Judge John Jones of the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled on Tuesday that requiring intelligent design in public school science lessons amounts to promotion of religion, and is therefore unconstitutional. In doing so, he sided with mainstream science organisations and rebutted almost every argument made in favour of intelligent design, calling it the “progeny of creationism”.
“Since ID is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of the [Dover] ID policy is the advancement of religion,” [Judge Jones] writes. The effect of the policy, in which the Dover school board instructed ninth-grade biology teachers to criticize evolution and mention ID, “was to impose a religious view of biological origins into the biology course, in violation of the Establishment Clause.” Note the dualism. ID theorists assume evidence against evolution is evidence for ID; Jones assumes any unscientific theory is religious and therefore forbidden.
As Jones makes clear, the Dover case is lousy with evidence of explicit religious motivation on the part of local ID proponents. But is ID, by virtue of being unscientific, wholly and inherently religious—or is there, contrary to the judge’s dualism, a third category? The answer is inadvertently sprinkled throughout his opinion. Statements by ID leaders “reveal ID’s religious, philosophical, and cultural content,” he writes. A strategy document developed by the “Center for Renewal of Science and Culture” is full of “cultural and religious goals, as opposed to scientific ones.” Proponents of ID fear “evolution’s threat to culture and society,” and the Dover board’s collaborators have “demonstrably religious, cultural, and legal missions.” Cultural, cultural, cultural. Not scientific, not necessarily religious, but cultural.
Twenty Years Later, Buying a House Is Less of a Bite
The NYT claims: “Despite a widespread sense that real estate has never been more expensive, families in the vast majority of the country can still buy a house for a smaller share of their income than they could have a generation ago.”