Re: [asa] ID and Methodological Naturalism

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Sat Jun 06 2009 - 14:34:03 EDT

Metaphysics is intrinsically a belief system. Government cannot promote

Example: Government cannot promote a belief in nationalism. *WEST VIRGINIA

"Whether the First Amendment to the Constitution will permit officials to
order observance of ritual of this nature does not depend upon whether as a
voluntary exercise we would think it to be good, bad or merely innocuous.
Any credo of nationalism is likely to include what some disapprove or to
omit what others think essential, and to give off different overtones as it
takes on different accents or interpretations. If official power exists to
coerce acceptance of any patriotic creed, what it shall contain cannot be
decided by courts, but must be largely discretionary with the ordaining
authority, whose power to prescribe would no doubt include power to amend.
Hence validity of the asserted power to force an American citizen publicly
to profess any statement of belief or to engage in any ceremony of assent to
one, presents questions of power that must be considered independently of
any idea we may have as to the utility of the ceremony in question.

Nor does the issue as we see it turn on one's possession of particular
religious views or the sincerity with which they are held. While religion
supplies appellees' motive for enduring the discomforts of making the issue
in this case, many citizens who do not share these religious views hold such
a compulsory rite to infringe constitutional liberty of the individual. It
is not necessary to inquire whether non-conformist beliefs will exempt from
the duty to salute unless we first find power to make the salute a legal
duty. "

The question isn't whether one form of metaphysics can be said to work
better than another. The question is who wields the power to compel an
individual to recite the belief. Beliefs about origins are intricately
entangled with and inseparable from beliefs about ultimate destiny. Any
system of belief that makes claims upon origins and destiny (the ultimate
and imponderable) must be held neutral.

Best Regards,

David Clounch

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Received on Sat Jun 6 14:34:43 2009

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