Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Questions for John Derbyshire, apropos of the decision in Dover, PA:
Granted that we agree entirely that ID is fundamentally dishonest as a project, is not science, does not belong in a science classroom, etc. - where in the Constitution does it say that schools have to teach science?
Do you buy into the argument that religious "motivations" are sufficient to deem an activity a violation of the Establishment Clause? Can you see any potential problems for other traditional educational objectives if one embraced this principle?
Do you see any merit in Clarence Thomas' argument that the Establishment Clause doesn't apply to the states at all?
Or, let's put the question more pragmatically. The school board that introduced ID into the Dover, PA school system has already been driven from office by an angry public. Do you think that the public will be more or less aroused to defend the schools against the imposition of ID on the curricula if the courts forbid such imposition? And which do you think will win more success for ID in the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans: losing at the ballot box or losing in the courts?
The Dover decision is clearly a victory for truth and right on the question of ID. Whether it is a victory for democracy, or a long-term victory for public understanding and appreciation of science, is much less clear to me. Whether conservatives should be applauding a court-ordered victory of this type is less clear still.