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The Devil in Dover: An Insider's Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  194 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Local newspaper reporter Lauri Lebo was handed the story of a lifetime when the Dover (Pennsylvania) School Board adopted a measure to require its ninth-grade biology students to learn about intelligent design. In a case that recalled the famed 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial and made international headlines, eleven parents sued the school board. When the case wound up in feder ...more
Hardcover, 238 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by The New Press
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Community Reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Feb 05, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it
Shelves: history

An interesting--although far from gripping--examination of the Intelligent Design court case involving the Dover (Pennsylvania) school board, the Discovery Institute and the People for the American Way. It demonstrates that "thou shalt not bear false witness" is, for the evangelical right, no more than an optional commandment.

Lebo--a local reporter--is particular effective when she shows how the fundamentalist members of the school board clearly lied on the witness stand, and how their fellow
Andrew Breslin
Feb 12, 2015 Andrew Breslin rated it it was amazing
Orangutans split off from the common ancestor to all of today's great apes about 12 million years ago. Gorillas diverged about 4 million years after that. Then, about 4 million years ago, our evolving primate progenitor split again, one line producing today’s chimpanzees and bonobos. The other evolved to become human beings, a species with the unprecedented ability to think deeply and use reason and mathematics and science and logic. With the notable exception of “intelligent design” proponents. ...more
Apr 25, 2012 Pumpkinbear rated it it was amazing
The debate between Creationism and Evolution is WAY more than simple black and white. Well, it IS simple black and white, since Creationism is religion and Evolution is science, but how creationism and evolution are perceived, how they are promoted, how they are defended...THAT is way more than simple black and white.

Lebo has a unique perspective on the "debate", since she is both a journalist with the talent to do more than just quote and summarize (although how far she should take this ability
Jun 17, 2008 Mazola1 rated it really liked it
This account of the Pennsylvania "intelligent design" trial was written by a reporter for one of the local newspapers. Hence the description in the subtitle, "an insider's story of dogma v. darwinism in small town America." Ms. Lebo was personally acquainted with many of the key players. She grew up in Dover, and reported on the school board prior to the lawsuit which made Dover famous. She was well aware of the tensions and hostilities leading up to the lawsuit, which were greatly magnified by ...more
This book is not about the battle between religion and science—it’s about the battle between truth and lies. Since the Supreme Court outlawed teaching of biblical creationism in 1987, religious fundamentalist have continued to scheme to undermine the teaching of common origins and Darwinian evolution through natural selection. Fundamentalists “evolved” ‘Creation Science’ [sic] into ‘Intelligent Design’ which was adopted into the high school science curriculum of Dover, PA in 2004. For enthusiast ...more
Nov 17, 2015 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, religion
The strength and weakness of this book is that Lebo is a local--she knew all of the players, knew their neighbors, knew the reporters who were called liars and compelled to testify. That knowledge allows her to paint certain individuals (such as Buckingham, an oxycontin-abusing, authoritarian, religious zealot) with sympathy. I found myself feeling sorry for him towards the end of the book. She also uses the intelligent design trial to examine her relationship with her father, a fundamentalist C ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Colin rated it really liked it
This is a very good personally narrative of the Dover trial. The writer is a local journalist, and this gives her an objective overall view of everything that happened. Lebo is also a local to the area, so the book incorporates her own personal interactions with the people involved in the trial.

The one thing that bothered me was the discussion throughout that one can be both religious and accept evolution. This isn't really an issue with Lebo's writing; it's a reflection of the overall discussi
In 1987 the US Supreme Court ruled that religious beliefs on creation cannot be taught in school science classes. Fundamentalist groups were outraged, but swiftly came up with a new approach: that of Intelligent Design. They positioned it not as a religious belief, but as a scientific alternative to ‘Darwinism’. And, simultaneously, they set about undermining the entire concept of science, explicitly trying to replace the dominant scientific worldview with a version that fit with their own theol ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Perpetualstudent rated it it was amazing
This is a very riviting story about Kitzmiller v. Dover, written by a local journalist that was covering the trial for her local paper. This trial was over the inclusion of Intelligent Design/Creationism into the science classes in Dover. I was familiar already with most of the details (it is the only case that I have actually read the Judges ruling,) but not some of the personal aspects. The author is sympathetic to the board members and tries to understand their position and motivations. Why d ...more
Jun 18, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
My very first Kindle purchase and full read!

Lebo's account of the Dover controversy and trial is engrossing. She's extremely skilled at sharing the drama and she's not afraid to make the story personal, since it *was* personal for her. I only found the one chapter describing her road trip between the end of the trial and Judge Jones' release of his ruling to be somewhat distracting or out of place, but since she had made her coverage so personal, even then you will grant her some leeway.

I took a
Dec 12, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting and highly readable account of the 2004 court case in Dover, Pennsylvania, wherein local school board officials attempted to insert "Intelligent Design" (in a thinly disguised attempt to avoid openly mentioning biblical creationism) into the local high school biology curriculum. This resulted in a major federal court case, pitting local residents against each other in a 21st century reprise of the Scopes trial.

Lebo's analysis of the scientific issues (evolution, creati
Neil McGarry
Mar 24, 2012 Neil McGarry rated it really liked it
As has been noted in other reviews, this book is a view of Kitzmiller vs. Dover, yet another battle in the war between the theory of evolution and the Christian story of creation.

