As has been noted elsewhere by many (e.g., PeeZed), tomorrow night (Tuesday, 13 Nov) PBS is airing Judgement Day. This is a Nova program covering in considerable detail the ins and outs of the trial two years ago in Dover, Pennsylvania, that was, at its heart, about whether “intelligent design” had any pretense to being science. It obviously doesn’t, and the court had the wherewithal to agree.
This has been heralded by many as a landmark case in the fight between science and reason on the one hand and politics, mumbo jumbo, and bizarrely wishful thinking on the other. While I fervently hope that this ruling is in fact a harbinger of a more rational future in the U.S., only time will truly tell. The case is clearly an crucial one, however, both for what it tells us about the powerful, organized, and persistent forces of willful ignorance, and about the ability of the forces of reason and sense to carry the day with clarity and force of their own.
Being out of the country, we will obviously miss the show, although we might get to catch it here later if one of the UK broadcasters picks it up. The most recent Science Talk podcast includes an interview with the show’s writer and producer, Joseph McMaster. Steve Mirsky (Science Talk’s excellent host) obviously really likes the show (he saw an advance tape), which makes me all the more sad that we’ll miss out. Mirsky ends the segment by mentioning that the pro-ID Discovery Institute has preemptively denounced the program, fussing that Nova fails to be impartial and should be more up-front about their clear bias. As Mirsky points out (with a wee twinkle in his voice), Nova could hardly be clearer about their bias: They’re a science program, and ID ain’t science.