Sunday, January 15

Is Intelligent Design legit as a philosophy class

The latest creationism case involves El Tejon Unified School District ("The Grapevine" in Calif.) and the attempt to teach a "philosophy" class in creationist doctrine. Pro-evo blogger wonders if this is a good fight to get into.

nightlight: Creationism in California - Lawsuit and revised syllabus
What is less clear, to me at least, is that this class should not be taught in conjunction with a public school. It should be plain that I am in favor of opposing the spread of "Intelligent Design" pseudo-science, but I also favor a method of resistance that considers the probable benefit to the effort.

In other words, is this class so egregious - legally, politically and scientifically - that it must be addressed in the courts? Or is it small potatoes, something that taking action against will, in sum, diminish the reputation and resources of those who oppose pseudo-science?

Yes, it's egregious. Simply labeling it as a philosophy class doesn't get around the fact that they're promoting a religious viewpoint. As I commented on the post, there is no constitutional requirement for scientific purity. There is one for the separation of church and state. It's quite clear from the history of this course that the teacher is advocating creationism.

In fact, labeling it as philosophy makes it less legitimate, legally. In Establishment Clause cases, one criteria examined is whether there is a legitimate secular purpose. The aim of Scientific Creationism in the 80's and Intelligent Design today is to provide what appears to be a scientific reason to teach it in public schools. The courts found their scientific legitimacy lacking, just a thin veneer over religious doctrine, and failed that criteria. By abandoning even the veneer of science, no secular justification is even possible for advocating creationism.

This is not to say that it should be censored outright. After all, theology is a legitimate branch of philosophy. But, this class is more appropriate for Sunday school than public school.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

No comments: