Uncommon Dissent

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Favorable Court Ruling in California Lawsuit re Evolution Debate (1 comments)

Any time Larry Caldwell announces victory, you get the feeling that within seconds someone is going to point out that triumph and triumphalism are as semantically distinct as lightning and the lightning bug.

Take it away, Timothy Sandefur:
The District Court’s decision—which you can read here—says that Caldwell cannot possibly win on his right to petition argument, and that he may not sue the School District itself, and that he may not argue anything based on state law, or seeking nominal damages. (When the court says “with prejudice,” that means the Plaintiff is so wrong that he not allowed to try again by refiling.) And it says that Caldwell may proceed to trial and try to prove his allegations that the school district violated his free speech rights, his free exercise of religion and establishment clause rights, his equal protection, and his due process rights.

But here’s how Caldwell describes this decision: “In an important legal victory for citizens seeking to improve how evolution is taught in public schools [sic], a federal judge has ruled that California citizens have a Constitutional right under the First Amendment to put proposed evolution policies on the agenda of local school board meetings for public debate and potential adoption, and that school officials who refuse such a request are subject to potential civil rights remedies in federal court.” Well, sort of. What the judge really did was say that such rights exist—which the school district did not deny; it simply argued that it had never deprived him of those rights. Nor did the court find that Caldwell had proven that the district denied him those rights; it simply found that, if he can prove that happened, he could win his case. Not exactly what you would call a smashing victory.

Incidentally, I was delighted by footnote 6, in which the judge complains that Caldwell has conflated the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. As I’ve noted many times, this is a very common problem for ID creationists. Because they believe they have the right to use government resources to propagate their religious beliefs, they see it as a violation of their rights whenever government tries to remain religiously neutral. Thus they believe that they have a Free Exercise right to Establish their religion.

Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion


  • From comment 4 on the thread:
    This is the same kind of crap that ID proponents whom are religious go through. Just because Michael Behe is catholic doesn’t mean that ID is a catholic theory. It’s about time that evolutionists stop using the religious affiliations of ID proponents to argue their false definition of ID in such a way that defines it as a religous theory. I’m sure that if Darwin was a catholic, theorists wouldn’t be calling evolution a religous theory! (Italics mine)
    Comment by mtgcsharpguy — October 26, 2005 @ 5:47 pm
    And then from comment 14. we have a little more information

    Answers.com says of Darwin that “he was a religious man himself and once considered a career in the church…” Clearly, this fact proves decisively that his theory is a religious one cannot be taught in public schools on separation of church and state grounds. (Italics mine)

    Comment by SteveB — October 27, 2005 @ 9:04 am

    Nice juxtaposition, I love quote mining

    And my favorite quote from comment 12
    ” Let’s not simply complain about it let’s get a simple catchy working definition that encapsulates ID in a nut shell!”

    Any workable definition of ID would be nice.

    By Anonymous Bruce Thompson GQ, at 6:09 PM  

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