The judge who ruled against intelligent design as an alternative to evolution, said religion should not be brought into the classroom. The U.S. District Court judge, John E. Jones, discussed his ruling on intelligent design with a crowd of faculty, students and community members on Tuesday, April 24. Jones is best known for his 2005 ruling against the Dover, Pa. board of education, which said that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design in public schools.
“To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect,” Jones said in his ruling, “However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom to misrepresent well-established scientific proportions.”
Jones was appointed to his current position as judge in U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania judge by President Bush in 2007. He was named one of Time’s “100 most influential people” in 2006.
“It has been two years and four months since intelligent design landed on my docket,” Jones said. Jones recalled driving home the day before he received the case and hearing on the radio that a lawsuit was filed against the school district in federal court by the parents of Dover and York County.
“We were drafting the decision for more than five weeks. Imagine the vegetable you least like to eat. That’s what this decision was to me. I hated looking at it,” Jones said.
Because of the flood of hate mail Jones received during the case, he was forced to have around-the-clock district marshall protection.
Jones was heavily slammed by critics for his decision on the intelligent design case. Right-wing talk show host Bill O’Reilly of the “O’Reilly Factor” referred to Jones as a “fascist” and tele-evangeligist Christina Pat Robertson of the “700 Club” said the decision was a “terrible ruling by a arrogant judge.” Anne Coulter called Jones a “hack judge” who didn’t know what he was doing.
“Surely my ruling generated some controversy,” Jones said.
“What these comments speak is an astonishing lack of understanding of how judges work. Americans have no grasp of how judges go about what they do,” Jones said.
Jones was accused of stabbing those in the back who appointed him and was told he should have “thrown one for the home team.”
“There is no independence in the justice department. There is always a bias. But when we get on the bench, we lose our political stripes,” Jones said. Jones explained that his decision was made on the rule of law and precedent.
Jones also touched on the subject about bias in the media and stressed the need to be better consumers of the news.
“If you are only going to watch Fox News, you are going to have a different view of the world,” Jones said.
“I think there are some enduring lessons that came out of my ruling and not just science and religion. It has allowed me to travel and speak all over the country,” Jones said.
Paramount Pictures currently has a screen play in the works for a movie on Jones’ ruling.
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