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Intelligent Design on Trial

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Chapter 1
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

A TOWN DIVIDED

This segment:

  • traces how the issue started in the rural community of Dover, Pennsylvania, and progressed to become a federal court test case for science education.
  • defines intelligent design (ID) and explains how the Dover school board was the first in the nation to require science teachers to offer ID as an alternative to evolution.
  • explains why many creationists see evolution as incompatible with their faith.
  • chronicles the history of legal efforts involving the teaching of evolution, beginning with the Scopes Trial in 1925 and culminating in 1987 when the Supreme Court ruled against teaching creationism.

running time 10:50

Chapter 2
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Life Science
• Diversity and adaptation of organisms

History and Nature of Science
• History of science

Grades 9-12
Life Science
• Biological evolution

History and Nature of Science
• Historical perspectives

WHAT IS EVOLUTION?

This segment:

  • explains how, after studying a number of different Galapagos finches, Darwin developed his concept of natural selection, a process by which the forces of nature select organisms best suited for their environment.
  • notes that Darwin further reasoned that over time, natural selection could give rise to new species through what he termed "descent with modification."
  • illustrates how Darwin pictured the relatedness of all living things as a great tree of life, with each twig a different species ultimately descending from a common ancestor.
  • reports that currently between one-third and one-half of the U.S. population does not accept evolution.
  • describes how a 16-foot mural depicting the evolution of humans from an ape-like ancestor was stolen from a Dover science classroom and burned.

running time 7:04

Chapter 3
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

INTRODUCING INTELLIGENT DESIGN

This segment:

  • chronicles how one school board member came to learn about intelligent design.
  • provides an example from ID literature illustrating the central tenet of ID that some aspects of life must be the product of an intelligent designer.
  • describes how the ID movement began.
  • recounts how members of the Dover school board drafted and passed a policy mandating that all students in ninth-grade biology be read a statement asserting that Darwin's theory is not a fact and that ID is an alternative explanation for the origin of life.

running time 8:47

Chapter 4
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

THE TRIAL BEGINS

This segment:

  • reports that 11 parents of Dover students filed a federal lawsuit on December 14, 2004, alleging that the Dover school board was violating the parents' constitutional rights by introducing religion into science class.
  • shows the school's assistant superintendent reading the board's mandated statement to students after Dover science teachers refused to do so.
  • presents opening statements from lawyers in courtroom recreations based on trial transcripts.
  • points out that to win, the plaintiffs' lawyers would need to show that the Dover school board statement promoted religion or that board members had religious motivations.
  • reports that both sides also asked the judge to rule on whether ID was science.

running time 9:32

Chapter 5
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Life Science
• Diversity and adaptation of organisms

History and Nature of Science
• History of science

Grades 9-12
Life Science
• Biological evolution

History and Nature of Science
• Historical perspectives

THE FOSSIL RECORD

This segment:

  • recreates biologist Ken Miller's courtroom testimony that defines evolution and reviews Darwin's contribution to the theory.
  • illustrates Darwin's tree of life showing the connection, by evolution, of all forms of life on Earth.
  • illustrates how ID depicts a history of life in which organisms appear abruptly, are unrelated, and are linked only by their designer.
  • reports on the discovery of a transitional form between primitive fish and terrestrial amphibians, and reviews the characteristics of both species found in the fossil.
  • reviews some of the transitional fossils presented as evidence of evolution during the trial.

running time 8:36

Chapter 6
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Life Science
• Reproduction and heredity

History and Nature of Science
• Nature of science

Grades 9-12
Life Science
• The molecular basis for heredity

History and Nature of Science
• Nature of scientific knowledge

A VERY SUCCESSFUL THEORY

This segment:

  • recreates paleontologist's Kevin Padian's courtroom testimony that defines what the term theory means in science and Miller's testimony as to why no theory is regarded as absolute truth.
  • reports on how the field of genetics has revealed the biological mechanisms that give rise to new traits in a species.
  • illustrates how DNA can mutate during reproduction to produce a benign, harmful, or occasionally beneficial new trait in a species.
  • recreates Miller's testimony detailing evidence for chromosome fusion in the human genome that would explain why humans have one pair fewer chromosomes than the other great apes.

running time 9:26

Chapter 7
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of science

Grades 9-12
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of scientific knowledge

THE NATURE OF SCIENCE

This segment:

  • recreates Miller's testimony pointing out that supernatural causes cannot be tested scientifically.
  • presents an interview with Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, who says ID is a negative argument that states that because evolution does not work, an intelligent designer is responsible for life.
  • recounts the struggles Dover science teachers and plaintiffs faced for their stance against ID.
  • reports that defense lawyers aimed to show that there are credible scientists who believe that the empirical data is supportive of ID.

running time 8:24

Chapter 8
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of science

Grades 9-12
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of scientific knowledge

EXAMINING INTELLIGENT DESIGN

This segment:

  • recreates biochemist Michael Behe's testimony defining intelligent design and explaining what is meant by design in this context.
  • reenacts Behe's testimony in which he provides an example of irreducible complexity—the bacterial flagellum, a system that provides propulsion for some bacteria.
  • shows a structure similar to the flagellum, but less complex, that functions in bacteria as an apparatus for transmitting disease.
  • recreates Miller's testimony that demonstrates how a mousetrap can be modified to work as a tie clip.

running time 9:11

Chapter 9
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of science

Grades 9-12
History and Nature of Science
• Nature of scientific knowledge

FAITH AND REASON

This segment:

  • recreates Behe's testimony claiming that natural selection fails to account for the immune system and that there is no scientific literature showing how the immune system evolved.
  • shows the prosecuting lawyer presenting a large stack of books and journal articles containing explanations for how the immune system evolved.
  • recreates microbiologist Scott Minnich's testimony explaining Behe's assertion that ID could be tested if a scientist subjected a bacterial species without a flagellum to a selective pressure such as motility and grow it for 10,000 generations to see whether it evolved a flagellum or any other complex system.
  • reports on how the trial affected some of the Dover residents.
  • presents differing views about evolution's compatibility with religion.

running time 7:25

Chapter 10
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

This segment:

  • notes that to prevail, the prosecution needed to prove that the school board acted for the purpose of promoting religion or that its policy had the effect of promoting religion.
  • recounts how the prosecution found evidence showing that the text referred to as a resource for ID, Of Pandas and People, had originally been a creationist text.
  • describes evidence indicating that one of the leaders of the ID movement was aware that ID did not yet have a general theory of biological design.

running time 9:49

Chapter 11
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

A CULTURE CONFLICT

This segment:

  • notes that the prosecution introduced The Wedge document, which spells out the ID movement's goals.
  • shows a news video clip in which a school board member uses the word creationism to describe what should be taught alongside evolution.
  • recounts that testimony revealed that two school board members knew—contrary to sworn depositions stating otherwise—who donated copies of Of Pandas and People to the school.

running time 8:52

Chapter 12
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National Science
Education Standards

Grades 5-8
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society

Grades 9-12
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

CLOSING ARGUMENTS

This segment:

  • presents closing arguments.
  • reports how anti-ID candidates were elected for eight of nine open Dover school board seats.
  • relates the judge's decision finding both that members of the school board had religious motivations for introducing intelligent design into the classroom and that ID was not a scientific theory.
  • provides reactions to the trial.

running time 10:38

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