborah Fenimore
Joel Lieb
Steven Stough
Beth Eveland
Cynthia Sneath
Julie Smith
Aralene ("Barrie") D. Callahan
Frederick B. Callahan

Dover Area School District
Dover Area School District Board of Directors

Members who voted for the statement:

William Buckingham (resigned August 2005 due to health

Alan Bonsell
Sheila Harkins
Heather Geesey
Jane Cleaver (resigned October 4, 2004)
Angie Ziegler-Yingling (resigned December 6, 2004)
Members who voted against it:[5]
Noel Wenrich (announced his resignation October 4 2004 His
last day of service October 31, 2004. Moved out of the district)
Carol Brown (resigned October 18, 2004 in protest)
Jeff Brown (resigned October 18, 2004 in protest)

The trial began on September 26, 2005.

See Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial documents for
links to official trial documents, transcripts and other materials.

Opening statements

Eric Rothschild gave the opening arguments for the plaintiffs. He
said that the plaintiffs would be able to provide many examples of
school board members wishing to balance the teaching of
evolution with creationism. He attacked prior defense claims that
it was a minor affair by saying that there is no such thing as a
"little" constitutional violation. He also provided the definition of
creationism given by an early draft of Pandas:

Creation is the theory that various forms of life began abruptly,
with their distinctive features already intact: Fish with fins and
scales, birds with feathers and wings, mammals with fur and
mammary glands.

He compared this with what was eventually published:

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly
through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features
already intact: Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers,
beaks and wings, et cetera.

(The definitions had come up in an earlier hearing in a July 14
pre-trial hearing.)[6] He also argued that intelligent design was
not science in its infancy but rather was not science at all.

[edit] Defense
Patrick Gillen gave the opening arguments for the defense. He
started by saying that the goal of the board and its supporters
was to enhance science education. He argued that the policy
was a "modest change." He distanced the policy from alleged
statements made by then board member William Buckingham
which the plaintiffs argued showed clear religious intent: "The
board listened to the science faculty more than it listened to Bill
Buckingham." He argued that the policy did not have a "religious
agenda." Gillen mentioned that board member Alan Bonsell had
done his own reading. He said Bonsell was "aware of intelligent
design theory, and that 300 or so scientists had signed a
statement indicating that biologists were exaggerating claims for
the theory. He had read about the famous Piltdown man hoax. He
had an interest in creationism."

[edit] Witnesses

[edit] Witnesses for the plaintiffs
September 27 2005

Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor from Brown University and
noted author and commentator opposed to the intelligent design
and creationist movements, was the first witness. He testified as
an expert witness that "Intelligent design is not a testable theory
and as such is not generally accepted by the scientific
community." He said that the idea of intelligent design was not
subject to falsification, but many claims made by intelligent-
design advocates had been falsified. Asked what the harm was in
reading the statement, Miller gave a two-fold response. 1) "[I]t
falsely undermines the scientific status of evolutionary theory
and gives students a false understanding of what theory actually
means." And 2) "as a person of faith who was blessed with two
daughters, who raised both of my daughters in the church, and
had they been given an education in which they were explicitly or
implicitly forced to choose between God and science, I would
have been furious, because I want my children to keep their
religious faith."
Tammy Kitzmiller testified as a fact witness. She was the lead
plaintiff and a parent of a child in the Dover school system.
Aralene "Barrie" D. Callahan was a plaintiff, a Dover parent, and
was for ten years a board member of the Dover Area School
District. She had previously resigned over the actions of the
board in relation to this case. She testified that Alan Bonsell, a
board member, argued in a board retreat in Spring, 2003 that if
evolution were taught then creationism should also be taught:
Bryan Rehm was the last witness of the day. He was a former
physics teacher at Dover and a parent to children attending
school at the Dover Area School District. Both he and his wife
were plaintiffs and taught Vacation Bible School. Rehm testified
that Alan Bonsell, then-chairman of the board's curriculum
committee, had asked teachers to watch a video on intelligent
design titled Icons of Evolution. Teachers had expressed
concern that Bonsell did not believe in evolution and wished to
see classroom discussions of evolution balanced "fifty-fifty" with
September 28

