ACLU Sues to Suppress Discussion
Argues (apparently) that alternative theories to evolution may not be taught
It is quite ironic that the ACLU, the supposed champions of free speech, should sue to suppress speech at a public school. But that is exactly what they have done. According to Fox News in a report entitled "ACLU Files Suit in Pa. Over Evolution", the ACLU is filing suit to stop the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The state American Civil Liberties Union (search) plans to file a federal lawsuit Tuesday against a Pennsylvania school district that is requiring students to learn about alternatives to the theory of evolution.
The ACLU said its lawsuit will be the first to challenge whether public schools should teach "intelligent design," which holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by some higher power.
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Neither Silva nor Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, would comment on the specifics of the complaint.
Maybe they have no comment, but the legal director of the ACLU does:
Witold Walczak is legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“Teaching public school students about the very important role that religion plays in world history and world culture is legal and proper. But disguising religion as science is not.”
Walczak calls “intelligent design” a Trojan horse for bringing religious creationism back into the public science classroom. He says it’s just the latest attempt to undermine the teaching of evolution since the famous Scopes "monkey trial" of 1925.
What planet are these guys from, anyway? They are so sadly misinformed about intelligent design that it is not even funny. To begin with, Mr. Walczak is trumpeting the usual unfounded charge, i.e., intelligent design is warmed over creationism. Apparently Mr. Walczak has not read much on this subject since any overview would immediately show that the science of ID makes no claim about whether God exists or not. It does not start with the Bible and argue for the existence of a creator because the Bible says its so. Rather, it starts with the evidence and finds in nature forms and structures that it posits cannot be explained by natural selection. It makes no claim about how these forms and structures came into being other than say it had to be some intelligent creator. It does not identify the creator as god, and in fact, it specifically claims that science cannot identify that creator. As stated by William Dembski in his book The Design Revolution:
Intelligent Design needs to be distinguished from creation scienc, or scientific creationism. The most obvious difference is that scientific creationism has prior religious commitments whereas intelligent design does not. Scientiric creationism is committed to two religious presuppositions. Intelligent design, by contrast, has no prior religious commitments and interprets the data of science on generally accepted scientific principles. In particular, intelligent design does not depend on the bilbical account of creation.
Second, contrary to the absurd assertion made in the quotes, no one is trying to kick evolution out of the public schools. Rather, it is clear that the advocates of intelligent design simply want the theory taught as science because it is science.
Third, no one is trying to turn school into Sunday school (as the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, claims). Rev. Lynn is using hyperbole to make the case, as is often the case of anti-Christian organizations.
Fourth, it is simply not true that ID is not science. Unless you define "science" as finding solely a naturalistic explanation for everything, it meets the definition of science. But what if the existence of the world as we know it isn't the result of materialistic naturalistic processes. What if it may be true? Is school about indoctrinating out children into a certain world view, or is it about truth?
I am pesonally hoping that the ACLU gets shot down in flames, but I suspect that they wouldn't have filed the lawsuit if they weren't fairly confident that the judges in that area are sufficiently in line with their point of view that they will win the case. But of course, this just demonstrates that the ACLU isn't really interested in free speech unless it is a particular type of speech.