Category: Education

PBS scores with ‘Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial’

This evening PBS aired “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” I sat riveted for the entire two hours. Fascinating looks at the people and testimony in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case in Pennsylvania a few years ago, where the judge had to decide whether an effort to inject Intelligent Design (ID) into the school’s science curriculum was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Key to the decision was whether ID is simply another name for Creationism, and hence a religious view, not science. has a big section devoted to the program, and also a rapidly growing forum. It’s sad to see how much of the forum immediately fell into the eternal debate of which side is right and what idiots or heathens the other guys are.

Actually I felt the network did an outstanding job presenting the testimony of both sides, taken directly from court records, media accounts, and other sources of the time. It made a compelling story for those of us who’d picked up only bits and pieces before.

In my mind, it was a balanced presentation, but that may be because I’m a secularist and the Darwinists won, quite handily I thought. I understood what the ID supporters were getting at and appreciated it. But the fact remains that they changed their terminology from “creationism” to “Intelligent Design” in an effort to conceal its religious roots and get it into the public schools when they knew religion would not be allowed in the school. What intrigued me about the whole thing was that the judge in the case was a Bush appointee and a believer in ID. Still he adhered to the Constitution rather than his personal beliefs. That’s a tribute to the strength of the Darwinist case and to the courage of a judge who believed in upholding the law.

Nice job, PBS.

School authority stops at the curb

Fox News just aired a short discussion about schools suspending students because of what they (the students) posted on The question was whether schools had the right to do this.

The schools were acting within their rights if the activities occurred at school using school computers. The report, however, indicated that the alleged offenses occurred outside of school. In that case, the schools clearing were overreaching their authority.

Noting that she was a parent, the panelist defending the schools said she welcomed their action. Not once did she, the other panelist, or the moderator say anything about the parents’ responsibility in these cases. Where were the parents in these cases?

I’m a parent. I appreciate a school’s effort to keep kids safe. However, outside of school what my child does is my responsibility, as is the right and responsibility to discipline that child. The school had better not try to intervene.

Freedom of speech; let him teach

I prefer the local take on Colorado teacher Jay Bennish’s remark comparing President George Bush to Hitler.

The national networks have quoted him out of context, failed to mention that his is an honors class in “human geography,” and implied strongly that the student walkout was an indictment when in fact it was, for the most part, a demonstration of support.

Honors classes are expected to be less scripted, more free-flowing, more thought-provoking. The opportunity to enroll generally is extended to only the brightest, most intellectually curious students.

Listening to the entire recording (20 minutes of a 1-hour class) gives a somewhat different picture from that generated by the few sentences taken out of context by the networks. Listen and judge for yourself.