A Judge of Character
Chapman, Matthew, The Humanist
I FIRST MET JUDGE JOHN E. JONES in 2005 when he was presiding over the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in Pennsylvania, in which a group of eleven parents were suing their local school district to prevent intelligent design being taught in science class. They argued that it was a religious theory, essentially creationism, and therefore contravened the establishment clause of the First Amendment. I was there as a reporter, and it was a very unusual trial, a fantastic intellectual debate involving politics, theology, the philosophy and history of science, and, most centrally, biology. And it was a real lesson for me and I think for Judge Jones as well, for everybody. There was no jury so Judge Jones would be the sole arbiter. And this was the year when President Bush--who had appointed Jones--said the jury was still out on evolution, and members of the press, myself included, wondered how this would affect him. When the trial was over I decided to write a book about it and so went to visit Judge Jones and his family in Pottsville.
Judge Jones was born and raised in Pennsylvania and educated entirely there. He went to Blue Mountain High School, a public school, and then on to Mercersburg Academy, a prep school from …
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Publication information: Article title: A Judge of Character. Contributors: Chapman, Matthew - Author. Magazine title: The Humanist. Volume: 69. Issue: 1 Publication date: January-February 2009. Page number: 24+. © 1999 American Humanist Association. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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