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Law and Social Movements - Essay Example

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The Intelligent Design Movement, as a political force, has encountered resistance and unforeseen difficulties in their effort to affect social change. The issue of the movement, the teaching of the Intelligent Design Theory in public schools, has been met with some criticism…
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Download file to see previous pages Referred to as the Christian Right, they were the key to the Republican victories in 2004. They fueled the Republican control of the House, Senate, and Oval Office. Yet, they have still failed to control the destiny of their agenda of moving the Intelligent Design theory closer to the classroom. The movement has been unable to form crucial coalitions and enlist other groups to further their cause. With the exception of isolated activism at a local level, the movement has stalled in their efforts to spotlight Intelligent Design.
Even the isolated, local court activity is waning. The stunning case of Kitzmiller vs. Dover in Dover, PA. has garnered the nation's attention. Because of the blatant Christian agenda, and the school board's past support for creationism, the district is in jeopardy of losing the case and acquiring a 1 million-dollar legal expense bill. (Goodstein, 2005) This will only serve to chill efforts by other school boards already strapped for much needed funds.
Adding to the difficulty of the movement is the perception of the public at large. As people view the movement as a fundamental extension of Christianity, the movement does not portray other, more acceptable, aspects of the group. The values that one would anticipate the group to herald are not expressed in terms of social programs or pacification of defense policies. The movement has instead made a decision to live or die on the issue of Intelligent Design.
In a technological world where the importance of education and the value of science is put to the forefront, Intelligent Design reaches another hurdle. Though the movement has packaged the theory as science, the public is still acutely aware of its theo-centric implications. Phillip Johnson, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and major supporter of Intelligent Design stated in a 2003 radio interview, "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit, so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools." (as cited in Nickson, 2004). In their effort to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design, they have alienated the groups they need the most support from, educators and scientists. This miscalculation has left the movement with a weakened political apparatus and limited resources to turn to for support.
The movement has failed in its efforts to be embraced by the scientific community even though they have a history and awareness of the importance of the requirements necessary to be accepted into the realm of science. Even so, they have lacked the will to make a major push on that front. Its critics contend that no scientific research has been published and no articles have been presented that meet peer review. They further charge that the theory does not meet the Daubert Standard set forth by the Supreme Court in 1993 as a standard for scientific evidence. (Wikipedia, 2005)
The move to get Intelligent Design accepted by science without the credentials required has further polarized the opposing parties. Crippled with a stagnated and polarized political arm, the movement has turned to the courts. In various heartland arenas, local and state school boards have taken the issue to the courts for resolution. This may be one more expenditure of political capital and goodwill that they can ill-afford to squander. Courts can settle ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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