About the Author
David DeWolf is Professor of Law at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane, Washington.
John West is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle and Chair of the Dept. of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University.
Casey Luskin is attorney with a law degree from the University of San Diego.
Jonathan Witt is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and covered the Dover trial for EvolutionNews dot org.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From the Conclusion, "The Need to Protect Academic Freedom"
Judge Jones opinion highlights the pressing need to affirm and defend the right of teachers and students to express honest disagreement with the claims of Darwinian evolution. For all of his concern about the illegitimacy of requiring teachers to mention intelligent design or to "denigrate or disparage" evolution, Judge Jones showed no similar interest in the freedom of teachers and students to express opinions that might be critical of Darwinian evolution. As a result, his opinion is likely to be used by defenders of Darwins theory as a pretext for censoring even completely voluntary expressions of dissenting scientific views by teachers and students.
Teachers seeking to "teach the controversy" over Darwinian evolution in todays climate will likely be met with false warnings that it is unconstitutional to say anything negative about Darwinian evolution. Students who attempt to raise questions about Darwinism, or who try to elicit from the teacher an honest answer about the status of intelligent design theory will trigger administrators concerns about whether they stand in constitutional jeopardy. A chilling effect on open inquiry is being felt in several states already, including Ohio, South Carolina, and California. Judge Jones message is clear: give Darwin only praise, or else face the wrath of the judiciary.
Ironically, in the 1980s when the Louisiana Legislature tried to pass an "Academic Freedom Act" to permit teachers to teach "creation science," the Supreme Court replied by saying that the announced a purpose of protecting academic freedom was a "sham," because the act "does not give schoolteachers a flexibility that they did not already possess to supplant the present science curriculum with the presentation of theories, besides evolution, about the origin of life." In other words, the Supreme Court thought it was so clear that teachers had the academic freedom to present alternative theories that an act permitting them to do so was superfluous.
After Kitzmiller, no one can seriously maintain that academic freedom to study all of the evidence relating to Darwinian evolution is secure. As a consequence, administrative guidelines, even legislative enactments, are needed to provide clearer protection for the rights of students and teachers to critically analyze Darwins theory in the classroom. Otherwise it is the Supreme Courts own rulings that will be made a "sham."