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Judgment Day praised in Nature
Reviewing Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial -- the new documentary about Kitzmiller v. Dover -- for the November 8, 2007, issue of Nature (450: 170), Adam Rutherford was impressed, not least with the way in which the filmmakers met the challenge of retelling the story. "The makers of Judgment Day inject tension with eyewitness accounts from the people of Dover," he writes (subscription required), "and home-video footage of raucous school board meetings shows how passionate and divided this small community became. It works: it is inspiring to hear parents and educators, such as Sunday school and physics teacher Bryan Rehm, recount how they refused to be steam-rollered into bringing religion into the science classroom."
"Judgment Day gracefully avoids ridiculing intelligent design for the pseudo-intellectual fundamentalist fig-leaf that it is, by simply showing how the protagonists shot themselves in the foot," Rutherford adds. Acknowledging that the "intelligent design" movement is still alive in the wake of the trial, he nevertheless concludes that "the Kitzmiller vs Dover verdict, matched this September with the outlawing of intelligent design in the UK national curriculum, marked the official neutering of this unpleasant, sneaky movement in much of the western world. Judgment Day is just the sort of thoughtful programming that celebrates how sensible people -- faithful and otherwise -- can use science and reason to combat fundamentalism."
Judgment Day airs on PBS stations nationwide at 8:00 p.m. on November 13, 2007. (Schedules for local affiliates can be checked on-line via the PBS website.) Be sure also to visit the generous website, featuring interviews with Kenneth R. Miller on evolution, Phillip Johnson on "intelligent design," and Paula Apsell on NOVA's decision to produce the documentary; audio clips of Judge John E. Jones III reading passages from his decision in the case and of various experts (including NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott) discussing the nature of science; resources about the evidence for evolution and about the background to the Kitzmiller case; material especially for teachers, including a briefing packet (PDF) for educators; and even a preview of the documentary.