"Intelligent Judging"


Featured in the May 25, 2006, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine is George J. Annas's article "Intelligent Judging -- Evolution in the Classroom and the Courtroom." Annas distinguishes three waves of activity seeking "to banish or marginalize the teaching of evolution" in the public schools: attempts to ban the teaching of evolution, attempts to teach "creation science" alongside evolution, and attempts to teach "intelligent design" alongside evolution.

After describing the decision in Kitzmiller v Dover, Annas comments, "Judge Jones's strong opinion concludes the third wave of antievolution teaching activity in the United States. Even though the opinion has no force as a binding precedent outside Pennsylvania, it is so well reasoned that it is likely to be persuasive to other judges around the country, and most state legislatures and school boards will probably be strongly influenced by it."

"In a country in which more than 50 percent of adults consistently tell pollsters that they believe God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years," he continues, "there will undoubtedly be a fourth wave that will feature yet another strategy to promote creationism by questioning evolution." He predicts, plausibly, "It looks as if this next wave will jettison the creationist and intelligent-design baggage and concentrate exclusively on a 'teach the controversy' strategy."

Annas is the Edward R. Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights of Boston University School of Public Health, and Professor in the Boston University School of Medicine and School of Law. He is also the cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, a transnational professional association of lawyers and physicians working together to promote human rights and health.