Intelligent design has lost big-time in the Dover, Pa., case. Federal Judge John said in his ruling that “We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom." A key point, I think, is Jones' rejection of the notion that evolution is somehow anti-religious:
Jones sharply rejected any suggestion that evolution was somehow at odds with religion. “Both defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption that is utterly false,” he wrote. “Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, plaintiff's scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.”
I don't really see this as a First Amendment case the way the judge does; the Establishment clause was meant to keep the federal government from inflicting a national religion on us. It became a tool to monitor classroom activity only through convoluted and tortuous reasoning in a series of decisions by various courts. It is a victory for common sense, however, in trying to keep science classrooms focused on science rather than matters of faith disguised as science.
This case has no immediate effect outside of Dover, but it could spark some debate and rethinking in other places, including, it is to be hoped, here. The General Assembly has enough on its plate.
Masson's blog has a post on the subject with some helpful links.