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Kitzmas cheer in the Philly Inquirer

Kitzmiller in press scrumKitzmiller in press scrum

The Philadelphia Inquirer (December 20, 2010) commemorated the fifth anniversary of the verdict in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools, with a review of the trial and its consequences. NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott told the paper, "We're not fighting Dovers in every fifth school district in the country ... Dover seriously put the brakes on the intelligent-design movement." But as Michael Berkman, coauthor with Eric Plutzer of Evolution, Creationism, and the Battle to Control America's Classrooms (Cambridge University Press, 2010), explained, "the movement always adapts to the court cases and calls it something else."

As a case in point, Scott cited Louisiana, where creationist attacks on the treatment of evolution in biology — in the guise of calls for "critical analysis" — were recently rebuffed by the state board of elementary and secondary education. Kenneth R. Miller, a Supporter of NCSE who testified in the Kitzmiller trial, told the Inquirer that "the forms of 'critical analysis' promoted by the Louisiana Family Forum are actually a series of baseless arguments against evolution that have been repeatedly discredited by the scientific community." (Barbara Forrest reflects on the importance of the Kitzmiller case to the ongoing situation in Louisiana in a December 20, 2010, post on the Louisiana Coalition for Science's blog.)

"Evolution also suffers in the classroom, according to Berkman's survey, because many teachers are timid, may undermine the science, or may not present evolution thoroughly," the story explained, quoting Scott as observing, "Too many biology teachers skip evolution, give one lecture, or leave it till the end." Eric Rothschild, a Pepper Hamilton attorney who represented the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller, commented, "I often think about what would have happened if we hadn't won," adding, "We would have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of schools adopt intelligent design." Instead, the decision served to encourage teachers — like Dover's Jennifer Miller, according to the York Dispatch (December 17, 2010) — to present evolution without fear.