From the front lines of the Evolution Wars, the incomparable Mike Argento

8 10 2005

About the time that Richard Thompson, head law guy at the Thomas More center and chief defender of the Dover Area School Board, started his third year of cross-examination of philosopher Barbara Forrest, it was easy to imagine that at that moment, everyone in the courtroom, including Forrest, who doesn’t believe in God, was violating the separation of church and court by appealing to God for it to please, Lord, just stop.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if there was a point to the ceaseless stream of questions from Thompson designed to elicit Lord knows what. He’d ask her the same question 18 different times, expecting, I guess, a different answer at some point. And he never got it.

Thompson, who said he’s a former prosecutor, should have known better. Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and expert on the history of the intelligent design creationist movement, was a lot smarter than, say, some poor, dumb criminal defendant.

Here is a summation of Forrest’s testimony: She examined the history of the intelligent design movement and concluded that it’s simply another name for creationism. And what led her to that conclusion? The movement leader’s own words. They started out with a religious proposition and sought to clothe it in science. The result was similar to putting a suit on your dog. (Not that I’d know what that looks like.)

That, and when some of its founders wrote “Of Pandas and People,” they took an earlier text and merely replaced the word “creationism” with the phrase “intelligent design.”

Thompson attacked her. He leapt to action, using every weapon at his disposal, and asked her about some guy losing his car keys.

Seriously.

At one point in his cross-examination — did I mention it went on for 4½ years? — he asked Forrest whether she had ever heard about a case in which the editor of a scientific journal who published an article by a proponent of intelligent design creationism was retaliated against for doing so.

And what form did that retaliation take?

“Loss of car keys,” among other things, Thompson said.

This is from the York Daily Record‘s coverage of the Dover trial. All I have to say is: why doesn’t the Wanneroo Times have writers of this calibre?

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