John G. West Political Scientist and Cultural Critic

Montana Law Review Features Exchange over Kitzmiller Intelligent Design Decision

Published at Evolution News

mlrcover3.JPGThe current issue of the Montana Law Review features a lively exchange of views about the Kitzmiller v. Dover intelligent design decision, and the articles are now available online at the law review’s website. The lead article on the Dover decision (“Intelligent Design Will Survive Kitzmiller v. Dover) is co-authored by David DeWolf, me, and Casey Luskin. A second article by Peter Irons (“Disaster in Dover”) responds to our article, followed by a short rebuttal by DeWolf, me, and Luskin. There is also an editors’ introduction with a timeline of the Dover case (currently not available online).

Although we recommended to the law review that Prof. Irons be invited to write the second article, I must admit that his piece was a bit of a disappointment. Readers seeking a serious defense of Judge Jones’ ruling will have to look elsewhere. There is very little about either constitutional law or the substance of the intellectual debate over design in Irons’ article. Instead, his piece reads like a cribbed version of Barbara Forrest’s overwrought Creationism’s Trojan Horse, seeking to refute the constitutionality of teaching about intelligent design primarily by demonizing its supporters. I’m sure Irons’ piece will win plaudits among Darwinists who have touted federal judge John Jones as “an outstanding thinker” and “[s]omeone who… is as deserving of the title ‘great thinker’ as someone who writes a great mathematical proof or a great work of music criticism.” But I doubt his article will be persuasive to those who aren’t already part of the Darwinist Amen chorus.

The fact is, the Kitzmiller decision isn’t wearing well even among legal scholars who are critical of intelligent design. For example, Boston University Law School Professor Jay Wexler supports the result of the Dover ruling but says, “The part of Kitzmiller that finds ID not to be science is unnecessary, unconvincing, not particularly suited to the judicial role, and even perhaps dangerous both to science and to freedom of religion.” (emphasis added)

Similarly, distinguished legal scholar Arnold H. Loewy, currently the George R. Killam Jr. Chair of Criminal Law at Texas Tech Law School, writes:

[I]nvalidating the teaching of intelligent design in public schools is flatly inconsistent with free speech principles… If the Supreme Court ever gets a case, unlike Kitzmiller, where the School Board of Legislature’s apparent motive for integrating intelligent design into the curriculum is to maximize student exposure to different ideas about the origin of the species, and not to indoctrinate religion, the Court should uphold the provision.”–Arnold H. Loewy, “The Wisdom and Constitutionality of Teaching Intelligent Design in Public Schools,” 5 First Amend. Law Review, 89, emph. added.

Given that there has been a lot of inaccurate information circulated about the Dover case, I hope our article dispels some of the common myths and clarifies the important constitutional questions at stake. Regardless, this exchange of articles is a good place to start for those interested in a deeper understanding of the issues involved.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
Discovery Institute