Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

The Unexamined Book Is Not Worth Reading

Discovery staffers Casey Luskin and Logan Gage are in Harrisburg observing the final days of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. Logan Gage has this report on some of Thursday's courtroom activity.

Harrisburg, PA -- The Dover, PA trial resumed this morning with defense attourney Patrick Gillen calling a Dover high school teacher to the stand. Robert Linker, now in his twelfth year of teaching biology at Dover high, testified that he is firmly against the mentioning of intelligent design in his classroom. Linker was a co-signer of a letter to the Dover Area School Board saying it was unethical to teach intelligent design to his students, for his conscience would not allow him to knowingly present false information. (Keep in mind the ironic word "knowingly" as we proceed.)

When asked if he had ever taken the time to fully read Of Pandas and People, the reference book on intelligent design available for students in the Dover library, Linker responded "no"--after all, he said, it was summer when he was asked to do so.

Had Linker ever even heard of intelligent design before the current controversy in Dover? Again, no.

Thus, Linker's signature on the statement saying it was unconscionable to mention intelligent design since, as the statement said in bolded letters, "INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE," appears to have come after little consideration.

By all appearences, Linker is a kind man who coaches high school wrestling and football for tots. But, it was difficult to swallow such a pronouncement as "INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE" knowing that Mr. Linker gave it such little consideration. Further, Linker's vehement proclamation was even harder for this court observer to swallow given that it was followed by the testimony of University of Idaho professor of microbiology Scott Minnich. Minnich argued convincingly from the evidence of molecular machines that ID proponents make a compelling case, and ID is indeed science.

Finally, let me note that Mr. Linker's consideration of the evidence for ID and the dogmatic statement he signed reminded me of a similar incident. Not long ago, the AAAS similarly asserted that ID is not science. When later a poll asking AAAS directors turned up the fact they had read almost nothing about intelligent design in making their decision. Seems that the AAAS gave about as much thought and spent as much time reading about intelligent design as Mr. Linker.