Thursday, December 22, 2005

12/22/05 New Developments

Despite the 139 page ruling by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case that deemed "intelligent design" (ID) a variation on traditional Creationism, the fight is far from over. Although the Dover ruling does not directly apply to Colorado, it is likely to have national ramifications in that it sets legal precedent. However, the effort here in Colorado, being spearheaded by legislators as opposed to school boards, somewhat circumvents this precedent since the legislative efforts are not trying to directly insert ID into the curriculum, but instead seek to "allow" teachers the right to teach this notion independently.

Colorado State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray) has joined Rep. Stafford (R-Aurora) in announcing an interest in promoting ID in Colorado. Brophy's proposal differs from Stafford's but they are mutually complimentary. As reported in the Rocky Mountain News, "Brophy said the bill he is considering would let local school boards adopt an intelligent-design curriculum, but not mandate such instruction." [" Debate over intelligent design theory" by Berny Morson, (21 December 2005), Rocky Mountain News] In that Stafford's suggested bill that would allow teachers to present "alternative theories" is somewhat too broad in scope (at least as she has described it) Brophy's measure is the more direct of the two. We now have at least one openly avowed ID advocate in both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly.

While it seems unlikely that either Brophy or Stafford could push their respective proposals through the current General Assembly, raising the issue and sparking a public debate on the issue presents its own dangers. Specifically, launching such a public debate could prompt a local school board sympathetic to the idea to adopt an ID measure thereby generating a high-profile court challenge. It is safe to say that most Coloradoans are not extremists of any sort, nevertheless, it cannot really be denied that Colorado has often found itself at the center of issues promoted by well-funded and well-organized evangelical extremists resident in our state. While we can't stop the ID movement and its supporters from doing whatever they can to advance their agenda, what we can do is be prepared to counter their tactics through organization and close monitoring of developments. This is specifically what MESIC has set out to do.

Selected Colorado News Round-up, December 19-22:

  • "Intelligent design bad choice for state" [Editorial] (22 December 2005), Rocky Mountain News

  • "Intelligent design in Colorado?" by Brian Newsome, (22 December 2005), The Gazette (Colorado Springs)


  • "Gavel to Gavel -- The Year in Review, Part III" by Andrew Cohen, (22 December 2005), CBS News (Channel 4, Denver)


  • "Debate over Intelligent Design Goes On After Court Ruling" by Francis Helguero, (22 December 2005), The Christian Post


  • "Debate over intelligent design theory" by Berny Morson, (21 December 2005), Rocky Mountain News


  • "Colo. groups split on ruling" by Virginia Culver, (21 December 2005), Denver Post


  • "Intelligent design ruling felt in Southern Colorado" by Sharon Brandman, (21 December 2005), KOAA-TV


  • "Religion vs. Evolution: A false dichotomy" by J. Brent Walker, (21 December 2005), Colorado Daily


  • "Not An Intelligent Design" (21 December 2005), Colorado Pols


  • "Judge Says Intelligent Design Has No Place in Public Schools" by Wendy Cloyd, (20 December 2005), Focus on the Family
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