Intelligent Design and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District

The ruling was one in a series of developments addressing issues related to the American creationist movement and the separation of church and state. The scope of the ruling affected state schools and did not include independent schools, home schools, Sunday schools and Christian schools, all of whom remained free to teach creationism.

Within two years of the Edwards ruling a creationist textbook was produced: Of Pandas and People (1989), which attacked evolutionary biology without mentioning the identity of the supposed "intelligent designer." Drafts of the text used "creation" or "creator" before being changed to "intelligent design" or "designer" after the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling. This form of creationism, known as intelligent design creationism, was developed in the early 1990s.

This would eventually lead to another court case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which went to trial on September 26, 2005, and was decided in U.S. District Court on December 20, 2005, in favor of the plaintiffs, who charged that a mandate that intelligent design (ID) be taught was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. The opinion of Kitzmiller v. Dover was hailed as a landmark decision, firmly establishing that creationism and intelligent design were religious teachings and not areas of legitimate scientific research. Because the Dover Area School Board chose not to appeal, the case never reached a circuit court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Just as it is permissible to discuss the crucial role of religion in medieval European history, creationism may be discussed in a civics, current affairs, philosophy, or comparative religions class where the intent is to factually educate students about the diverse range of human political and religious beliefs. The line is crossed only when creationism is taught as science.