Dover ID movie, “Judgment Day,” now in one video

November 10, 2011 • 11:35 am

The excellent NOVA movie “Judgment Day” was previously available on YouTube only in snippets.

Now, though, one of our ambitious readers, Brian, has combined the parts and posted them as a single two-hour movie. I’ve embedded it below.

The movie details the shenanigans in Dover, Pennsylvania, when creationists tried to sneak the “theory” of intelligent design into high-school science classes.  After an illuminating trial, during which IDers like Michael Behe were thoroughly trounced, Judge Jones pronounced intelligent design as “not science.”

The defeat marked, I think, the beginning of the end for the intelligent design movement.  The Discovery Institute hasn’t been the same since:  they’re now reduced to carping and whining about evolution, and criticizing the theological sophistication of people like me.  A while back they promised that they’d produce “real science” and that this was right around the corner.  So far, despite mighty hacks, they’ve coughed up nothing.

If you haven’t seen the film (and you should), here it is.  Thanks to Brian for combining the bits and posting them.

34 thoughts on “Dover ID movie, “Judgment Day,” now in one video

  1. This is one of the GREAT Nova episodes. I have it on DVD and offer it to anybody who wants to know about ID and what it really is. I LOVE their finding the “transitional form” between “creator” and “intelligent designer”.

    1. While the chart Forrest and the team produced (showing how different editions of OPAP substituted “creation” for “intelligent design”) was used in trial, note that Matzke et al. didn’t find “cdesign proponentists” until after the trial was over. So, sadly, that icing on the cake wasn’t part of the trial presentations.

      My favorite part of the NOVA program is the replication of Behe’s testimony. Like Fey doing Palin – verbatim quoting to make the point.

      1. “Matzke et al. didn’t find ‘cdesign proponentists’ until after the trial was over.”

        Such a shame: I laughed out loud at that bit. All respect to Barbara Forrest for wading through those 7,000 pages of ID and DI documents. Don’tcha just love it when they condemn themselves through their own mouths?

        Great video; thanks for the entertainment.

  2. Its also on Netflix Instantview. It was a really impressive work, and I particularly liked when the Evolution attorney walled Behe up behind a wall of books about the evolution on the immune system.

    1. None of which he regarded as being good enough evidence, as I recall. Equally stunning is Behe’s interview by D.J. Grothe on Point of Inquiry on November 9, 2007. I recall bursting out laughing when Behe told Grothe that he thought his testimony during the Kitzmiller case had gone well.

      1. No, he’d said that nothing had been produced on the subject of the evolution of the human immune system and nothing could be produced, at which point the attorney brought in the books and asked if he’d read any of the enormous stack.

        1. Behe’s arguments only work if the people listening trust him, are not versed on the subject, and never fact check afterwards. Clearly, he didn’t know who he was messing with…. to quote Omar of the Wire, if you come at the king, you best not miss.

    1. I can’t watch it at the PBS site (and I detest watching video on a web page anyway).

      I’m glad it’s now on YouTube where I can use commonly-available tools to download it and watch at leisure.

    1. I think I’ve watched it at PBS’ website at least 3 times. Superb.

      I read the entire trial transcript, as well. (eh, I like to read transcripts. What can I say?)

      1. I’ve probably done the same, though in bits and pieces.

        Kevin Padian, via NSCE, also made all his slides from the trial open source on the web. You can find them

  3. I was living in Dover at the time teaching Business at a local College…When this ridiculousness started happening I picked up “The Blind Watchmaker”…then I picked up other books such as “Why Evolution is True” and continued on from there. While I never doubted evolution (I wasn’t raised in a church so I wasn’t infected), these books opened my mind to what evolution and science are.

    In a way I owe those misguided fools thanks for pushing this endeavor. They nudged me down the road to knowledge and understanding of our world.

    But I would like my tax dollars back! (As an aside, I purposefully moved out of Dover the next year BECAUSE of this attempt to turn the clock back a century or so!)

  4. The book Monkey Girl is one of the best books I have read in a while. It dives into the lead up to the trial and documents it in beautiful detail as well. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.

  5. Damned. Last thing I wanted to do was sit and watch that video on this dismal Thursday. But, I did.

    Thank you for alerting me to it and for providing the link.

    An excellent job. I will forward your email to friends and colleagues

  6. One of my favorite things ever on the internet is this comment thread on Greta Christina’s old site, where a creationist huffily asserted that PBS had made up dialogue and put it in the mouths of the actors playing creationists to make the real creationists seem foolish. (Search for “blilley”.)

