RE: [asa] Expelled and ID

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 09:55:02 EDT

I think it would be an intriguing exercise for some brave school boards to
do exactly this, implement a course at the high school level giving an
overview class which could (constitutionally) incorporate ID as part of its
discussion. In particular, it would be interesting to see this happen in
places where creationism or ID are desired by the local constituency, and
see how it would fly with either the religious conservatives or the ACLU.
You could imagine how either group might complain about the content or the
constitutionality of the course because they would prefer it to be more
extreme one direction or the other, but this might be a more helpful "wedge
strategy" (so to speak) for getting the concepts of Intelligent Design
discussed in public school, and more generally to perhaps influence a better
dialogue between science and religion as opposed to the warfare mentality.
Does anyone know whether such courses are actually being used successfully
in public schools, what curricula are being used for them (and how
prevalently ID and creationism are featured in them), and whether there are
constitutional questions being raised over them?
Jon Tandy
(ASA member)

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 8:25 AM
To: David Clounch
Cc: Dennis Venema; D. F. Siemens, Jr.;;
Subject: Re: [asa] Expelled and ID

In response to Dave C.'s questions below: this is a place where the
establishment clause jurisprudence gets a little hazy, and where local
school districts very often go too far in censoring materials. Banning
books from the library seems ludicrous on constitutional grounds. It may be
a different matter if the library staff is purposefully "stocking" the
library with materials favoring one religion, but including books by Behe or
Johnson is not, in itself, a constitutional issue. It also should not be
unconstitutional to discuss ID or other religious ideas in a philosophy or
history class that is designed to provide an overview of various
perspectives on an issue. A public school should certainly be able to offer
a "History of Interaction Between Religion and Science" class, for example,
assuming again that the material is not loaded in favor of a particular
religious view. The question of "loading," however, could be a difficult
one -- the establishment clause's test for what constitutes an "endorsement"
of religion is rather fuzzy, and unfortunately there is a history of school
boards (as in Dover PA) trying to do exactly this sort of thing.

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Received on Mon Apr 28 09:56:58 2008

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