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Another Excellent Response to the Dover Decision

Casey Luskin

139 pages of judicial overreach, ignoring important facts, scientific error, and logical fallacy (but other than that, it’s great!–why all the fuss?) have given the blogosphere much material to discuss. Richard Cleary has an extensive review of the Kitzmiller decision at Viewpoint. Cleary clearly highlights a fallacy in the argument ID is creationism repackaged:

“The first claim, that ID must be religious, even though it doesn’t appear to be, because it evolved from (forgive me) creationism, is silly. Because one theory emerges from the embers of another doesn’t entail that it necessarily bears all or even many of the traits of the other. Modern theories of the atom are all descendents of Democritus’ belief that such entities exist, but the belief that there are atoms pretty much exhausts the similarities between the modern and the ancient views. Modern chemistry is directly descended from alchemy but chemistry is not alchemy. It is logically illicit to infer that because ID is a descendent of creationism it is therefore creationism in disguise.”

(The Dover Decision I: Endorsing Religion?)

This seems especially applicable because although the authors of the <i.Pandas textbook did use the term creationism in pre-publication versions, the Pandas textbook promotes a theory of ID which is conceptually distinct from creationism in some of the very characteristics which caused creationism to be declared unconstitutional: creationism postulates a “supernatural creator” while the theory intelligent design abstains from engaging in such religious discussions. (see FTE’s amicus brief for details)

Though I’m don’t agree 100% with how Cleary discusses this next issue, he makes a thought-provoking argument that ID is no more religious than Neo-Darwinism:

It’s unfortunate that Judge Jones has never read Roy Clouser’s The Myth of Religious Neutrality. Clouser demonstrates in the first part of his book that the only thing that all religions share in common, and which therefore distinguishes a religion as such, is a divinity belief. By this he means that every religion holds a belief that something is unconditionally, non-dependently real and is the ultimate source of everything else. Since everyone holds that something is the non-dependent source of everything else, everyone, even the naturalist who believes the ultimate, non-dependent source is nature, or the materialist who believes it is matter, holds a religious belief.

When the Darwinian therefore claims that all of life is the product purely of natural, blind, purposeless mechanisms he is advancing a religious belief. The effect of the Judge’s ruling, though he is unaware of it, was not to ban religion from the science classroom because that’s an impossible task, but rather to ban a certain kind of religious claim from the classroom – the claim that matter, or the cosmos, might not be the non-dependent source of everything else.

In an astonishing contortion of justice the judge has banned the claim that the cosmos is not divine and privileged the claim that it is divine against any and all official criticism.
(The Dover Decision V: Final Thoughts)

Read the rest at and don’t forget to pick up your Judge Jones bumper sticker (especially if you’re a federal judge, so you don’ t waste your judicial resources deciding issues Judge Jones already figured out).


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Judge John E. JonesKitzmiller v. Dover Area School District