New Scientist on the Dover anniversary

Five years after Kitzmiller v. Dover, the case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools, New Scientist (October 20, 2010) reports on the continuing aftermath, in Dover, Pennsylvania, and beyond. Plaintiff Cyndi Sneath, now a member of the Dover Area School Board, said, "My interest in public education and civil liberties was certainly sparked by the trial," and fellow plaintiff Robert Eschbach, a teacher, commented that the trial "forced me to be a better educator ... I went back and read more of the history around Darwin and how he came to his conclusions."

In the meantime, the "intelligent design" movement was not idle, with its greatest success the passage and enactment of Louisiana's so-called Science Education Act in 2008. Barbara Forrest — a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, a member of NCSE's board of directors, and a witness for the plaintiffs in Kitzmiller — told New Scientist, "Louisiana is the only state to pass a state education bill based on the Discovery Institute's template." (A list of attempts to pass "academic freedom" antievolution bills is given in Branch, Scott, and Rosenau's "Dispatches from the Evolution Wars.")

After reviewing the continuing efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution in Louisiana — including a policy governing supplementary materials in the state's classrooms that would enable the promotion of creationism as well as a proposal to teach creationism in Livingston Parish — the article concludes, "Five years after the landmark case, the battle for science education continues. But for the plaintiffs and their representatives this does not detract from the achievement. Their lead attorney, Eric Rothschild [of Pepper Hamilton LLP], sums it up: 'If we'd lost, intelligent design would be all over the place now'."