Robert T. Pennock is a philosopher now working on the Avida
digital organism project at Michigan State University where he is
an associate professor. He is the author of many books and
articles critical of intelligent design. He testified as an expert
Julie Smith is a parent and plaintiff. She made only one point:
that the policy created a hostile atmosphere for her daughter,
Katherine. She said her daughter was harassed for her Catholic
background, being told that she is an atheist since she accepted
Christy Rehm testified as a parent and plaintiff.
Beth Eveland testified.
Frederick Callahan testified.
September 29

Carol Brown testified.
Jeffrey Brown testified.
September 30

John Haught testified.
October 5-6

Barbara Forrest testified as an expert witness for the plaintiff[7]
and also furnished the court with a written expert witness report
[8] and a supplemental report.[9] Forrest is a professor in
philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science at
Southeastern Louisiana University. She and scientist Paul R.
Gross co-authored the book Creationism's Trojan Horse: The
Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press 2004).
Prior to her testimony the TMLC filed a motion to have her
excluded as an expert witness. In that motion they characterized
her as "little more than a conspiracy theorist and a web-surfing,
'cyber-stalker' of the Discovery Institute." [10][11] Jones denied
the motion.

Forrest gave testimony on the history of the intelligent design
movement, citing writings of prominent figures (such as
Discovery Institute's "Wedge Document", Phillip Johnson's "How
the Evolution Debate Can be Won", and of William Dembski).
She also testified that ID was merely another name for the
creationism movement, attempting to present a religious
proposition as a scientific viewpoint. She stated that Johnson
"regards evolution as a threat to the Bible in its entirety and as a
threat to the moral fabric of American culture," and that one of
the goals of his movement is to unify the religious world. She
added that there is "no way to reconcile [...] at all" the Dover
school board newsletter statement that intelligent design is a
scientific theory with Paul Nelson's statements in the interview
"The Measure of Design".

Forrest noted that she was unaware of any evidence that the
members of the School board had seen the "Wedge Document"
prior to the lawsuit. During her testimony the TMLC requested
Judge Jones exclude her as an expert witness. Their request was
denied by Jones.

Several days prior to her scheduled testimony, the Discovery
Institute publicly ridiculed her on their website. [12] [13] Many of
her supporters and critics have written they believe her testimony
had a significant influence on the outcome of the trial.[citation

October 6

Jennifer Miller testified.
Bertha Spahr testified.
October 12

Brian Alters testified.
Cynthia Sneath testified.
October 14

Steven Stough testified.
Kevin Padian testified.
Joel Lieb testified.

[edit] Witnesses for the defense
October 17-19

Michael Behe was the first witness for the defense.
Main article: Michael Behe#Dover testimony
As a primary witness for the defense, Behe was asked to support
the idea that intelligent design was legitimate science. Behe's
critics have pointed to a number of key exchanges under cross
examination, where he conceded that "there are no peer
reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design
supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide
detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any
biological system occurred",[14] and that the definition of 'theory'
as he applied it to intelligent design was so loose that astrology
would qualify as a theory by definition as well.[15] His simulation
modelling of evolution with Snoke described in a 2004 paper had
been listed by the Discovery Institute amongst claimed "Peer-
Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the
Theory of Intelligent Design",[16] but under oath he accepted
that it showed that the biochemical systems it described could
evolve within 20,000 years, even if the parameters of the
simulation were rigged to make that outcome as unlikely as
possible.[17] [18]

