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Should Intelligent Design Be Taught In Science Classrooms?
by Amber Maccione
Religious Liberty in Science Classrooms?
According to the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court ruling, Justice Brennan stated that teaching creationism in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment because the state had failed to provide a clear secular purpose to teaching creationism alongside evolution. There were three things that he saw that Louisiana’s Creationism Act did not do: 1) clearly explain its purpose of “protecting academic freedom”, 2) enhance the freedom for teachers to teach what they want, and 3) failed to prove that teaching creationism would help in teaching all evidence about the origin of life (Edwards v. Aguillard).
Justice Scalia thought that they should have handed the case back and asked the state to determine whether creationism was science. He felt that Brennan and the others had only looked at motivation instead of seeing if creationism could be proved as a science (Linder).
I would have sided with Justice Brennan and I also think our forefathers would have too. When America was established, it was established by Pilgrims and Separatists who were seeking religious freedom from Europe where Kings required all subjects to worship and believe as he. This is where our forefathers were coming from when they wrote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” According to Davis, there are two viewpoints: separationist approach and nonpreferentialism (Davis 256). I would side more with the separationist approach, which states that there should be a wall of separation (Davis 256). Those that signed our Constitution did not all believe the same way. It was important to our forefathers that a certain religion was not pushed on people. If our public schools allow a certain religion to be taught even if behind the disguise of per se “creationism” or creation science, then that would be pushing a religion on others. If we want creationism to be taught alongside evolution, then all other religious beliefs/theories about the origin of life should also be taught. But I would side with Justice Brennan and say that creationism does have religious ties and would violate the First Amendment of separation of church and state.
Davis, S. (2008). Corwin and Peltason’s Understanding the Constitution (17th ed.). Belmont: Thomason Higher Education.
Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1986/1987)
Linder, D. (2004). Justices Brennan and Scalia debate creation-science. Retrieved from http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/brennanscalia.html
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Intelligent Design Part 1
Intelligent Design Part 2
Intelligent Design Part 3
© 2012 Amber