Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Less Than impressive Christian Apologetic Law Review Paper

Yesterday I posted a bit about the return of little casey luskin to the cultural debate over teaching religion as if it was actual science.  I hadn't read his actual paper or the Discovery Institute (DI) Evolution 'News' and Views (EnV) post about it just yet, I was focused on where little casey published his paper and why the DI didn't seem to want anyone to know it wasn't a real law review, but a Christian apologetic law review.  I also said that I would be posting today after reading the EnV post and his paper.

Unlike Paul Nelson, when I tell you I am going to do something the next day, I actually make an honest effort in accomplishing it the next day.  So let's start with the DI's post.  Actually it doesn't start well.  The EnV post is "In Court Rulings on Teaching Origins Science, Law Review Article Finds a Double Standard".  Early in the post Sarah Chaffee, the author, said that casey:

" . . . examines the way courts have struck down the teaching of alternatives to evolution because of their historical associations with religion."
I have to question the use of the word 'historical'.  I think casey is going to try and imply that the connection between alternatives to evolution, like Creationism and its little brother Intelligent Design, no longer have a religious association.  That it was in the past and no longer applicable.  If anyone believed that, why is little casey's paper in a Christian apologetic law review publication and not one from a school that is actually approved by the American Bar Association?

We can list many of the current connections between the DI and religion, especially their own wedge strategy document.  But we have done that so many times times in the past (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and those are just the ones called "So There is Nothing Religious about Intelligent Design parts 1 thru 10.  There are plenty of other posts about the current association of the DI, and their Intelligent Design Movement and religion!

This line really summed up the whole post for me:
"The result is a double standard, as courts hold alternatives to evolution unconstitutional to teach, but evolution constitutional."
That's not exactly true.  What the Courts have said is that Creationism and Intelligent Design are not science but religion and therefore cannot be taught as if they are science because that violates the Constitution.  Seriously, it's not alternatives to evolution that are unconstitutional, but religious alternatives to evolution, specifically Creationism -- which includes Intelligent Design -- that are unconstitutional.  If you disagree, instead of taking casey's word, look at some of the court cases themselves:

  • Kitzmiller v. Dover -- ruled against teaching Intelligent Design in science class in 2005
  • Epperson v. Arkansas -- invalidated a statute that prohibited evolution whose purpose was to protect a specific religious viewpoints (1968)
  • Daniel v. Waters -- invalided a law requiring an equal amount of emphasis on evolution and the Genesis account in the Bible (1975)
  • McLean v. Arkansas -- ruled against a statute mandating the teaching of "Creation Science" because it is religious, not science.  (1982)
  • Edwards v. Aguillard -- In 1987. The Supreme Court of the US ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion
  • Selman v. Cobb County -- invalidated the use of stickers designed to weaken science education (2006)

There are others, all basically reached that same conclusion, Creation-based alternatives to evolution are not science and therefore to teach them as if they are actually science is unconstitutional.  These cases span 1968 through 2006, granted you can claim yesterday was historical, but really -- 2006 is historical?  Every single time Creationism and all of its relatives, like Intelligent Design and Creation Science, have been tested, the link between then and their underlying religious basis has never been placed in solely a 'historical' perspective.  No, the links are there even today!  Who are the only receptive audiences for ID?  Where does their funding come from? What have they been desperately trying to hide from for decades now?  Think about it!  The connection from their religious beliefs and their claims cannot be uncoupled, as much as they keep trying to do so.  This paper is nothing but another example.

The other half of his statement is equally misleading, the 'constitutionality of evolution'.  At no time when looking at those court cases did I find them ruling that evolution is constitutional.  I don't think the rulings specified evolution at all.  True, I haven't read them all, but I have read several and while evolution was mentioned in some of the supporting documents, the rulings did not address evolution specifically.  Even in the supporting documents, it's usually just contrasting the Creationism concept with its intended target.  But, in reality, has anyone sued a school for teaching evolution?  No, the court cases were brought about because of religious groups trying to impose their view on science class.

So far Sarah's not off to a rousing start, but when your source material is so weak, what can you do? It doesn't matter how much mayo you use, you cannot make chicken salad out of chicken sh**. Sarah and little casey mention Selman v. Cobb County specifically.  You can read all about it in your link, but I would like to mention that casey did state that the original ruling was 'remanded', which is legalese for sending it back on appeal for consideration.  Of course casey doesn't say why it was remanded . . . which was an evidence issue, not a problem with the ruling.  Final result is basically this was tried twice and both times the Creationists lost and their little efforts to undermine science education failed.

Sarah closed with what has to be a quote from casey:
"But what about evolution? Are courts evaluating neo-Darwinism objectively? In a future post, I will discuss the history of anti-religious activism associated with evolution advocacy."
So he starts off claiming that evolution has been declared to be Constitutional . . . and then bails before addressing this issue , , , promising to address it in the future.  Hmmm, Paul Nelson again?

I read through casey's paper as well as Sarah's EnV post.  In all honesty, it was pretty boring and didn't say anything new.  I will say this for Sarah, she summed things up pretty well . . . but then casey's work has always been pretty basic.  Probably one reason he was never a 'fellow', just the title of 'research coordinator', which was funny for an organization that doesn't do anything resembling research.

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