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May/June 2006

Discover more articles from this issue.

Then God…

Children seem to have an innate fascination with dinosaurs. I know this from my days as a book editor. Children's books on, about or illustrated with...

Creation as Prologue

Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (1859) shattered faith in Creation, God, and other fundamental Bible truths for many readers. Since that time...

Gallileo in Reverse

When Pennsylvania Judge John Jones wrote his opinion that "ID [intelligent design] is not science" in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School...

Science or Religion?

In the often cited—but rarely understood—historical case of Galileo, a court was called on to address scientific questions about the nature of...

Protect Religious Rhetoric?

Deeply held religious faith permeates every sphere of life. Spiritual people cannot segregate their religious belief from their mundane, daily life. A...

Intelligent Reasoning

When a federal court ruled unconstitutional the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board policy promoting "intelligent design" in the science classroom, it also...

Freedom of Speech in Democracies

Since the republican form of government presupposes freedom of speech as axiomatic, does it really need a defense? Logically speaking, it would not. Yet,...

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Published in the May/June 2006 Magazine
by Timothy Standish

In the often cited—but rarely understood—historical case of Galileo, a court was called on to address scientific questions about the nature of the universe. Unsurprisingly, the outcome of that proceeding was a disastrous affirmation of the orthodoxy current at the time. Courtrooms have never been a good forum for addressing questions of science or religion, and they remain ill equipped to address these questions in the present. This has been illustrated in the recent series of legal skirmishes over intelligent design (ID); in the near future we will no doubt see more examples of why these matters are best left in the world of academia and out of the realm of public policy.

ID is a theory that states: "Certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." On cursory examination this modest proposal does not sound like a religious doctrine, but in the recent case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District the question of whether ID is religion was answered with a resounding "Yes." In closing arguments, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that "at this trial, plaintiffs have submitted overwhelming evidence that intelligent design is just a new name for creationism discarding a few of traditional creationism tenets, such as direct reference to God or the Bible and a specific commitment to a young earth, but maintaining essential aspects, particularly the special creation of kinds by a supernatural actor."

Judge John E. Jones III agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that ID is equivalent to creationism and, as creationism has been previously ruled to be religious, teaching it in government-run schools is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. His ruling states: "To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I,

Author: Timothy Standish

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