When a federal judge stopped intelligent design from being taught in a Pennsylvania school district in December, the concept's chief advocates issued a quick and pointed response.An Intelligent Design effort in Ohio has already failed with the Dover decision given as a reason but more telling is the reaction from wingnut right radio.
U.S. District Judge John Jones was an activist judge whose opinion shows he's misinformed and biased, said officials at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank that promotes intelligent design as a challenge to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.
The only comfort they found in the stinging rebuke was that the ruling would carry no weight beyond Dover, Pa.
They were right in that, without an appeal to higher court, the case sets no legal standard beyond the central Pennsylvania region where Jones' court has jurisdiction. But nearly five months after the ruling, the Discovery Institute is fighting to control fallout from the decision.
"Dover is a disaster in a sense, as a public-relations matter," said Bruce Chapman, a former Seattle city councilman and founder of the Discovery Institute, the country's primary supporter of intelligent design. "It has given a rhetorical weapon to the Darwinists to say a judge has settled this," he said.
Leading conservative commentators — including talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas — say the judge's decision shows that intelligent design is a failed strategy in the effort to bring religion into the public schools.When a wingnut cause loses Rush Limbaugh the war is over.
"Let's make no mistake," Limbaugh said on his radio show. "The people pushing intelligent design believe in the biblical version of creation. Intelligent design is a way, I think, to sneak it into the curriculum and make it less offensive to the liberals."