Saturday, December 23, 2006


The New Savonarolas

An article by Barbara Forrest, a philosopher who served as a key expert witness at the Dover intelligent design trial, has written a fascinating account of her role in the trial. Forrest's article includes a lot of behind the scenes information that hasn't, to our knowledge, been previously published, like this:
Dover’s problems actually started in 2002. Bertha Spahr, chair of Dover High School’s science department, began to encounter animosity from Dover residents toward the teaching of evolution. In January 2002, board member Alan Bonsell began pressing for the teaching of creationism. In August, a mural depicting human evolution, painted by a 1998 graduating senior and donated to the science department, disappeared from a science classroom. The four-by-sixteen-foot painting had been propped on a chalkboard tray because custodians refused to mount it on the wall. Spahr learned that the building and grounds supervisor had ordered it burned. In June 2004, board member William Buckingham, Bonsell’s co-instigator of the ID policy, told Spahr that he “gleefully watched it burn” because he disliked its portrayal of evolution. He also blocked purchase of a new science textbook that included evolution, forcing teachers to accept Pandas as a reference book in exchange for new textbooks.

"Gleefully watched it burn." Creationists and intelligent design activists may not believe they -- and all other living things -- are descended from a common ancestor, but that's not to say they aren't in touch with their roots.


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