Friday, May 13, 2005


Why the ID Legal Strategy is a Loser

During closing arguments at the Kansas science hearings yesterday, Pedro Irigonegaray, the attorney who is representing mainstream science, addressed the potential legal issues raised by the hearings.

First, he warned the board that the conduct of the hearings raises three probable lines of attack if the board votes -- as they surely will -- to approve the intelligent design minority draft.

First, he said, approval of the minority draft serves no secular purpose as required by the establishment clause of the Constitution and court rulings. Second, he said the board was vulnerable to challenge because they have changed the rules in the middle of the game in the curriculum approval process. Finally, Irigonegaray said, the board has abused its authority by granting special privileges to John Calvert and William Harris. The board, he said, acted as cheerleaders for the minority witnesses and collaborated with them outside of public hearings.

Then, Irigonegaray, analyzed the weaknesses of the intelligent design legal strategy.

Science, by embracing evolutionary theory, the intelligent design movement argues, is guilty of introducing religion -- atheism -- into science classrooms. The remedy, they say, is to introduce intelligent design's criticisms of evolution into the classroom.

The courts have granted atheists the same protections under the constitution offered to other religions, Irigonegaray noted. However, he said, in the unlikely event the courts were to rule that teaching evolution violates the establishment clause, they would not accept the remedy offered by the intelligent design movement -- "teach the controversy" -- they would instead order that evolution not be taught at all.

Interestingly, Irigonegaray made the point that since there is no "theory" of intelligent design -- it consists wholly of criticisms of evolutionary theory -- teaching the controversy amounts to teaching the theistic belief system that goes under the name of intelligent design.


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