Monday, December 26, 2005
Kitzmiller on the Content of Religious Belief
I appreciate the posts by Rick and Amy about the Kitzmiller intelligent design ruling, and I simply want to underscore how remarkable I found Judge Jones' statement that:
Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general.
I know many folks for whom evolutionary theory is antithetical to their religious beliefs. At a minimum, evolutionary theory requires a certain substantive interpretation of divine revelation. This does not mean that the case should have come out differently, but it does make me wary of an effort to erase by judicial fiat a tension that is very real. Imagine if the Court in Dale v. Boy Scouts had written, "The Boy Scouts falsely assume that allowing openly homosexual leaders is antithetical to their objective of developing morally straight young men." Now I agree that such a statement is accurate, but it strikes me as a contested extralegal normative claim that is no business of the judiciary to be making. To probe this area more deeply, be sure to read Rick's thoughtful article, Assimilation, Tolerance, and the State's Interest in the Development of Religious Doctrine.