[asa] Constitutional legitimacy of Phil. Sci. in US public schools (was Re: [asa] The fight in Texas over evolution training in schools)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Sat Mar 28 2009 - 16:21:49 EDT

Hi folks,

Excuse my ignorance on the "religion in schools" issue in the US, but as I read the various remarks on treating philosophy of science in US public schools I wonder...

Why would it be acceptable to introduce religion into public schools under the heading of "philosophy of science" as opposed to introducing it under "science"?

I mean, if one wanted to address, in a US public school, the question of the extent to which Christianity has influenced the development of modern science why would this not be a violation of the Constitution in exactly the same way as is the teaching of creationism?

I can understand that introducing Christianity in the context of a subject on history, philosophy, or religion would be less contentious than introducing it in the science class. But I'm interested in the legalities and not the potential for controversy. So even if the majority were quite happy to see the role of religion in science relegated to a philosophy of science context, would it not still be, if even only technically, a violation of church-state separation?

I suppose that it might well boil down to the question of motive: i.e. whether or not one had a religious motive? If so, would it follow that those on the list who advocate the introduction of Christianity into public school philosophy of science discussions are guilty of the same sort of Constitutional infraction as those YEC's who advocate "equal treatment"?

I should say, I'm not trying to imply anyone's motives are dubious, and certainly not trying to start a flame-war, I'm simply curious as to how the Constitutional issues might play out here.

Anybody care to comment?


Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Chairman, Executive Committee, ISCAST Vic <www.iscast.org>
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology
139 Highfield Rd,
Camberwell East,
Victoria, Australia, 3124
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Received on Sat Mar 28 16:22:38 2009

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