When I worked at Dell every conference room had a sign in it which read “Attack Ideas – Not the People Who Hold Them”. I’d never seen that saying before but I presumed it was a common saying. Just a few minutes ago, out of curiosity, I googled it and found only four hits on the world wide web. And three of the four were quotes of me!
At any rate, I strongly believe that ideas should stand or fall on their own merits regardless of who it is that holds them. This is especially true in science and should be true when the United States Supreme Court judges things like Cobb County’s sticker or Dover’s verbal message. These are ideas and ideas should be judged apart from the people who hold them.
The vaunted Lemon Test doesn’t specifically address religious motivation as relevant, although it does declare there must be some secular purpose, but it has certainly been read like any religious motivation poisons the well by some lower courts. I suspect that the Lemon Test’s days are numbered now that a conservative majority has endured long enough to get a like-minded majority onto the Supreme Court bench.
Where there’s just plain no denying that people are being attacked instead of ideas is when the idea is ID and the attackers are “scientists”. Not only is the idea of ID not being judged apart from those holding it, the primary argument against it seems to be pointing out that the majority of its proponents are evangelical Christians, like that in and of itself makes ID unscientific. What rubbish! That is not the scientific way. Any scientist worth his salt who attacks ID based on the personal religious beliefs of a majority of those who hold it should be ashamed of themselves. And the ones cheering about courts censoring it on establishment clause grounds are downright despicable. These are no scientists but rather people with an anti-religion agenda who won’t let facts get in the way of their agenda.