FOR your weekend contemplation, we present to you, dear reader, Schools should teach other “origin” theories, a letter-to-the-editor which appears in the Alamogordo Daily News, published in New Mexico.
We’d like to give you excerpts from the letter, but that paper is owned by Media News Group, and they’re suing bloggers who excerpt their stories without permission. So you’ll have to click over there to read it for yourself. But we’ll tell you a bit about it.
The letter-writer starts out saying that teaching only evolution is anti-religious. That’s an interesting, if unintentional, admission. He means that not teaching the “scientific” theory of Intelligent Design (ID) is “anti-religious.”
Then he quotes or paraphrases something from the Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard, claiming that teaching other theories might be okay.
Encountering a quote from a creationist is like brushing up against a leper. We must now take the time to cleanse ourselves by going to the source of the quote to determine the truth of the situation. The letter-writer refers to a US Supreme Court case in which the court declared unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools along with evolution.
Here’s the complete text of EDWARDS v. AGUILLARD, 482 U.S. 578 (1987). After reviewing earlier evolution-creationism cases, the court said:
These same historic and contemporaneous antagonisms between the teachings of certain religious denominations and the teaching of evolution are present in this case. The preeminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind. The term “creation science” was defined as embracing this particular religious doctrine by those responsible for the passage of the Creationism Act.
In this case, the purpose of the Creationism Act was to restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint. Out of many possible science subjects taught in the public schools, the legislature chose to affect the teaching of the one scientific theory that historically has been opposed by certain religious sects. … Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.
The very next paragraph is the one from which the letter-writer’s “quote” was taken. We’ll put the letter-writer’s out-of-context excerpt in red; and then in blue we’ll put a very important sentence which immediately follows it — and which contradicts the letter-writer’s claim:
We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught. Indeed, the Court acknowledged in Stone that its decision [citation omitted] forbidding the posting of the Ten Commandments did not mean that no use could ever be made of the Ten Commandments, or that the Ten Commandments played an exclusively religious role in the history of Western Civilization. [citation omitted]. In a similar way, teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction. But because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to endorse a particular religious doctrine, the Act furthers religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.
Then the letter-writer claims that the decision allows creationism and evolution both to be taught. Sorry. We’ve read the decision. There is no such statement. In fact, the decision stands for exactly the opposite proposition.
Then he babbles a bit about the need for teaching all the theories.
Will we need to keep saying this forever? ID isn’t a scientific theory. Even the letter-writer knows it’s religion. His first paragraph admits it. Also, see: Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?
Click over there to read it for yourself. We’ve decided that either his knowledge or his integrity is zero.
[Note: We checked out the letter-writer’s name. It’s the same as a distinguished retired Marine officer, who is now a military historian. But that man lives in Virginia. We’re rather certain that today’s letter-writer isn’t the same man.]
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