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60-Second Science

Super NOVA: The Dover Scopes Trial

The latest episode of NOVA is a two-hour examination of the 2005 Dover, PA, intelligent design-evolution trial. Steve Mirsky reports. See pbs.org/nova/id

In September 2005 I attended the beginning of the now famous Dover, Pennsylvania, evolution vs. intelligent design trial.  I was present for opening arguments by both sides.  And I also was in the courtroom for the testimony of expert witness Ken Miller, a well-known evolutionary biologist and author from Brown University.  Throw out your TV-drama influenced notions of the assured-lawyer-with-nervous-witness interaction.  Miller easily parried every attack by the lawyer for the intelligent design side.  

On November 13, the PBS TV program NOVA debuted a two-hour episode devoted to the Dover trial.  It included re-enactments of some of the most compelling sections of the actual courtroom testimony, including some of Ken Miller’s.  And the segment in which witnesses clearly show the evolution of the intelligent design textbook from its creationist origins is ironically delicious.  The NOVA show is repeated numerous times this week.  It’ll also be available in its entirety at pbs.org/nova/id starting November 16th.

—Steve Mirsky   

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