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Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial

Season 34, Episode 16 of 25

One of the latest battles in the war over evolution took place in a tiny town of Dover in eastern Pennsylvania. In 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read to their high school biology students a statement that suggested there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Called Intelligent Design, the idea is that that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore had to have been designed by an intelligent agent. The science teachers refused to comply with the order; alarmed parents filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the separation of church and state. Suddenly, the small town of Dover was torn apart by controversy, pitting neighbor against neighbor. NOVA captures the emotional conflict in interviews with the townspeople, scientists and lawyers who participated in the historic six-week trial, Kitzmiller, et. al. v. Dover School District, et. al., which was closely watched by the world's media. With re-creations based on court transcripts, NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Does Intelligent Design qualify as science?" For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how it's taught it in the classroom.

Previously Aired

Day
Time
Channel
2/10/2009
8 p.m.
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