Intelligent design on the docket at Penn State Law

Penn State Law will host a forum on intelligent design featuring U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III and Frank Ravitch, professor of law and Walter H. Stowers chair in law and religion at Michigan State University College of Law. During the open forum, Judge Jones and Professor Ravitch will discuss their judicial and scholarly work regarding the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design in public schools . A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.

The forum will held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Monday, March 21, in room 114 of Lewis Katz Hall in Carlisle and be simulcast to room 232 of Lewis Katz Building in University Park.

Jones presided over the country's first trial to test the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution. In the landmark decision Kitzmiller v. Dover School District case, Jones ruled that it is unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in a public school science curriculum.

“Presiding over the Kitzmiller case provided me with a unique window into the enduring debate over the legality of attempts to teach alternatives to evolution in our public schools,” said Jones. “I am looking forward to discussing my experiences related to this seminal case with fellow alumnus Professor Frank Ravitch, who has written so cogently about the subject.”

Ravitch says he has always found the debate over intelligent design to be a bit too compartmentalized. "Some authors focus on science, some on law, some on the philosophy of science, some on religion, and so on. It struck me that these issues all influence each other,” Ravitch said.

In his most recent book, "Marketing Creation: The Law and Intelligent Design," Ravitch suggests that evolutionary biology and religion can be compatible, but that intelligent design and science are not compatible. Ravitch agrees with the decision in Kitzmiller for a number of reasons that he will address during the discussion.

The event is free and open to the public.

 

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Last Updated March 16, 2011