What I found particularly interesting is the way Lebo weaves her personal experience of these events into the story. As the trial goes on Lebo finds herself leaning increasingly towards the theory of evolution, which brings her into inevitable conflict with her fundamentalist father. She details how neighbor is turned
Jan 16, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
A Remarkable, Poignant, and Vivid Account of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Trial as Told By a Local Journalist

If Fundamentalist Protestant Christian religious zealots Alan Bonsell and Bill Buckingham had sought to introduce the teaching of Intelligent Design in the biology classrooms of New York City's Stuyvesant High School, then theirs would have been an utterly spectacular failure, recognized by many as a blatantly brazen attempt in injecting religion into science classrooms. Why? Though in recent
Jul 12, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
If you have any interest in science education or the influence of hard-right Christianity at the local level, then this book is a must-read.

I read pretty much the entire book while flying across the country. I'd planned to spend the flight watching a movie or something to pass the time, but this book, once I got started, I had to keep going. It's as well-written as any novel with a surprisingly emotional core.

I remember when the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision came down. I was in college, just st
Mar 29, 2009 Shinynickel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people considering vast legal battles over issues they haven't done their homework on
I was in the library on Friday picking up an Interlibrary Loan book, and noticed the Devil in Dover sitting on the New Arrivals shelf.

Less than 48 hours later I have read it. Damn, I enjoyed this book.

First things first - Lebo is a journalist, and so the book is very clearly written and a fast read. It covers the Dover Trial in Pennsylvania, where a creationist school board attempted to alter Dover's science curriculum so that Intelligent Design would be taught alongside evolution. Local paren
Dec 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
This book is a journalist’s coverage of the struggle in one New England town over whether to teach “intelligent design” alongside evolution in the public school. The school board allowed itself to be a test case in the controversy by bringing in the Thomas More Law Center, a group devoted to stirring the waters in the debate over “intelligent design”. When it became clear that the board’s use of the term “creationism” would hamper their case, members flat out lied, denying they’d said stuff that ...more
Mel Tungate
Jan 09, 2010 Mel Tungate rated it really liked it
Lauri Lebo was a local reporter in Dover, Pennsylvania where the local school board tried to put intelligent design in the science curriculem in the high school. Her books is a straight forward accounting of the resultant activity and trial.

Simply, intelligent design is religion. Putting ID in the classroom was found to be, like the many cases preceding it, unconstitutional.

The local school board made every mistake in the book.

This trial, and this book, should be a warning for those who want to
Doug Schwer
Feb 07, 2012 Doug Schwer rated it liked it
This book was an account of the Dover trial (the school board tried to introduce intelligent design into schools) written by a reporter who attended the whole trial. It was a good account and covered all the important events (which I already knew since I followed the trial closely) and also talked about some of her personal struggles with her fundamentalist father. Her writing is nothing special, although she does bring up some interesting points, especially about journalistic reporting for a ca ...more
Scott Eaton
Jan 08, 2014 Scott Eaton rated it it was ok
This was an interesting and engaging book about the battle between evolution and creation in a public school system. It was not completely objective and biased toward evolution. While it was a good read, this is why I could only give it three stars.
Feb 01, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Lauri Lebo writes about the Kitzmiller v. Dover case from the unique perspective of someone who grew up in the local community. Her coverage of the trial is complete, if not overly thorough. If you're looking to gain an insight into how the trial affected "the locals," this is the book for you. But if you want a more detailed coverage of the trial itself, I'd recommend "40 Days and 40 Nights" instead.
May 15, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
I really recommend this book to anyone that wants to find out more about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District court case.

Being a reporter, Lauri is in a great position to write about this case, and she does a great job with her story. She includes good descriptions of the area, the people involved, and she documents the entire case so well that it was informative and easy to read.
Jed Lamprey
Apr 01, 2013 Jed Lamprey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, ground-level account of the Dover Trial of 2005, where Intelligent Design was revealed as just the new marketing name/strategy for Creationism. Also has a good subplot of pointing out that just because a journalist is objective, does not necessarily mean portraying both sides equally - sometimes one side really is clearly in the right.
Aug 27, 2009 Ted rated it it was amazing
Shelves: evolution-debate
Excellent book concerning the Evolution/Intelligent Design trial in Dover PA in 2005. This book presents it in a very personal way and helped gain an understanding of the personalities involved more than the clinical details of the trial. She made it a personal story, and a very enjoyable look at the debate.
Jun 05, 2008 Terry added it
Recommends it for: Ann Coyle, Nat Frazer, Bruce Caster
This book has me really excited. I covered a very small part of the Dover Area School District Intelligent Design controversy. My colleague and good friend Lauri Lebo covered the federal trial - all six weeks of it - and this book is the result. I haven't even begun reading yet, and I can recommend it!
Tom Roche
Feb 08, 2012 Tom Roche rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Matthew Chapman's great account of this trial, looking forward to reading Lauri's. Especially since as of Jan 2012, several states are trying to push through creationism teaching again, or giving parents the option to object to evolution being taught to their kids. Yes, January 2012. [FACEPALM]
Dec 30, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it
Lauri Lebo was a reporter for a local paper assigned to cover the Intelligent Design trial in which the judge reached the obvious decision. ID is not science. Lebo also offers her personal narrative from a fundamentalist childhood to adult rationality.
Aug 13, 2008 David rated it really liked it
An extremely compelling account of the Dover ID trial. Suffers slightly from first-book-itis, but is overall well-written. Rural small town meets national agenda, explodes in a poof of idiocy and lies.
As seen on Origins.
Richard Harden
Oct 03, 2009 Richard Harden rated it really liked it
This is an important book that anyone who values education and intelligence should read.
Craig Evans
Jun 07, 2015 Craig Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, sociology
Own autographed copy. Met author at a conference in October 2012, Harrisburg PA.
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