Predictably, Objectivists, and some libertarians, are cheering the decision by a federal judge ordering a Pennsylvania public school not to teach “Intelligent Design” as an alternative to evolution. See, for example, Objectivist Harry Binswanger’s ringing endorsement of the decision.
Now, unlike many conservative libertarians, I tend to think that Judge Jones was correct in his scientific conclusions that evolution is a genuine science and ID is just a religious viewpoint masquerading as a scientific theory. But even assuming this aspect of Judge Jones’s decision is well-reasoned, there are two significant problems with the results in this case.
First, the holding is that the teaching of ID by a state public school violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. This, however, is ridiculous, as I have pointed out elsewhere: for one, the First Amendment only limits what Congress can do, not states; and the argument that the Fourteenth Amendment “incorporated” the First Amendment and “applied” it to the States is without foundation.
Second, the First Amendment protects freedom of religion and prevents the establishment of a religion. Teaching ID in a public school as one alternative to evolution does not establish any kind of official state religion–clearly some references to religion or God or religious views by public officials does not rise to the level of “establishment” of religion, given the prevalence since the early days of this country of references to God on money our money and in the very Declaration of Independence, the use of chaplains in the military and prayers in Congress, etc. What whimps atheists have become–being “offended” at the existence of a statue in a courtroom lobby; they remind me of wussy existentialists who feel “nausea” at the idea of contemplating the existence of objects outside themselves. Get a life.3:39 pm on January 5, 2006 Email Stephan Kinsella