Former AU attorney honored for role in landmark creationism case.
Former Americans United attorney Richard B. Katskee recently received a 2014 Friend of Darwin Award from the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) for the vital role he played in a lawsuit challenging "intelligent design" (ID) in Pennsylvania.
Katskee, who serves on AU's Board of Trustees and is now an attorney with Mayer Brown in Washington, D.C., received the honor along with other attorneys for his work on the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover.
The lawsuit, in which Americans United served as co-counsel, struck down a central Pennsylvania school district's policy of using intelligent design in an attempt to undermine evolution.
Until Americans United and its allies made a successful legal challenge on behalf of a group of parents, the Dover Area School District required its science teachers to read students a statement in biology class telling them that biological evolution is a "theory" with "gaps ... for which there is no evidence." The statement encouraged students to learn about ID as an alternative to evolution.
Intelligent design is a form of neocreationism that teaches that life on Earth is so complex that it "owes its origin to a master intellect"--an intelligent, supernatural actor that most ID proponents identify as the Judeo-Christian god.
In response to the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled in 2005 that the Dover Area School District's pro-ID policy was unconstitutional.
NCSE said it presents the Friend of Darwin award annually "to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution have been truly outstanding."
In a press statement, NCSE Executive Director Ann Reid said: "The Kitzmiller legal team performed a huge service for this country. They effectively stopped intelligent design in its tracks, preventing copycat school districts from adopting Dover's ID policies. They have indeed earned their Friend of Darwin award."
Caption: Katskee: Evolution defender
Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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|Title Annotation:||PEOPLE & EVENTS|
|Publication:||Church & State|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2014|
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