Laurie Goodstein does a good job of setting the scene for the "intelligent design" (ID) trial which opened in Harrisburg Pennsylvania on 26 Sep (A web of faith, law and science in evolution suit).
I felt a pang of regret on reading this yesterday because for some time I contemplated attending the trial. In the end I decided to concentrate on another project, but I will be sorry to miss what promises to be high drama.
Drawing on Laurie Goodstein's article, here are two points that look key to me:
The Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that teaching creation science in public schools was unconstitutional because it was based on religion. The plaintiffs will therefore - I guess - have to show beyond reasonable doubt that so-called "intelligent design" is based on religion. Showing it has no relation to science will be the easy part; but will that be enough in law?
The real issue here is not ID but social control, economic instability and deprivation. As the former science teacher and plaintiff Christy Rehm is reported as agreeing, the fuss over evolution "has obscured more pressing educational issues" like school financing, low parent involvement and classes that still train students for factory jobs as local plants are closing.