"The 'Vise Strategy' Undone"


Barbara Forrest, who was among the expert witnesses to testify for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller v. Dover, recounts her involvement in the case, in a detailed article posted at the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal's Creationism and Intelligent Design Watch website. "Not only did I show up for my deposition," Forrest writes, contrasting her appearance with the disappearance of three of the "intelligent design" proponents who were supposed to have testified for the defense, "but I also testified at the trial despite being delayed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Moreover, I had the distinction of being the only witness whom the defense tried to exclude from the case. When they failed, the Discovery Institute tried to discredit me with ridicule."

But in the end, Forrest's thorough knowledge and articulate description of the "intelligent design" movement and its unsavory tactics convinced Judge Jones, who wrote in his ruling: "Dr. Barbara Forrest ... has thoroughly and exhaustively chronicled the history of ID in her book and other writings for her testimony in this case. Her testimony, and the exhibits ... admitted with it, provide a wealth of statements by ID leaders that reveal ID's religious, philosophical, and cultural content." In the wake of the Kitzmiller decision, Forrest notes, "ID creationists continue their efforts to discredit both Judge Jones and me. They employ their usual m.o.: lacking scientific evidence for ID, they make things up and/or slander their opposition," and cites a number of such misrepresentations.

Forrest is Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and a member of NCSE's board of directors. With Paul R. Gross, she wrote Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004), the definitive exposé of the "intelligent design" movement's so-called Wedge strategy. A paperback edition, with a new foreword by the Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and a new chapter on the Kitzmiller trial, is to appear in early 2007.