Kitzmiller vs Dover and the Trans Rights Movement: A Historic Repetition
“Science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religion were to challenge evolution.” - Philip E Johnson (professor and co-founder of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement) “It is ID’s ‘project’ to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural.” - Steven Fuller (sociologist and ID proponent)
Let’s take a quick trip down history with the precedence of the quotes from above.
On December 20, 2005, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that Intelligent Design (ID) is ‘not science’, and that requiring teachers to teach both intelligent design and scientific evolution in the classroom violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. At that time, the Dover Area School District required its science teachers to read students a statement in ninth-grade biology telling them that scientific evolution is a “theory” with “gaps … for which there is no evidence.” Students were encouraged to explore intelligent design as an alternative to scientific evolution and were required to read through the ID book called Of Pandas and People. [i]
The entire ID movement failed (and continues to) to provide peer-reviewed studies and clinical findings of its purported ‘intelligent agent’, a self-aware entity responsible for the biological complexities that we find in nature. Lack of scientific method and rigor attributed to the failure of ID to be recognized as natural science.
So, why are we trying to draw parallels between the current gender identity education crisis in schools to the Kitzmiller vs Dover case?
This is because of the prescriptive nature of LGBTQ sex education and indoctrination that is occurring at schools as we speak. We have already touched on how certain educational materials constantly reinforce stereotypes based on the sexes instead of actual empirical observations.
While these attempts to create a more inclusive environment for gender-diverse children might be perceived as a ‘noble’ thing by contemporary social-justice activists, what is being ignored is the decades of clinical studies on childhood cognitive development and the intricacies and nuances associated with these findings. Classic cognitive development theories including Piaget’s model and Erikson’s stages of development indicate children start developing materialistic reasoning of their identity and societal roles only after age 12. Developmental psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg first proposed the concept of ‘Gender Constancy’ in the 1960s, referring to the cognitive stages of gender development and constancy in children. The stages that he proposed were threefold, namely
Stage 1: Gender labeling (by age 3) Stage 2: Gender stability (by age 5)
Stage 3: Gender constancy (by age 7)
By about age 6 or 7, Kohlberg asserted that children often come to terms with their biological sex and understand that their sex is permanent and that it cannot be changed. [v]
While decades of such scientific literature and clinical findings reflect the nuances of developmental growth as children grow through their puberty, we have organizations like The Trevor Project and Mermaids promoting their ‘Protect Trans Kids’ campaign, and the ‘Kids as young as 3 have a stable sense of gender’ narrative, on the contrary.
Gender theory, unlike biological sex and genetics, is not backed up by scientific-method and rigor. There is no solid evidence of a biological basis for the spectrum of gender identities.
Looping back to Kitzmiller, we could see recurring patterns of similar pseudoscientific lobbying preceding the court ruling. Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) is a clear example of such repetitive patterns.
This court case was regarding the legitimacy of creationism (a religious theory that life originated from supernatural acts of divine creation) taught in schools. This ruling preceded Kitzmiller in attempts to disparage scientific evolution learning in schools.
In Kitzmiller, the Dover Area School District of York County, Pennsylvania was sued by eleven parents for mandating the biology curriculum to ‘include’ intelligent design as an alternative theory to scientific evolution. Children were required to read Of Pandas and People, a school-level supplementary textbook that covered the ‘concepts’ of intelligent design. While the published versions of Pandas speak only abstractly of 'intelligent design,' the book's authors did not even adopt the label 'intelligent design' until after the Supreme Court issued its 1987 decision in Edwards barring the teaching of creation science in public schools. [ii]
The book was written in a way that any average reader would inevitably agree that any intelligent design they might perceive must be attributable to a so-called ‘Intelligent Designer’, thereby succumbing to the entire ID movement as a whole.
If ID proponents were to admit in front of a judge that intelligent design is faith masquerading as science, they would run headlong into the constitutional prohibition against governmental advocacy for sectarian religious views. In doing so, they would consign intelligent design to the same fate that befell creation
science after Edwards v. Aguillard. [ii]
Why does this sound utterly familiar with the current scenario?
In 2013, the UK-based trans charity organization Mermaids published a blog on their website promoting the ‘born in the wrong body’ agenda and subsequently releasing how-to manuals on ‘signs your child is trans’. Here are the receipts of those now-deleted posts from their website.
Very recently, Mermaids posted an uncanny introspective article on what the members of their group think about the whole ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative (cringeworthy, to say the least). The repeatedly used keywords on their blogsite in 2023 (as we speak) include ‘gender-affirming care’, ‘protect trans youth’, and ‘gender euphoria’. [vi] Such manipulative strategies targeted toward children imply an invitation to meditate on a fallacious view not grounded in natural science. Children who might have experienced autism, anxiety, trauma-related issues, or even previously identified as homosexual, are easily misled to latch on to the gender spectrum.
Like how ID proponents would "sanitize terminology, using euphemisms and code words" to camouflage their unscientific underpinnings, the current gender movement tried to establish a religion in disguise. This ideology is cleverly marketed in a way just enough to manipulate parents, children, and teachers alike. [ii]
All pseudoscientific movements have historically manipulated language and implemented devious strategies to establish control. We have witnessed these examples for centuries, from flat-earth believers to homeopathy fanatics to eugenicists and young-earth creationists.
Similarly, the current pro-trans movement furthers its sophistry by trying to blatantly market the lie that kids as young as three years old know and recognize their gender. Summarizing these analogies and patterns of historical recurrence, here’s a list of easily comparable catchlines from both of these pseudoscientific movements:
Natural science never purports a know-it-all attitude like how the pseudoscientific lobby purposefully does on a consistent basis. Acknowledging the unknowns, and working towards finding evidence, is all that science should be about.
While we are okay with the purported inclusive intentions of trans activism, we severely condemn any contempt towards natural science. Children do not deserve to be medical pawns in the prisons of radical ideology. Instead, years of clinical literature on child growth and development must be respected and acknowledged, leaving the responsibility to licensed healthcare practitioners and concerned parents. Not to radical ideologues and activists.