Georgia Judge Misunderstands ID in ruling against textbook stickers.

From Ga. Evolution Stickers Ordered Removed reported by Doug Gross of the Associated Press:

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the removal of stickers placed in high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying they were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

* * *

"Adopted by the school board, funded by the money of taxpayers, and inserted by school personnel, the sticker conveys an impermissible message of endorsement and tells some citizens that they are political outsiders while telling others they are political insiders," U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said in his 44-page ruling.

Huh? Obviously, Judge Cooper has accepted the propostion that ID is creationism. If he had not accepted that general premise, then there would be no question that the portion of the opinion quoted above is loopy. To see how, turn the debate around and assume that it were proponents of evolution who were trying to put disclaimers on textbooks that are written to support creationism. If you believe that evolution is science and not a religion and the judge were to have made the same claims, you would say: "I don't care if people feel like outsiders--the question is whether evolution is true science!" The same is true here: I don't care if some people feel like outsiders if ID is taught--the question is whether or not it is true science."

But it seems as if school district's attorneys made the mistake of conceding this very important question. Consider their quote:

"Science and religion are related and they're not mutually exclusive," school district attorney Linwood Gunn said. "This sticker was an effort to get past that conflict and to teach good science."

Notice the implied acknowledgement that the teaching of ID is somehow equal to teaching religion. If that is the way the school district presented the question, I have no doubt that the judge decided rightly. Perhaps the prior history of the law in that county (according to Evolution News and Viewsthe school board previously had an unconstitutional policy that discouraged the teaching of Darwin’s theory) led the court to believe that this was just another attempt to sneak creationism in the back door. If either is the case, because the premise under which the case was presented was flawed, I won't accept that court's opinion as binding in any sense on other school districts.

I hope that the entire opinion is posted somewhere as I would be very interested in reading it and seeing why Judge Cooper reached the erroneous conclusion about the nature of ID that he did.


biblemike said…
Judges decide cases on matter of law and arguments presented. There are many fine arguments for using the sticker in the textbooks, unfortuntely the school district did not use any of them. Instead of using existing laws to establish their right to place the sticker in school district textbooks, they took the sanctimonius position that the law shoud be changed by the judge to meet their demand. They left the judge no choice but to rule as he did.

Many followers of the intelligent design theory argue their postion on the basis of the scientific evidence without regard to the biblical account. If the school district had followed that argument style they might have won. However, it was their intent all along to use the intelligent design argument to bring the old creationist teachings previously ruled against back into the school under a different guise.

If we want intelligent design taught in the schoools, then we must follow the existing laws and eliminate all reference to the biblical account of creation in that process. The biblical account answers the question about who the intelignet designer might be, but it is , in the eyes of current law, a relisious answer that cannot be taught in school settings. However, if intelligent design is eventually taught, people will be more receptive to hearing the bibical account outside the classroom which is as it should be.

It is unfortunate that misguided individuals continue to think that by forcing biblical teaching in the schools we can somehow increase those who know Christ as savior. Intelligent design should be taught in the schools because it is science and allowed under current law and that is how it should be argued. Bibilcal creation is a religious teaching under the law and all religion. not just Christian, should be removed from the classroom. Instead of fighting on one front we should be fighting on two using the laws that exist.

Intelligent design is science and should be taught because the law requires all scientific views be taught. The law says no religion in the school, so Christians should do what atheist are doing and fight for the removal of all religious references from education, including Bhuddism, Islam and Humanism. What we should argue for is equity under the law and using that arguement we wil win.

Most importantly however, we must fight these battles when and where God directs not when, where or how we think we should handle the matter for him. Gideon won his battles because he fought when, where and how God told him and we should do the same.

yours in Christ,

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