Because this week Americans were celebrating holidays that mark God’s intervention with an undeserving world, I thought that it was just the time to get in touch with my inner-wing-nut.
There is no better way to reach the impish conservative deep inside who traffics in taboos than to snuggle up with Judge John Jones’ opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
– the Pennsylvania Intelligent Design case. And the opinion does oblige a good bit of snuggling; as it spans 139 double-spaced pages.
I had an extremely long (indeed bandwidth crushing) post on this subject in mind, but I have trimmed it to simply an overly long post. (And my apologies for even that….) Below are a few of the politically-incorrect things that my inner wing-nut came out with at the conclusion of that opinion. To my mind:
1. It is a constitutionally modest proposition for a School Board to its direct teacher-employees to state that: (1) There are gaps to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution; (2) There are limits on what Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is able to explain; and (3) a book which explores those topics is available in the school library for the students who would like to read it.
2. It strips all meaning of the words “establish” and “religion” to declare that any public reference to the Deity has the effect of establishing a state religion. It is worse still, when the School District’s required declaration in the Dover case at most, only implied a Deity – unambiguously declaring that “the school leaves the discussion of the Origin of Life to individual students and their families.”
3. Judge Jones’ opinion includes a breathtaking view of the power of federal courts; namely:
a. Is there any matter that is beyond Judge Jones’ reach if he may rightfully declare: “It is unconstitutional to teach [Intelligent Design] as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom” and the Dover School District is further enjoined from requiring Dover biology teachers to “denigrate evolution.”
b. The court boldly declares that “science cannot be defined differently for Dover students than it is defined in the scientific community ….” Why not? While it may improvident and unwise to have matters that are not testable or falsifiable alluded to in biology classes, by what authority may the federal courts say that this misdirection is unlawful? None is cited by Judge Jones. While the Board Members of the Dover School Board were elected (and later turned out of office
) based upon these sorts of pedagogical judgments, I am not aware that Dover voters were likewise permitted to cast ballots for members of the “scientific community.” Because, if locally-elected officials are not permitted to contradict the “scientific community,” the very least that we can hope for is that we will be granted the right to select those who govern on our behalf.
c. It is troubling that Judge Jones apparently believes that a key purpose of the Dover Public Schools is subversion of the family. He ruled that it amounts to a constitutionally permissible establishment of religion if the public schools “’remind school children that they can rightly maintain beliefs taught by their parents on the subject of the origin of life’ thereby stifling the critical thinking that the class’s study of evolutionary theory might otherwise prompt ….”
While mindful that it is politically and intellectually incorrect to be in defense of “known creationists” these days, my inner wing nut doesn’t care. He’s more worried about the likes of Judge Jones than the ousted members of the Dover School Board.