Last night, October 22, 2008, in Northern Kentucky, a rather remarkable thing happened.
At Northern Kentucky University, within the shadow of the Creation Museum, in a mock trial, a jury of the entire audience overwhelmingly voted on the side of Evolution and against the teaching of Intelligent Design in the public schools.
Some had opined that it was foolish to hold such an event—that the vote would be overwhelmed by the fundangelicals, that Evolution would lose, and that this would be harmful for the future of education in Kentucky.
Well, that did not happen. The opposite happened.
The issue for the pretend trial was the case of a ninth grade teacher in the Kentucky public schools who had been fired for teaching Intelligent Design in a Kentucky classroom. She sued, alleging she had a right to teach such mythology and to get her job back. Leading trial lawyers in the Northern Kentucky area represented the parties, a real retired judge presided, and the former dean of the law school moderated a discussion.
A creation scientist testified for the teacher. Edwin Kagin, National Legal Director for American Atheists, and identified as such, testified as to his opinion that Intelligent Design is a religious, not a scientific, view and that the teaching of this religious view is prohibited by the Constitutions of the United States and of Kentucky.
The result from the clickers of the audience:
38% said the teacher should not be restored to her job.
28% said the teacher should get her job back, and be permitted to discuss Intelligent Design, but only if she agrees to made it clear that most scientists reject Intelligent Design.
31% said the teacher should get her job back without conditions.
The clear result was that a large majority accepted the teaching of Evolution over Intelligent Design and did not see Intelligent Design as a scientific view. The audience accepted the position of the Atheist witness over that of the expert who held the religious view that life was created by magic.
This victory should be noted by those who are afraid to challenge the forces of darkness in public dialogue.
National Legal Director
American Atheists, Inc.