Winner 2007

NOVA: Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

NOVA/WGBH Educational Foundation, Vulcan Productions Inc., The Big Table Film Company

In 2004, a group of parents in Dover, Pennsylvania, sued their local school board. The suit protested the board’s requirement that science teachers must read a statement telling their students that intelligent design, or “I.D.,” is a legitimate scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. The plaintiffs argued that I.D. was merely creationism, the teaching of which in public schools is constitutionally prohibited, in disguise. Cameras were not allowed in the federal court, but Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial, an installment of NOVA, recreates verbatim key portions of the six-week trial. NOVA‘s point of view is undeniable. It is, after all, a series dedicated to explaining scientific thought and discovery. But its scrupulous even-handedness in this two-hour program is equally undeniable. It emerges not only in the compelling courtroom dramatizations but also in a respectful presentation of the school-board members and other Dover residents who believe that many life forms on Earth were created instantly by an “intelligent agent.” For putting this divisive issue before a wide audience while demonstrating that Darwin’s theory is essential to biological science yet compatible with religious belief, a Peabody Award goes to Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.


Senior executive producer: Paula S. Apsell. Executives-in-charge: Paul G. Allen, Jody Patton. Executive producers: Richard Hutton. Producers: Joseph McMaster, Gary Johnstone, Vanessa Tovell. Supervising producer: Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss. Senior producer: Susanne Simpson. Writer: Joseph McMaster. Director: Gary Johnstone, Joseph McMaster.