October 20-21

Richard Nilsen testified.
October 21, 28, November 3

Michael Richard Baksa testified. He was the Dover Area School
District Assistant Superintendent. In an email response to a
complaint by social studies teacher Brad Neal, Baksa referred to
The Myth of Separation by David Barton, a book Baksa had
received from Superintendent Richard Nilsen, who had received
it from board member Alan Bonsell. The book calls separation of
church and state "absurd." Baksa also discussed attempted
changes to the statement. Teachers suggested adding "Darwin's
theory of evolution continues to be the dominant scientific
explanation of the origin of species," but this was eliminated by
the board. The teachers also recommended altering it to read
"Because Darwin's theory is a theory, there is a significant
amount of evidence that supports the theory, although it is still
being tested as new evidence is discovered." Citing his belief the
board would reject this, Baksa eliminated the "significant amount
of evidence."
October 24

Steve Fuller testified. He provided a qualified defense of the
scientific status of intelligent design, observing that its history
can be traced back to Newton and should include such
luminaries of modern biology as Linnaeus and Mendel. He also
stressed a distinction from the philosophy of science between the
"context of discovery" (what motivates a scientist) and the
"context of justification" (how the scientist's theory is judged) in
order to mitigate the undeniably religious origins of intelligent
design. Fuller memorably called for an "affirmative action"
program for intelligent design, which did not win much favor with
Judge Jones in his final decision. Fuller's testimony was cited by
lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the defense in their closing

Witnesses for the plaintiffs
(called out-of-turn)
October 27

William Buckingham testified and was ruled a hostile
October 28

Heidi Bernhard-Bubb testified.
Joseph Maldonado testified.

Witnesses for the defense
October 28

Heather Geesey testified.
October 31

Jane Cleaver testified.
Alan Bonsell testified. His testimony initially included a claim that
he did not know where the money had been raised to donate
sixty copies of Of Pandas and People to the school's library. On
hearing that the money had been raised in William Buckingham's
church, and directed through Bonsell's father so that it might be
donated anonymously, Judge Jones elected to take over the
examination of Bonsell himself, questioning him for about ten
November 3

Robert Linker testified.
Scott Minnich testified.

Closing arguments
Closing arguments were made on 4 November 2005. Upon
completion of the closing arguments, Mr. Gillen asked Judge
Jones, "By my reckoning, this is the 40th day since the trial
began and tonight will be the 40th night, and I would like to know
if you did that on purpose." To which the judge responded, "Mr.
Gillen, that is an interesting coincidence, but it was not by
design," eliciting laughter and applause from those present.

On 20 December 2005, Judge Jones found for the plaintiff and
issued a 139 page decision, adopting much of the plaintiff's
findings of fact and conclusions of law, in which he wrote:

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District et al."For the reasons that
follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent
design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult
or child" (page 24)
"A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is
that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it
describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of
leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by
their argument is the God of Christianity." (page 26)
"The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than
the progeny of creationism" (page 31)
"The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a
religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a
scientific theory." (page 43)
"Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court,
Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is
not “teaching” ID but instead is merely “making students aware of
it.” In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board
members’ testimony, which was marked by selective memories
and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail
below, is that they did not think they needed to be
knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the
students. We disagree." (footnote 7 on page 46)
"After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw,
we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on
which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that
ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to
preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID
violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking
and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of
irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed
and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in
the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been
refuted by the scientific community." (page 64)
"[T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs
students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as
recognized by even the defense experts in this case." (pages 86–
"ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which
we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating
that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science
class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard.
The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to
foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory
with ID." (page 89)
"Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the
Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which
was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in
violation of the Establishment Clause." (page 132)

Judge John E. Jones III issued the decision in the caseIn his
Conclusion on pages 136–138 of 139 of this decision he writes:

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon
tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the
Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making
this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of
whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and
moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and
thus religious, antecedents. [...]
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. With that said, we do not question that many of the
leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs
which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that
ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As
stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach
ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science

Judge Jones himself anticipated that his ruling would be
criticized, saying in his decision that:

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.
Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and
Culture at Discovery Institute, said: "The Dover decision is an
attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a
scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian
evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than
open debate, and it won't work. He has conflated Discovery
Institute’s position with that of the Dover school board, and he
totally misrepresents intelligent design and the motivations of the
scientists who research it."[19]

