Today's New York Times also has an article about this Nova epsiode and here is show's producer, Paula Aspell, talking about her motivation to focus on the Dover trial:
But then, she said, she started to read news accounts of the six-week trial, held in central Pennsylvania in the fall of 2005. She read the court transcripts too. She remembered that in many polls almost half of Americans said they did not accept evolution. “As someone concerned about science literacy, that concerns me — a lot,” she said.Read the full article here.
And she thought that there was plenty of drama to be found in the stories of the science teachers in Dover, Pa., who refused to obey when the school board instructed them to present intelligent design as an antidote to Darwin; the parents who sued the board; a community divided by religion and politics; and a court full of witnesses who, though they did not rival the Scopes trial protagonists William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow for rhetorical flair, offered an abundance of spectacle.
And finally there was the judge who heard the case, John E. Jones III, a Republican appointed to the federal bench by President Bush. In a blunt verdict Judge Jones condemned the school board members’ position as “breathtakingly inane,” cast doubt on the honesty of some of their testimony and ruled that intelligent design was a religious creed with no place in a public school science class.
It was too good to pass up, Ms. Apsell said. The result is “Judgment Day,” a two-hour “Nova” segment that will have its premiere on PBS on Tuesday. With interviews and courtroom re-enactments, the film takes viewers through the trial, illuminating the theory of evolution, the flaws of intelligent design, the politics of those who back it and the course the case ran in Dover.