September 6, 2011

Good Tues. Gray here with a little bit of rain after a lovely weekend of sun.

I used my time off well to plane a door that has been sticking for a few months. Now it only sticks a little.

We watched a good NOVA program on the Dover, PA school district controversy over Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection vs. Intelligent Design. The program was pretty well balanced, letting the supporters of ID explain what they think of as their “theory” and then letting assorted expert witnesses explain Darwin’s “theory” and why ID is not a scientific theory. What is a theory, anyway? The controversy led to a closely watched court case when parents sued the school board to prevent ID from being presented in classrooms as science. The courtroom scenes are recreated by actors speaking lines from the trial transcript. You will learn a lot about evolution as it is currently understood and why many people reject this line of inquiry. Something like 40 percent of Americans say they believe Genesis over Darwin, so this debate has great relevance for education and politics in the US.

The courtroom face-off was marred somewhat by two school board members perjuring themselves and the most active ID promoter, the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which was scheduled to provide expert witnesses for the defense, declining at the last minute to participate in the trial. The program is well produced and runs about two hours. I’m going to watch it again to absorb more information. I got it from the library, but Netflix has it. If you care about public education and cultural politics in the US, this is well worth watching.

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