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Arnold Loewy of the News Observer on the Constitutionality of ID in Public School Classrooms

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Go here for the article.

The point that legal Professor Arnold H. Loewy mostly makes in the article is a good one; let's be open minded, consider the possibilities. "As a piece of one's education," he wrote, "I think the debate [ID vs NDE] is thoroughly stimulating." His legal appeal to the First Amendment in support of ID is spectacular: "The First Amendment also forbids abridging freedom of speech. As the Supreme Court has said over and over again, religious ideas are not exempt from free speech protection. Consequently, so long as the topic is exploration, as opposed to indoctrination, of I.D., there should be no constitutional problem." His advocated principle to focus on exploration is fair to all. But, I don't like his reference to "religious speech" in this context; it implies a concession to ID critics that is warranted only if their deliberate misunderstanding of ID is accepted. Constitutional protections of Freedom of Speech--whether religious, a-religious, non-religious or whatever--is the only appeal that is needed. "Religion is about indoctrination," he wrote. "Education is about exploration." Oh, that such an attitude could be adopted with respect to current teaching of evolution in school! If as he says indoctrination is religion, evolution's exclusive preeminence in public schools qualifies evolution as religious uncategorically. The concession to a "religious connection" is unwarranted; ID is not religious. It is science. If ID makes theism "intellectually respectable", it does so exactly in the same way NDE makes atheism "intellectually respectable". Both theories attempt to explain the observable data. Neither is immune from unprovable and untestable presuppositions. (In my opinion, ID is more honest about it's presuppositions ruling neither in nor out a *personal* Intelligent Designer; keiths (may he rest in peace) would of course disagree. Darwinism rules out personal intelligence, period, on presupposition alone. ID's supposed religious connection does not offer it more protection under the First Amendment. ID is speech. The fact that it is speech guarantees it's freedom. Can only religious speech be truly free? The beauty of the principle of free speech is that it applies to evolution as well as design. I do NOT want special treatment for either theory. Evolution has a special status thanks to Judge Jones and the demagogues before him. What's needed is even treatment for all theories. THE BEST WAY TO REFUTE ANY THEORY IS WITH EVIDENCE. Professor Loewy does not break away from what he seems to feel are the inherent religious overtones of ID. "Intelligent Design examined outside the dogmatic confines of religion is a different type of experience from Sunday School, and frankly, one that the public schools ought to provide....Perhaps they shouldn't study it in science, but they ought to study it somewhere." I don't agree with this and I don't agree that ID should be taught anywhere BUT science. Rigor is needed for the study of ID or NDE concepts. There should be NO discussion of who or what the Designer is apart from the material evidence that rigorous scientific study makes available. In this sense, I am wholly in favor of materialism NOT for its restriction on sources of explanation, but FOR its restriction to what may be actually observed. When it comes to what we can observe, all we have are our five senses plus our ability to reason. Reason, taking into account the mathematics of probability, DOES suggest an Intelligent Designer. That is not the same as postulating a Designer apart from evidence. Postulating a Designer apart from evidence is the same error as evolutionists make: extrapolation beyond that which actual observations warrant. Anybody can extraploate anything. Extrapolation is not science; it is imagination. There's a place for imagination: it is to imagine paths for our investigation and/or to imagine ways our reason may be tested and verified. Besides the religious connection he assumes is there, one or two other assertions by Professor Loewy make me think he doesn't really understand ID theory. Here is one statement that cannot be supported in ID: "Although some forms of I.D. conflict with evolution, the concept need not. It is certainly possible that the intelligent designer designed his (her, its, their) final product in slow developmental stages." Unfortunately the idea of irreducible complexity nukes the imaginative postulation of "slow developmental stages." Irreducible complexity means the structure worked all at once, the first time it was tried or we never would have see it; it wouldn't be here. And another: "Indeed, the intelligent designer need have no particular characteristics....They could be a now extinct evil committee." Based on observable evidence; some inferences about the properties of the Designer CAN be appropriate: from the complexity of the micro-machine, it is reasonable to infer intelligence. It is not reasonable to infer evil from any observed structures exhibiting design that I know of. On the other hand, why suppose "the evil committee" is now extinct? There's plenty of evidence of evil in the world. There's just no evidence of evil in design. ID has nothing to say about evil. NDE says there is no evil in nature....(except religion of course!) "Classes" of evidence need to be kept separate. Evidence from biology is one class of evidence. Evidence from micro-machines does not propose "an eternal loving God". Evidence from ancient literature might suggest an eternal loving God, but the study of the veracity and authority of ancient literature is another class of evidence. Professor Loewy says, "No religion that I know of worships the latter type of designer." Professor Loewy appears not to have heard of "Satanism". Red Reader
Great article. I'm in pretty much complete agreement with the author. DaveScot

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