Skeptic article on Dover trial

1 minute read

Burt Humburg and Ed Brayton have a very readable account of the Dover trial in Skeptic magazine, available now online. The article goes over the recent history of jurisprudence related to evolution in education, the ins and outs of the defense and plaintiffs' preparation for the trial, and the testimony of the key witnesses.

This seems like a key passage for those who find themselves on school boards pondering creationism:

Aralene "Barrie" Callahan, a Dover school board member at the time the ID policy was adopted, and Bryan Rehm, a former physics teacher at Dover High School would testify that prior to the adoption of the ID policy, members of the school board had spoken openly of wanting to balance the teaching of evolution with material advocating "creationism." This testimony helped tie the school board's actions to the actions struck down in Edwards.
Mrs. Callahan testified, and showed her handwritten notes from key school board meetings and board retreats in 2003 and 2004, that school board President Alan Bonsell and chair of the curriculum committee William Buckingham had repeatedly spoken in favor of creationism explicitly, something both men denied.

Take good notes. You can't count on your opponents to be truthful.

And according to many accounts, this was the most dramatic moment:

In the face of multiple witnesses, newspaper reports and even videotaped evidence, William Buckingham had a difficult time explaining his denials during deposition that he had never said anything about creationism. Both he and Alan Bonsell had been asked in depositions about where the money had come from to purchase the dozens of copies of the Pandas book; both testified that they didnt know where the money had come from, but that it was not taxpayer money. But under cross examination, it was revealed that Buckingham had raised the money at his church, wrote a check out of his own account for $850 and gave it to Bonsell, who then gave it to his father to purchase the books. This inconsistency angered the judge so much that he interrupted the attorneys and began to question Bonsell himself, demanding an explanation for why he had not mentioned this when asked directly about it.

If you didn't follow the trial, this is a great review. Highly recommended.