Newspapers have noted with interest that the judge is "a
Republican and a churchgoer."[20][21][22][23]

[edit] Settlement of the legal fees
On February 21, 2006, the newly elected Dover Area School
Board voted, unanimously with one abstention, to pay
$1,000,011 in legal fees and damages due to the parents and
their lawyers as a result of the verdict in the case, a large sum of
money for a small district. The previous school board had been
offered the opportunity to rescind its policy, and avoid paying
legal fees, immediately after the lawsuit was filed in 2004, but it
declined. The parents' attorneys Pepper Hamilton stated that
court records would show that they were entitled to more than $2
million, but were going to accept less than half that amount in
recognition of the small size of the school district, and because
the school board that voted for the policy had been voted out of
office, leaving the new school board "having the bill placed in
their laps." The previous school board had been defended
without charge by the Thomas More Law Center.[24] Richard
Katskee, assistant legal director for Americans United, said of the
trial's cost, "Any board thinking of trying to do what the Dover
board did is going to have to look for a bill in excess of $2
million," and "I think $2 million is a lot to explain to taxpayers for a
lawsuit that should never be fought." [25]

Allegations of perjury
After the trial, there were calls for the defendants
accused of not presenting their case honestly to be
put on trial for committing perjury. "Witnesses either
testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on
several occasions," Jones wrote. "The inescapable
truth is that both [Alan] Bonsell and [William]
Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions.
… Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful
manner. … Defendants have unceasingly attempted in
vain to distance themselves from their own actions
and statements, which culminated in repetitious,
untruthful testimony." An editorial in the York Daily
Record described their behaviour as both ironic and
sinful, saying that the "unintelligent designers of this
fiasco should not walk away unscathed". Other
discussions concluded that for various reasons it
was unlikely that prosecutions would proceed.
Allegations of perjury

After the trial, there were calls for the defendants
accused of not presenting their case honestly to be put
on trial for committing perjury. "Witnesses either testified
inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several
occasions," Jones wrote. "The inescapable truth is that
both [Alan] Bonsell and [William] Buckingham lied at their
January 3, 2005 depositions. …

Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful manner. …
Defendants have unceasingly attempted in vain to distance
themselves from their own actions and statements, which
culminated in repetitious, untruthful testimony." An editorial in
the York Daily Record described their behaviour as both ironic
and sinful, saying that the "unintelligent designers of this fiasco
should not walk away unscathed". Other discussions concluded
that for various reasons it was unlikely that prosecutions would

See details below
School board members
still might end up in court

Compiled by Ted Olsen

There are countless discussion
questions prompted by yesterday's
court decision barring a Pennsylvania
school district from requiring its
schools to mention Intelligent Design
and describe Darwin's theory of
evolution as "a theory … not a fact."

We could discuss whether it's best to have
a solitary judge rule on whether science
requires methodological naturalism. We
could discuss the propriety of a judge
issuing a ruling that religion, and
specifically with Christianity, are
compatible with evolution. We could
discuss William Saletan's interesting
argument that Judge John Jones falls prey
to the same "contrived dualism" that he
condemns. We could talk about Jones's
statement "no other tribunal in the United
States is in a better position than are we to
traipse into this controversial area" when
Jones himself admits that the supposed
supporters of Intelligent Design in this
case "had utterly no grasp of ID" (one
board member "consistently referred to ID
as 'intelligence design' throughout her
testimony.") And surely we could talk
about the future of Intelligent Design as an
academic pursuit in the wake of this ruling.

But first, before we talk about any of those
things, let's talk about one of the major
issues in Jones's ruling: honesty among
the board members supporting Intelligent

"Witnesses either testified inconsistently,
or lied outright under oath on several
occasions," Jones wrote. "The inescapable
truth is that both [Alan] Bonsell and
[William] Buckingham lied at their January
3, 2005 depositions. … Bonsell repeatedly
failed to testify in a truthful manner. …
Defendants have unceasingly attempted in
vain to distance themselves from their own
actions and statements, which culminated
in repetitious, untruthful testimony."

