Do you consider the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision a victory of separation of Church & State or travesty that...?
.....discriminated against a theory which many Christians favor (Intelligent Design) that simply deserved mention as a legitimate alternative to the theory of evolution?
Were you surprised that a conservative, Bible-believing Christian appointed by President Bush not only ruled against what many considered "the Christian side" in the trial, but he delivered a very "aggressive" ruling that went farther than most anyone had anticipated -- such that his enemies labeled him an "activist judge who legislates from the bench"?
- secretsauceLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
Hmm ... the pivotal question of Dover wasn't about whether separation of Church and State should be respected (nobody questioned that), but whether Intelligent Design was religion and thus fell under that principle. And it was shown conclusively that it was (by being, in essence, a simple rebranding of vanilla Creationism).
[So anybody willing to argue that the 'miscarriage of the law' that occurred in Dover was discrimination against religious alternatives ... would be entirely missing the point.]
What worries me about the decision, is that by pivoting on the Separation question, the decision was not about whether ID was "not science", but whether it "was religion." Had the iD advocates on the school board and the Pandas publishers not been so completely inept, what might have happened? Had they not had their private religious motives so easy to document, had they not had their "cdesign proponentsists" moments, had Michael Behe been a little quicker on his feet on the witness stand ... could they have successfully presented their front of ID being a *secular* concept?
And if so, would ID and Pandas and People now be the law of the land (or at least Penn).
It may be that the the answer is that it doesn't matter. ID cannot help but be revealed to be religion because it IS religion. The ID advocates in Dover just made it really easy.
But is the Separation principle enough to keep bad ideas from being promoted as "education"?
To illustrate what I'm talking about, imagine a separate trial where Holocaust denial is being proposed as an "alternative" to the mainstream History curriculum, despite the strong objections of Historians. Imagine that this is done under the banner of Free Speech, and "academic freedom", and "letting students make up their own mind." Since Holocaust denial would not be subject to the same Separation of Church and State prohibitions, what would be the governing legal principle?
I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this matter.
>"The history curriculum should be dictated by the consensus of the experts (there are definable criteria for why makes a credible expert on a given topic)"
I agree, of course.
But my question is what is the *legal* or *Constitutional* principle that supports this?
- Anonymous9 years ago
"or travesty that...discriminated against a theory which many Christians favor (Intelligent Design) that simply deserved mention as a legitimate alternative to the theory of evolution?"
The premise of your question is faulty...
It was determined NOT to be a legitimate alternative, but thinly veiled creationism (repeatedly and throughly shown to be inadmissible as partnof a public education curriculum.
"Were you surprised that a conservative, Bible-believing Christian appointed by President Bush not only ruled against what many considered "the Christian side" in the trial"
The very fact that you can even consider it "the christian side" shows its illegitamacy as a science topic... But more to the point, no i do not find it surprising that a conservative, bible believing Christian appointed by George W Bush did what he did. Even conservative, bible believing Christians appoint by George W Bush are expected to do their jobs and uphold the law.
"but he delivered a very "aggressive" ruling that went farther than most anyone had anticipated -- such that his enemies labeled him an "activist judge who legislates from the bench"?"
People enemies often try to diminish the efforts of them... This doesn't legitimize their claims
The history curriculum should be dictated by the consensus of the experts (there are definable criteria for why makes a credible expert on a given topic)
But I can't help but feel you already knew this ;)
Oh, well to my knowledge, there is no federal mandate for a school board's curriculum, that task is left up to state legislature and within those parameters to individual school boards.
As I'm not familiar with all fifty state's constitutions (much less the thousands of school boards) I'll pass at that.
- AshnodLv 79 years ago
It was a victory for the separation of church and state.
Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory; a "scientific theory" is a term that has a specific meaning, and has criteria attached to it. It's not an "opinion" or a "guess." It's "a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence." It's predictive. It's falsifiable (meaning that you can describe a hypothetical condition that, if demonstrated to be true, would disprove the theory). Intelligent Design is none of these. It's nothing more than a thinly-veiled affirmation of a religious creation myth, coupled with a weak attempt to cast doubt on actual science. As such, it doesn't belong in a science classroom. Otherwise, we may as well teach geocentrism and Ptolemy's epicycles in astronomy, as a "legitimate alternative" to the heliocentric model of the solar system.
I might've been surprised that a conservative judge took such a hard-line stance in favor of science and church/state separation, but it was surprise coupled with relief, and a reaffirmation of my faith in humanity, that a conservative Christian in a position of power can put aside his personal biases and do the right thing for the sake of the country and the Constitution.Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory#Ped... "The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). One of the most useful properties of scientific theories is that they can be used to make predictions about natural events or phenomena that have not yet been observed."
- 9 years ago
Victory for science education. Equal theories deserve equal time. ID does not fit the definition of a scientific theory, and the theory of evolution is too well-supported to bother muddying the waters with non-theories like ID or creationism.
The judge was not activist; he just did what any good judge should do: set aside his biases and listen to the evidence and arguments presented in court.
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- eric kLv 69 years ago
Victory for scientific ideas being defined and treated as such.
It wasn't discriminatory since the ruling showed that ID was not a legitimate alternative to evolutionary theory.
Bonus: I'm not surprised that a conservative, Bible-believing Christian judge appointed by President Bush was incredibly pissed when he was repeatedly lied to by the defendants, nor that he could render a fair and impartial ruling based on the facts presented, especially given how good the plaintiff's arguments and witnesses were. I guess I still have faith in our judiciary, no pun intended.
- Steve HLv 69 years ago
I think that Intelligent design is not a legitimate alternative to the theory of evolution. There's no science behind it, it's just a dressed up form of creationism.
It should be taught in religious education classes but it has no place in science.
- Upasakha JasonLv 79 years ago
It was very telling that the deception used by creationists was exposed during the trial: that Behe had not read the majority of the authors and papers that he was disagreeing with, that the standard creationist textbook was simply copy-pasted with selective editing in an effort to get around existing law and jurisprudence, and that the evolutionary scientists could and in fact did answer the objections that creationists insisted were insuperable.
- 9 years ago
Intelligent Design Theory has absolutely no scientific basis. .
Further, Intelligent Design is, basically, a religious concept. As such, it is an inappropriate subject for government run public schools.
Private religious schools can teach whatever they wish.
- quirosLv 43 years ago
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- marsel_duchampLv 79 years ago
ID, which is very thinly veiled creationism, is not a scientific theory. It is not a legitimate alternative.