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Evolution, creationism and the law

Titan at Promethus Retold has an interesting analysis of Jana McCreary published in the Southwestern University Law Review. McCreary makes the argument that evolution is a creation story for atheism (disputable, but beside the point), thus teaching evolution fails the Lemon Test – that the teaching of evolution advances on religion (atheism). According to Titan, McCreary then goes on to suggest that to counter this, government should mandate the teaching of creationism.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that if something violates the law, the solution to the problem is not more violation of the law. As Titan puts it

If teaching evolution really violates the First Amendment, then we should stop teaching it.

That’s all. If you believe that teaching evolution violates the law by furthering one religion, the solution isn’t to argue for more law-breaking. That’s chaos, that’s vigilante justice. But that isn’t the way the law works. Even I know that much.

Titan goes on to argue that even if evolution supports one religious viewpoint over another, there’s no violation of the law because the primary purpose of teaching evolution is not to advance a religious viewpoint. Personally I find it more amusing to imagine what would happen if any law supportive of religion were found to violate the First Amendment. Murder is prohibited by most religions, as is incest. Most religions invoke a universal moral code which is present in our laws – which themselves derive, I suspect, from Roman and Germanic laws meant to further their religions.

It quickly becomes ridiculous. Which may, in fact, be the underlying point of the argument – if declaring laws which advance religion unconstitutional, the entire Lemon Test should be thrown out. And that, of course, might allow the teaching of creationism.

H/T Tim Sandefur at PT.


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