Reader response to the ruling in the Harrisburg, Pa., evolution trial was overwhelming, with hundreds of new e-mails pouring in every hour. Many people applauded the judge for rejecting intelligent design in science class, while others wondered why all views couldn't be heard. Here is a selection of your responses (some letters may be edited for length):
Name: Richard D. Trifan
Hometown: Ringwood, New Jersey
The judge ruled correctly, and sensibly, for if we reverse our progress for the last 150 years and cede the evolutionary process to a God (again!) we would be not only ignorant but, as a country, the laughingstock of the world.
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Amazing. Anytime something goes very bad for us, we mention God and ask for his help. What't wrong with learning about other alternatives to the evolution theory? After all it is a theory filled with holes.
Name: Lou Anne Kirby
Hometown: Sonoita, Arizona
ID could be taught as part of a comparative religions course in public high schools. Since religion is a vital part of every culture, students should be exposed to great religious philosophies as part of their education in the humanities and social studies. My opinion: the creationists' god is too small; a god who could design a complex universe could also design a mechanism to continually update its lifeforms: to wit, evolution.
Hometown: Cincinnati OH
Being from the conservative midwest myself, I looked on these ID developments with considerable dismay. We get Jesus crammed down our throat there in school by our teachers, fellow students and PTA, so why must it be in our curriculum as well?
I think the judges of this nation should stop playing "holy guides" and back the foundation of the nation known as a Christian nation, The United States of America. Based upon the true beliefs of God. Why must we be ruled by the few that say oh that offends me.
Name: Maria Ramirez
Hometown: San Diego, CA
I think it is interesting how certain people do not want to "push" religion in the classroom, yet they want to "push" the theory of Darwinism. We have to remember that this is a theory and not a fact. It has never been proven.
Name: John Kluge
Hometown: Greenwood, La
Please do not think I am being sarcastic when I say, "Thank God!!" for an intelligent decision on the part of the Judicial Branch. The constitution is supposed to protect the minority from the majority in cases like this.
Hometown: Cerritos, CA
Even though I may not agree with the theory itself, I think that all plausable theories should be offered to students so that they can make up their own minds. I attended a private school and was not taught the theory of evolution. I think that all schools should offer all theories, and teach them in a systematic way so as to empower students to decide what they believe for themselves.
Name: Luke Hinton
Hometown: Princeton, KY
As a Christian, I obviously believe that the God of the Bible created the universe. My faith is just as reasonable as an atheist, and it actually takes less faith to believe in a Designer than to believe that everything came from nothing by nothing and evolved by chance. Schools should teach both. This is not about separation of church and state; everyone takes that out of context. The state is not trying to control the church, and PA is claiming no specific religion by teaching creationism; they are teaching a theory based on faith and more evidence than evolutionists have.
Hometown: Taylor Michigan
He is advancing the idea that's it's OK to infringe on the religious freedom and freedom of speech of anyone who actually believes in God.
Name: Michael Castaldo
Hometown: Morehead, Kentucky
The judge is absolutely right. Intelligent Design is just as much of a 'science' as Phrenology and Alchemy are, which is to say it's not! Thankfully, in a day and age where people want to regress into a mythological viewpoint, we have people like this judge who try and teach our children reason and logic, rather then faith and foolishness.
Hometown: New York
Totally no base for ruling! Darwinism is no different than Creationism in that they both promote a religion. The judge's ruling in a sense promotes one religion over another. The state religion is now being imposed on all citizens, and the discrediting of others beliefs is now common practice. Bottom line = Communism is here and growing!! Beware the thought police!!! Before long religion other than the government sponsored religion of atheism (Communism)will be illegal.
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
I think there needs to be alternative views on this matter. Teaching children only 1 theory is very close minded and limiting. If they have questions and evolution can't explain it, it's up to the child and their parents to find the answers. School is for learning and exploring possibilities; I think the judge's ruling is biased and unfair.
Name: Keith D. Hansen
Hometown: East Stroudsburg, PA
This judge has just proclaimed that Unintelligent Design is the only acceptable view for the modern, secular mindset. In other words, our children are to be indoctrinated with a reality of chance, accident, and meaningless chaos. In such a world, human life is expendable in a neverending fight for survival. Is it any wonder that America has become plagued with a dead, flat world of greedy consumerism, full of paranoia, isolation, and violence.
Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Is science going to live in their own stone age? Many scientists think it rational and reasonable that Intellegent Design is part of the origins of our universe. To say it is only a religious ploy seems like keeping your head in the sand. Like new discoveries don't ever debunk old theories? I think the judge got it wrong this time.
Name: Heather Wax
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
I think the Dover School board did a terrible disservice to the proponents of Intelligent Design and to students everywhere. They mixed intelligent design with creation science (for instance, using creation science textbooks to supposedly teach intelligent design), thus giving a bad name to the field of intelligent design - and resulted in having this very interesting and secular theory banned from public schools.
