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.

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