Evolution in public schools focus of documentary showing

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney biology department and Sigma Xi science society are co-sponsoring the showing of a well-known documentary that examines teaching evolution in public schools.

JudgmentDay2The Public Broadcasting Service documentary “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” will be shown Friday (Feb. 14) at 2:30 p.m. at the UNK Alumni House, 2222 Ninth Ave. A discussion of the documentary will follow.

The event is open to the public. Snacks are provided, but attendees are asked to bring their own beverages.

The event is hosted in conjunction with Darwin Day, a celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on Feb. 12, 1809. The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science and promote science.

“Judgment Day” captures the turmoil that tore apart the rural community of Dover, Penn., in one of the more recent battles over teaching evolution in public schools.

In 2004, the Dover school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to high school biology students suggesting there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution called intelligent design – the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent.

Several teachers refused to read the statement and a federal lawsuit, Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District, was filed to stop the district from mandating the teaching of intelligent design.

The film features interviews with the judge, witnesses, parents, teachers, town officials and lawyers as well as re-enacted scenes using the official court transcripts of the trial.

Source: Brad Erickson, associate professor of biology, 308.865.8912

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