Hometown: Dayton Ohio
This is a true win for America! We cannot allow one religious group to force it's beliefs on our children any longer. It should be left to families and churches to share the religious stories never the government or the schools. I do not want any church determining what will be taught to my children. That is my job. I am glad that this community and this judge is standing up.
Hometown: Buda Texas
A good day for religious freedom. A good day for freedom from religion. A good day for science. A good day for America.
Name: LaShawna Powers
Hometown: Pittsburg, KS
I agree with the judge's ruling. While I am sympathetic to the idea that there may be a higher power guiding life on Earth, that idea is not guided by scientific principles, cannot be falsified, and has no place in a science classroom.
Name: Christina Adami
Hometown: Daly City, CA
I think it is the most sense I've heard in a while on the topic. Religion has no place in public schools. If parents want their children to learn about ID, then they can teach it at home or in Sunday school at church. Forcing science instructors to teach it is going too far.
Name: Kenneth Davis
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
The judge ruled the right way. Leave the teachings of 'intelligent' design to the churches and leave the academics to the schools. Don't like this? Then home school your kids. I don't want my tax dollars going to support something I don't believe in nor belive should be taught.
Hometown: Charlottesville, VA
I believe this is another liberal ruling by another liberal judge. This type of thinking is why our society is suffering a moral decline and will collapse from within as Rome did.
Name: Robert J. Tobin
Judge Jones, bless his heart and soul, redeemed the good name of Pennsylvania with his decision today. As a Pennsylvanian, I'm all too acutely aware of the high density of Christian Taliban pinheads and evangelical know-nothings who infest this state's midsection like the biblical plague of locusts (make that "cockroaches", in modern terms). Once again, these pious frauds have received another well deserved judicial slap on the side of their collective heads to be reminded-- ad infinitum-- that the United States of America is a constitutional repubic, and NOT a lock-step Christian theocracy.
Name: Carol Calkins
Hometown: Bailey, CO
I think our founding fathers are turning over in their graves. This country was founded on Christian principles and now the very judicial system that they set up is shutting down the very belief system that set it up in the first place. There is no real scientific knowledge of how life on earth came about and the theory of evolution is no more valid than intelligent design. When you think of the complexities of the human body and of all life on earth, it seems completely, utterly ridiculous that it all happened by chance.
I applaud Judge Jones' ruling. He identifies Intelligent Design for what it is - thinly veiled religious teaching. The founding fathers envisioned a country with a separation between church and state. I am increasingly alarmed that religion and government are fusing. The place for religious teachings is in a theology class, or a philosophy class, or in a private religious school. Not in a public institution paid for with our tax dollars. This country was founded on freedom - of speech, religious practice, right to assemble. It is becoming an intolerant, fundamentalist state which is forcing the agenda of one dogma down the throats of all. America is starting to look like the Taliban. Good for you, Judge Jones!
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Science is not a place for ideology or theology, it is instead a place where facts and ideas and premises are put forward and then either supported or changed by facts. Religion however puts forth a premise and then asks that facts not be presented to debunk it, instead you must accept the premise on faith. The two standards are oposites and you should never try to confuse one with the other. I believe there is a place for both, however never, never never should we try to combine them.
Name: Maria Barracca
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
I applaud the judge's ruling. I went to a Catholic high school where evolution was taught in biology class and there was never a conflict between science and religion. Our biology teacher, who was a nun, started our first class by telling us that as long as we believed that there was a God somehow started it all, there was no conflict. The best science teachers I ever had were in high school and they were all nuns.
Name: Diana Tacey
Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona
I see no reason why all theories of the origin and design of man and the universe cannot be openly and freely considered. Unless Charles Darwin was available and had a front row seat to observe the creation of the universe and man, he cannot be counted on as the only source of leadership and expertise in this area.
Hometown: New York, NY
The judge is depriving students of an important part of their education. The students have no other option but to believe the Darwin theory is the only answer to our creation. If the school board wants ID in their curriculum, the judge should have no say in the matter.
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Finally, some sanity in a sea of chaos. Conservatives out there are trying to destroy science and evolution, simply because they cannot think "outside the box" when it comes to the our origins of our species. Here is a judge, appointed by Bush, who had the courage to say "enough already". A question to conservatives out there, "Would it be permissible to teach Darwin in Sunday school classes around the USA?". The answer is obviously NO, and yet it seems justifiable to these "wing-nuts" to introduce religion into science classes. Wake up America! Take this country back from the 21st century Puritans that are destroying it!
Name: Matthew Statler
Hometown: Riverside, Ca
This is just ABSURD. Why should it be that ID should be taken out of the classroom?? Because it is a ruse for religion? Well, who cares! ID is not only a very credible theory, but many say it even trumps evolutionary theory. The fact that it might be a better alternative should be reason enough to teach it.
Hometown: Atlanta Georgia
I am very disappointed. I was looking forward to a generation of scientific illiterates where my children would be one of the few who could actually compete for real sciences jobs. Of course they would probably have to work overseas, so there is a silver lining to the decision.