Why NOVA Covered the Case

  • Posted 11.01.07
  • NOVA

In this short video, NOVA's Paula Apsell explains the reasons for making "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial."

Running Time: 02:36



WOMAN: There is a member of the school board interested in having creationism share equal time with evolution.

MAN: We did it for the students.

SECOND WOMAN: I did not like how they were trying to mix religion and science.

THIRD WOMAN: I believe there is an intelligent design. In the beginning, God created.

SECOND MAN: Saying that you don't believe in evolution is almost saying we don't believe that the Civil War ever took place in the United States.

PAULA APSELL (NOVA Senior Executive Producer): “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” is in many ways a hornets' nest, and I will tell you that we had to think long and hard before we decided to take it on, and I think the real reason that I made that decision is because evolution is the foundation of the biological sciences. As one famous biologist said, “nothing in biology makes sense except through the lens of evolution.”

The trial that was held in Pennsylvania when the school board decided that a statement about a so-called alternative scientific theory to evolution called intelligent design had to be read to students—that trial was fascinating because it was completely chock-full of science. It was like a primer, like a biology textbook where some of the nation's best biologists went in to testify, and for that reason, I decided that both the trial and the issue were perfect subjects for NOVA. If not on NOVA, then where should we do it?

Recent polls tell us that 48 percent, almost half, of all Americans still question evolution and still believe that some kind of alternative should be taught in the public schools. The issue of evolution is not simply a political issue; it's not just part of the culture wars. It's a scientific issue, and I really believe that if people understood the science, saw why it was so essential to modern biology, and understood that it's not at all incompatible with religion, then we would have much less conflict over it in this country.

We had to really disavow people of this notion that somehow, to accept evolution is to reject God, because that's not true at all. In fact, I sort of believe that the beauty of evolution can really enhance your belief in a creator and God.

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