    When I pointed out that all the dialogue in “Judgment Day” was taken directly from trial transcripts, he got real quiet. 🙂

  7. The funny thing is that I was just thinking about this video this afternoon.

    Specifically the part about the cross examination involving Judge Jones’ reaction upon hearing that Bill Buckingham had lied under oath earlier in the trial.

    It must be a sign that I should watch it again.

  8. The defeat marked, I think, the beginning of the end for the intelligent design movement.

    Wish I were less skeptical. I’d predict they’ll lie low for a while, then pop up again. These people are like whack-a-mole.

    1. You may be right, but so’s Jerry – they might weel return, they’ll just be called something else; a more subtle creationist dog-whistle than “intelligent design”.

      They seem to like the phrase “teach both sides” at the moment as it has the sheen of fairness, but that usually only lasts as long as it takes to discover what the other “side” actually constitutes.

    2. And science keeps marches on. The guys for ID at Dover all had basically the same arguments and examples, and work was being done on all of the problems they brought up. As the gaps get closed, it becomes harder and harder to argue that the existence of a particular molecule is evolution breaking evidence, when all the previous similar ones turned out to have reasonable evolutionary explanations. All the while, these guys are still shackled to 6 days and flood…

  9. This is a great video – definitely the preamble to the epitaph for ID whose supporters, as Jerry notes, are more or less reduced to moaning about evolutionism, lame PR and very little else. Certainly nothing approaching original scientific research.

    As a companion piece, I urge you all to read Lauri Lebo’s book on the affair, “The Devil in Dover”. Lauri’s a reporter and (I think, at the time) a local resident, and she gives a great presentation of what was happening – she also intersperses the story with personal notes on her occasionally difficult relationship with her father, a conservative creationist. It’s a very engaging read – buy it now.

  10. Jerry,

    You say:
    “The defeat marked, I think, the beginning of the end for the intelligent design movement. The Discovery Institute hasn’t been the same since: they’re now reduced to carping and whining about evolution, and criticizing the theological sophistication of people like me. A while back they promised that they’d produce “real science” and that this was right around the corner. So far, despite mighty hacks, they’ve coughed up nothing.”

    Unfortunately here in the UK, we have an upsurge of ID creationism, mediated by the Centre for Intelligent Design (C4ID). C4ID is run by a triumvirate of evangelical christians, and seems to regurgitate Discovery Institute guff. And in an environment where a large proportion of publicly funded schools are run by churches, one needs vigilance to keep ID creationism at bay. Many people continue to be taken in by ID’s superficially sciencey language.

    Thank you for posting the link to this video. Well worth watching.


  11. I’ve seen the episode twice already, but I’ve never actually read any part of the court transcript until now. So I spent some time looking at Miller’s testimony on the second day of the trial, and it certainly elicits an amazing contrast between the explanatory power of evolution and the failure of ID. The questions offered by the defense (in this case, the ID side) during cross-examination were often meandering, and their arguments were ambiguous. They discussed the nature of science and Behe’s work without providing a coherent point that would assist their side. At one point the lawyer tried to draw an analogy between biochemistry and machines, but it went nowhere. Only at the end did the defense finally pressure Miller on whether Darwin’s original formulations of evolution were inadequate or merely incomplete, but it was an inconsequential argument that came far too late. Miller came out of it extremely well. It was clear that he had thought out everything long before the trial and was prepared for the questioning; more proof that there is almost nothing new about ID. And the lawyer could never have actually challenged Miller on scientific grounds.

    ID will always have trouble gaining a foothold – they look feeble, at best, without their own platform to prevaricate – and they will never have a formal scientific definition for design, because design requires an inference about the origin of an object or thing through experience. I know that a machine is designed by humans because it is always designed by humans. But the ID proponents cannot apply the same reasoning to organic life. So they resort to confronting evolution directly, hoping that if all natural processes were defeated, we would have to accept design by default.

  12. I am not sure what is the agenda of the producers of the video.
    There’s a subtle issue with the presentation of intelligent design proponents (up to the point I watched so far).
    They’re all prominently presented as from different respectable universities. However, their departmental affiliation is not included.
    It’s interesting that none of them is actually a biologist. Prof. Steve Fuller is a sociologist. Phillip Johnson is a Law professor.
    Why are they even considered as having an interesting opinion?

    This reminds me one of Dana O’Brien’s jokes about interviewing a physicist about gravity and then turning to someone who explains that the stars are hung from a big blanket on the sky (or something similar).


  13. I’m meant to be doing Uni work, but I couldn’t drag myself away from this documentary. It really is excellent. 2 minutes in is enough to make blood boil

    Bit of an important evolution slip-up on the narrator’s part at about 14:12 mind you, but that’s just me nit-picking I guess.

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