Monday, February 27, 2006


Dover Trial Judge Interview

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an interview with Judge John Jones who presided over the Dover intelligent design trial. Jones ruled in December that the Dover school board could not order teachers to read a statement referring to intelligent design in biology classes.

This is the first time we have had a chance to hear Jones' views outside the courtroom. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

On what was perhaps the most controversial aspect of his ruling, the judge says the "controversial part of the ruling was whether intelligent design is in fact science. Lost in the post-decision debate was that both sides, plaintiffs and defense, asked me to rule on that issue. Clearly, that was resolved based on the scientific evidence presented at the trial."

Jones comments that until December 2004 he didn't know what intelligent design was. Asked if he read up on the subject, Jones says, "People have asked me, 'Did you sort of make yourself an expert? Did you read up on things?' and the answer is no, I didn't... . I tell my jurors, 'Don't read things outside the courtroom. Don't make yourself an expert. You get everything you need to decide the case inside the courtroom.' We had marvelous presentations in this case, and I got everything I needed during the trial, and before and after the trial, in terms of the submissions, so I certainly have developed a good working knowledge of the issue.

Asked if he was surprised at how weak the scientific case for intelligent design proved to be, Jones comments (in part), "I purposefully allowed the trial to extend and a record to be made... the defendants could never say that they weren't given the opportunity to present their case. I didn't cut off anybody's testimony, I didn't cut off anybody's presentation, and I allowed the testimony to be put forth in the ways the parties wanted it to be presented."

There's much more. It's all very interesting, and highly recommended reading.


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