To the editor:
I was delighted to read that a federal judge ruled today (Dec. 20) that the Dover, Pa., school board's injection of intelligent design into science classrooms is unconstitutional because it advances a particular brand of conservative Christianity. Thus, it violates the constitutional ban on establishment of religion.
He could have stopped at that point, but Judge John E. Jones III went further and made a valuable point that is self-evident to me as a scientist and to every other scientist I know: Intelligent design is not science. It is not science because it makes no hypotheses that can be tested. Furthermore, it is not science because it invokes a supernatural power, and science deals only with natural phenomena.
This "stinging rebuke," as the New York Times puts it, has relevance for us in Kansas. The Kansas State Board of Education has tried to redefine science by removing the words "natural explanations" from the definition. This is a clear attempt to allow supernatural explanations into the science curriculum, and it is no secret that the six conservative members of the board favor the supernatural intelligent design explanation of human origins. But the very nature of science cannot be changed with the stroke of a pen. And now a federal judge has ruled decisively that it is unconstitutional to try to do so.