Nova: Season 35, Episode 5

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (13 Nov. 2007)

TV Episode  |  Documentary, Biography
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When the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania votes to require science teachers to read a statement touting Intelligent Design as a scientific alternative to Darwin's Theory of Evolution ... See full summary »


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Title: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (13 Nov 2007)

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (13 Nov 2007) on IMDb 8.6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Jay Benedict ...
Judge John Jones
Robert Muise
Michael Fitzpatrick ...
Scott Minnich
Paul Haley ...
Richard Thompson
Lewis Hancock ...
Michael Behe
Jeff Harding ...
Kenneth R. Miller
James Jordan ...
Bill Buckingham
Alan Bonsell
Jamie Lennox ...
Matt - AV Assistant
Eric Lorin ...
Eric Rothschild
Ryan McCluskey ...
Vic Walczak
Himself - Narrator
Paul Venables ...
Kevin Padian
Debora Weston ...
Barbara Forrest
Nigel Whitney ...
Stephen Harvey


When the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania votes to require science teachers to read a statement touting Intelligent Design as a scientific alternative to Darwin's Theory of Evolution parents sue the district, leading to a trial in which the judge must decide if Intelligent Design is merely a new name for creationism, already banned in public schools as being religious in nature. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

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13 November 2007 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Another jewel in Nova's crown...
6 September 2012 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

...and well worth the attention of the otherwise uninformed viewer, "Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" presents the basics of the ongoing evolution vs. creationism (oops, sorry, "intelligent design") controversy as it played out in the courts of Pennsylvania nearly a decade ago, driving a very strong nail into the coffin of said "intelligent design" attempting to pass itself off as science. Writer/co-director Joseph "The Elegant Universe" McMaster incorporates post facto interviews with all the major players on both sides along with dramatic re-enactments of key transcripts in the courtroom to present the story of a modern day Scopes Trial. The documentary is remarkably even-handed, containing almost no digs against the losing side, perhaps because it really wasn't necessary to get the gist of things across.

Speaking as an agnostic (i.e. weak atheist), it never ceases to bemuse me that such a large portion of the American population (something like 2 out of every 5 people, if memory serves) rejects the theory of evolution in favor of superstition. It's a sad reflection on the state of education and the gullibility of the American people. Then again, it's also a consequence of the very human fear of death and insignificance; theism is a remarkable palliative for existential dread. Perhaps proponents of rationalism and science might want to consider the need to do a better job of communicating and instilling in our youth the true and ennobling sense of wonder and purpose that a genuine understanding of the immense beauty and mystery of the universe in which we live provides. Just a thought.

9.5.14: Minor edit for clarity.

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