Two stories of note. First, Intelligent Design is officially dead in Dover:
The Dover Area School District’s policy of treating the concept as an alternative to evolution was officially relegated to the history books Tuesday night. Newly elected board members unanimously rescinded the policy on a voice vote and with no discussion beforehand. A judge ruled it unconstitutional two weeks earlier.
“I will feel comfortable again teaching what I’d always felt comfortable teaching,” Miller said.
A different group of school board members had been in control when the policy was approved in October 2004. The policy required that a statement be read that said Darwin’s theory is “not a fact” and has inexplicable “gaps.” It also referred students to an “intelligent-design” book, “Of Pandas and People.”
Eight families sued, and on December 20, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III sided with their argument that the concept of “intelligent design” — which attributes the existence of complex organisms to an unidentified intelligent cause — is religious, not scientific. The judge said that violated the establishment clause in the First Amendment.
“This is it,” new school board president Bernadette Reinking said, indicating the vote was final and the case was closed.
Insert your own ‘survival of the fittest’ quip.
In other news, the proverbial you-know-what is about to hit the fan in Italy (thanks for the tip, NJ):
An Italian court is tackling Jesus — and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.
The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.
The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.
“I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression,” Cascioli told Reuters.
Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is “Abuso di Credulita Popolare” (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is “Sostituzione di Persona,” or impersonation.
“The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala,” Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.
Courts deciding whether Jesus existed- that would go over well here in the heartland. How do you say ‘activist judge’ in Italian?