Steve Petermann at Telic Thoughts invites us to try a thought experiment:
Suppose there is an alternate universe where there is also a trial in Dover, PA. However, in this universe a few things are different. In this universe this is how evolution is currently taught in high school biology classes:
Evolution means change over time. Observation suggests that life has evolved with some form of common descent. It also suggests that change occurs because of mutations in the genome where the environment has some effect on what gets passed on from one generation to the next. Except for materials on fossils and genetics, that's it.
Now in Dover a majority of the school board members believe that this explanation of biotic emergence is scientifically inadequate. They claim that the best scientific explanation is that mutations occur strictly by chance, that they are unguided and purposeless. These board members are known as evangelical atheists and deists. They vote to include this additional level of explanation in high school biology classes. But some parents of students sue because they believe that this additional material does not belong in science class and is instead an attempt to smuggle atheism or deism into public schools. A trial ensues.
The plaintiffs offer expert witnesses who argue that the additional material is not scientific because it cannot be tested or falsified. They also challenge the defense experts claim to be able to scientifically detect what is unguided and purposeless in evolution. Then they call witnesses who testify that the board members who pushed for the new syllabus have often talked about how a knowledge of science naturally leads to atheism or deism.
The defense calls expert witnesses who claim to offer scientific evidence that unguidedness and purposelessness in evolution can be detected. They claim it offers the best scientific explanation available and therefore should be included in science classes. They also assert that the religious beliefs of board members are irrelevant to the issue.
Given that this universe has the same constitution as in ours, how should the judge rule?
Well, regardless of how he should rule, if he's Judge John Jones he would rule exactly opposite of the way he decided in the real Kitzmiller case, of course. He would find in favor of the school board since they're the defenders, in this hypothetical case, of materialist metaphysics.
But Petermann's point is well taken. The belief that the development of life is an unguided, purposeless process is no less "religious," and no more scientific, than is the contrary claim that life is the product of intelligent planning. Sooner or later even Judge Jones will realize this.