MY NOMINEE FOR THE SUPREME COURT
My nominee for Supreme Court of these United States is a Bush appointed church-going, Christian Republican: U. S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III. For one just to read and hear the enunciation of his title and name is an exciting, esthetic verbal balancing and a line of poetry, enhanced incalculable by his decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The issue was whether or not the school board could introduce into the curriculum of the Dover schools Intelligent Design and teach that evolution is among some scientists a questionable theory.
Judge Jones, in short, ruled that Intelligent Design is not science but is religion in disguise and thus is constitutionally prohibited by the First Amendment from being taught in public schools on the ground of the separation of church and state. But Judge Jones not only ruled against the school board; he hotly scolded and reprimanded two of the ID school board members for lying.
According to an article in “Church and State,” one of the school board members who advocated the introduction of ID into the curriculum, in a disposition, under oath, deposed that he did not know the source of the $850 the board used to purchase copies of an ID textbook called “Of Pandas and People.” But on the stand in the trial before Judge Jones, he changed his testimony and admitted that the money had come from fellow board member. Judge Jones smelled perjury; and when a judge gets a hint of perjury in his court, he sits up from his throne chair and takes notice. Judge Jones did just that and he began to cross-examine the witness himself, a rare procedure in court trials.
The judge’s hot cross-examination revealed that the board member had lied and that, in fact, the money for the books had come from another board member, who had previously testified in deposition that he did not know the source of the money but on the stand he testified that the $850 came from donations solicited by him at his church. Two Christian board members and advocates of ID apparently perjured themselves, perjured themselves so schools could teach religion instead of science in classrooms. And they had passed the plate for the means to implement their ID designs.
In view of the perjured testimony of the board members, the refusal of three ID witnesses to testify on behalf of the board and the lack of probative evidence whatsoever that ID has a scientific basis, Judge Jones found for the plaintiffs on the ground that ID is creationism in disguise.
Judge Jones probably was aware of the disguise before the trial began; but if he wasn’t and had happened to read “Evolution and Creationism: A guide of Museum Docents,” prepared for training docents and staff members at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, N.Y., he would have found rational support to rule as he did. Here are questions and answer from the guide:
WHAT IS EVOLUTION? Organic evolution is the idea that all organisms are connected by genealogy and have changed through time. (That is, all life is related and has its origin in the original.)
HOW DOES EVOLUTION HAPPEN? Evolution is probably driven by several processes, the most important of which is natural selection. Natural selection is a process in which some individuals survive and reproduce better than others because they have inherited characteristics that help them to do so. (It is a process that has worked its will for four billion years.)
IS EVOLUTION ‘JUST A THEORY’? A “theory” in science is a structure of related ideas that explains one or more natural phenomena and is supported by observations from the natural world; it is not something less than a “fact.” Theories actually occupy the highest, not the lowest, rank among scientific ideas. (That is, evolution is a fact.)
HOW DO WE KNOW EVOLUTION OCCURRED? By examining fossils and comparing them to organisms alive today. (We also know from the obvious similarity of us with all else.)
DOESN’T THE COMPLEXITY/DESIGN OF NATURE IMPLY AN INTELLIGENT DESIGNER? Science deals only with the material causes of material phenomena. Nothing we can observe in nature requires a supernatural designer; we therefore defer to material processes to explain what we see in nature. (Science sees earth, its laws, its means and ends, and sees no Heaven therein.)
IS EVOLUTION AGAINST RELIGION? No. Science deals only with material reality; religion deals with the spiritual, the moral and the ethical. (Science deals with nature; religion with faith.)
WHAT IS WRONG WITH TEACHING CREATIONISM AND/OR INTELLIGENT DESIGN IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SCIENCE CLASSES? Both creationism and intelligent design have been tested as scientific hypotheses in the past, and both completely failed. There is no evidence that they are valid scientific ideas. In the absence of such evidence, they are clearly religious ideas, and as such have no place in the science classroom. (Teaching ID is to breach the wall between church and state.)
Judge Jones’s ruling is a blow to Bush, who recently advocated that ID be taught in the classrooms of this nation’s schools, and a blow to millions of Fundamentalists, including Preacher Pat Robertson, who warned that the newly-elected Dover School Board, which was ready to ban ID from the curriculum, might be smitten by God along with the city of Dover for electing an anti-ID school board. And, I suspect, for Judge Jones ruling in favor of evolution.
America, among the favored nations of the world, is without question shackled with a population that is generally ignorant in matters of science and most other matters of cosmic comprehension. Or worse it is indoctrinated in matters of religion to such an extent that it is hopelessly seduced by it and views some science as Satan’s works, including evolution. That a majority of this nation’s minds can believe that a god created this universe and earth and populated it in six days with all of life, from viruses to violets and from apes to saints, and that the same minds cannot believe that evolution of life over a period of four billion years of natural selection could have happened without an Intelligent Designer—reveals the subverting nature, by religion, of reason and imagination. Anyone sane with the help of chance and the will inherent in life possibly could have done it in 4 billion years.
I advocate the nomination of Judge Jones because he has not allowed religion to so diminish his rationality that he can agree with the likes of Pat Robertson or of George Bush or of the Dover board members who want children taught ID. His decision is a victory for humanism and for reason, that faculty born of natural selection to perpetuate the species Homo sapiens. Among that species are those who investigate and think and also, unfortunately, are those who are enthralled by an implausible hypothesis irrationally held, namely, faith.