California high school sued over ‘intelligent design’ class — A famous liberal on TV (I forget his name) commented that the death of the Liberals and the Democrats is because they cannot pick the right battles to fight. This appears to be an example. The study of philsophy will always entail religion in some form or another as a philosophical construct. Read this article and you’ll discover that the philosophy teacher is rebuked becuase he/she has no scientific background. Huh? Wha? Do these people even know what philosophy actually is?

That said, could this be a red herring?? I find all this very peculiar.

FRESNO, Calif. – A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of “intelligent design” in a philosophy course taught by a minister’s wife, according to the U.S. District Court suit filed by parents of 13 students.

related links:
Map of the Major Branches of Philosophy
(note “Philosophy of Religion)

  1. Chris says:

    While this may be a stupid battle on the part of secularists, It is also apparent that this is not just some philosophy course. From the class description:

    …the class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid. The class will discuss Intelligent Design as an alternative response to evolution. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the Earth is thousands of years old, not billions.

    There is a huge difference between including religion in a philosophy or a history course and a theology course disguised as such.

  2. Brenda Helverson says:

    “Philosophy is the consistent misuse of terminology that was specifically designed for that purpose.” J. Reichmann, S.J.

  3. Pat says:

    The article suggests that this is really just a religion course. If it was truly impartial then there would not be a statement of fact in the course description and the course material would be much more evenly balanced. My guess is this is just an excuse to have a religion class on the School’s pocket book. If the School Board is worried about the cost of the suit, they might ask Pat Robertson to put his money where his mouth is and help out.

  4. Dr. Fussbudget says:

    So, the fundamentalists are going to put up with finding themselves in a school dept. with a bunch of “philosophologists” (one of Robert Pirsig’s favorite words. I like it too) and just go along? I doubt it.

    Near as I can tell, they really want a full-blown bible class, that replaces scientific, philosophical and any other ways of human thinking that might contradict the so-called Word from Above. I’ll bet they won’t quit until something like that is implemented. They’ll simply think that they have the weight of numbers behind them.

  5. Sounds the Alarm says:

    Teaching creationism in a science class as fact is wrong.

    Discussing it in a philosophy class strikes me as just fine. I fact i would prefer that any such discussions be done in that setting.

  6. Chris says:

    I wonder why the religious right did not think of this before. Forget science, why not do this with the Philosophy of Religion in general. Here is a proposed course.

    the class will take a close look at comparative religion as a philosophical theory and will discuss the ethical, moral, and social aspects of various world religions and discuss why non-Christian religions are not rock solid. The class will discuss Christianity as an alternative response to atheism, Judaism, Islam, and Pantheism. Moral and spiritual evidence will be presented suggesting that Christianity is the only rational response to life’s problems.

    This is fine, of course, since it is philosophy, right.

  7. Steve says:

    Just as putting online porn sites in a “.xxx” domain would keep the pornography away from the more respectable parts of the Internet, so would putting Intelligent Design lessons in a philosopy/theology course keep the theory away from the more respectable parts of science.

  8. Floyd says:

    Discusing creationism is OK in a philosophy class in public school, as long as its weaknesses (which are many) are also discussed. That of course isn’t happening in Chris’s first syllabus.

    Religion classes in philosophy departments in universities (I took two of them) discuss religions critically and dispassionately. No specific religion is advocated in any class.

    Chris’s second syllabus might as well be for Sunday school or catechism. That was presumably what he was pointing out, of course.

  9. Chris says:

    The first syllabus comes from the school itself. I don’t think reading it that the course will offer a fair philosophical assesment of evolution and creationism. It looks like they are sneaking a science unit on creationism (“Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the Earth is thousands of years old, not billions.”,) Since the school knows that they can’t put that into the science class, they are sneaking it into a different class and calling it philosophy. The trouble with philosophy, as often taught by non-philosophers, is that it becomes a vague or ambiguous discussion of what we happen to feel or believe. There is no way to know if this teacher has any background in philosophy of science.

    My second syllabus of course is mine, but I don’t see why, if we allow the first, we would not allow the second. Religious philosophy is just as valid as scientific philosophy, and can be taught just as dogmatically.

    This is why this is so dangerous and why people are so quickly up in arms.

  10. Brent Stephens says:

    What are we all so concerned about? If we are so secure in our belief in evolution, shouldn’t we then be able to crush Intelligent Design or any other theory that challenges evolution with ease?

    Afterall, when the theory that the earth was flat was challenged by some it clearly couldn’t stand the test of another theory.


  11. Floyd says:

    Brent, the problem isn’t us, it’s the push of certain religious people to advocate unscientific theories that match their beliefs. Assuming you’re a parent, this sort of thing may well happen when a teacher (or, more likely, school board member(s)), inspired by their religion to evangelize, pushes their beliefs into the school curriculum, where it’s fed to kids that don’t know any better.

  12. GregAllen says:

    I believe in ID but realize it isn’t science and shouldn’t be taught as such.

    I’d like to design an ID curriculum… I think it could be done in a way that doesn’t violate church-and-state separation.

    It has to be taught in the context of comparative religions. It must include native American, Hindu, Islam, Christian, etc creation mythologies. It could be pretty interesting and good for the students.

    But, I realize, this isn’t what the ID people want. They only want the Christian perspective taught… and not even the mainstream Christian perspective… only their narrow fundamentalist Christian perspective.

  13. Pat says:

    The biggest clue as to why this course is bogus is that there is no mention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Any philosophy class on the origins of life would do well to include an alternative to science and religion.

  14. lilhermano says:

    I myself am a high school student. I find the whole battle between creationism and evolution being instructed in school to be pointless.
    By the time students get to high school they have already decided what they beleive in about the issue. Let those who beleive in God take whatever classes they want. I will stick to Biology class.


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