Thursday, November 15, 2007

This Week's NOVA on PBS: Judgment Day

Wow! Excellent special two-hour edition of PBS's NOVA this week! Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial details the 2004 fight, in Dover, Pennsylvania, over the inclusion of the "Intelligent Design"--Creationism by any other name--into the curriculum of science classes teaching Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

This program had me alternately dumbfounded, angry, and appalled, but ultimately heartened yet still fearful for the future of science education in the United States. While the rest of us are concerned with everyday matters and reasonably sure we're truly in the 21st century, not back during the days of the Scopes Trial, there's an organization or two in the U.S. whose goal, clearly stated, is to return the U.S. to nothing less than faith-based education, and the fight in Dover, PA was just one of the battles along the way.

If you love science and reason, if you are dismayed by superstition and supernaturalism working its way into classrooms under the guise of keeping an open mind, if you want to believe that sometimes you just have to risk being labeled "atheist" or worse, and threatened with death for wanting to keep religion out of science classes--well, you will love this special NOVA.

What it took to win at least this one victory, in addition to a Republican judge who surprisingly and commendably didn't slavishly tow the party line on the inclusion of the new Creationism (according to Pres. Bush, "ID" should be taught in schools), was relentless work and a committment from concerned parents not to have their children receive sub-standard education. And they learned another lesson: local entites like school boards are prime targets for "ID" proponents to infiltrate and influence educational standards, just because the elections are often below the radar and ignored by the average citizen. If you don't pay attention to who's running for these posts, you're going to get someone with their own agenda, as they found out in Dover.

NOVA Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial is must-viewing for anyone who wants a well-produced and fascinating look at this very important subject. Highly recommended!

Check out the PBS website for the program for excellent background materials, and check your local listings for the repeat date. The program premiered Tuesday the 13th in most areas.

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