Jones was particularly grieved that board
members denied using the term
"creationism" before switching the term to
"Intelligent Design," and that some board
members claimed not to know how copies
of the book Of Pandas and People were
donated to the school when Buckingham
personally raised funds for the books at
his church. If you're interested in the
details, the York Daily Record has enough
to choke a panda.

In Jones's conclusion (the entire 139-page
decision is Scalia-like both in its readability
and causticity, if not in its legal
perspective), Jones twists the knife: "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

"Yes, ironic—at the very least. But also
sinful according to the 9th Commandment.
And perhaps also criminal," said an
editorial in the York Daily Record. "We can
only hope that the appropriate authorities
are investigating possible perjury charges
in this case. … The unintelligent designers
of this fiasco should not walk away
unscathed. They've damaged and divided
this community, and there should be
repercussions—a perjury investigation—
beyond a lost election."
Religion and Perjury
Megachurch Leader Surrenders
on Charge

January 16, 2008

The 80-year-old leader of a
suburban Atlanta megachurch
turned himself over to authorities
Tuesday night to face a
charge that he lied under oath
about his sexual affairs.

A warrant for the arrest of
Archbishop Earl Paulk was issued
Monday after a probe by the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The longtime pastor of the
Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at
Chapel Hill Harvester Church
made a deal with the Cobb
County Sheriff's Office to
surrender within 48 hours, said
Nancy Bodiford, executive
assistant to Sheriff Neil Warren.

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at
Chapel Hill Harvester Church is
pictured Friday Nov. 9, 2007, in
Decatur, Ga. The church's
bishop and founder Earl Paulk
has been charged with lying
under oath, court documents
show. (AP Photo/John Amis,
FILE) Paulk's attorney, Joel Pugh,
said the warrant took the
family by surprise.

"We weren't expecting the warrant
to be issued this quickly,"
Pugh said.

The felony perjury charge against
Paulk stems from a lawsuit
against him, his brother Don and
the church by Mona Brewer,
a former church employee. The
lawsuit alleges that Earl Paulk
manipulated Brewer into an affair
from 1989 to 2003 by telling
her it was her only path to

In a 2006 deposition for the
lawsuit, the archbishop said under
oath that the only woman he had
ever had sex with outside of
his marriage was Brewer.

The results of a court-ordered
paternity test revealed in
October that Paulk is the
biological father of his brother's
D.E. Paulk, who is now head
pastor at the church. As part of
Brewer's lawsuit, eight women
have given sworn depositions
that they were coerced into
sexual relationships with Earl

A judge ordered the paternity test
at the request of the Cobb
County district attorney's office
and the Bureau of

Earl and Don Paulk have been hit
with lawsuits from former
members alleging they were
coerced into sexual affairs, but
this is the first time criminal
charges have been filed against
the archbishop.

Paulk has been in bad health for
the past couple of years after
a battle with cancer, limiting his
activity with the independent
charismatic church he and his
brother founded in 1960.

At its peak in the early 1990s, the
Cathedral at Chapel Hill
claimed about 10,000 members
and 24 pastors and was a
media powerhouse. The church
was able to build a Bible
college, two schools, a worldwide
TV ministry and a $12 million
sanctuary in Decatur outside

Church membership is now down
to about 1,500; the church
has 18 pastors, most of them
volunteers; and the Bible college
and TV ministry have shuttered _
a downturn blamed largely
on complaints about the sexual

Why This Website




Stutz Artiano Shinoff

Silence is Golden

Schools and Violence

Office Admin Hearings

Larkins OAH Hearing
Perjury and religion

Why This Website




Stutz Artiano Shinoff

Silence is Golden

Schools and Violence

Office Admin Hearings

Larkins OAH Hearing
Deborah Garvin
Michael Carlson

Justice of Peace/teacher