Thursday, January 13, 2005

Runaway Paranoid Atheism

It's difficult to describe this federal district court ruling any other way:

A federal judge Thursday ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers from its high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying the disclaimers are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories," U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.

The full sticker text reads as follows:

"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Let's make some deductions about this sticker, shall we?

1) It refers only to evolution;

2) It does not refer to religion or creationism in any way, shape, or form;

3) It does not "denigrate" evolution, but merely has the intellectual (and scientific) honesty to state that it is a theoretical model, not established fact, which is, in point of fact, a fact;

4) The only thing students are urged to do is approach the material with an "open mind" and apply scientific rigor to their study of the material contained therein.

Now I'll freely admit that I don't have a magic eight-ball like Judge Cooper does, sitting in the middle of his desk like a big, milky crystal, in which, if the cosmic forces are arrayed just so, and he wears his pink and yellow polka-dot golf knickers under his robes, the glow-in-the-dark Kerry-Edwards propellor bow-tie, and hums the Miami Dolphins fight song backwards while standing on his head, he can telepathically divine the deep, dark, hidden motivations of suburban Atlanta school officials who were obviously reincarnated from the Spanish Inquisition. But I can read, and comprehend, the actual words printed on the actual stickers. And they no more "endorse religion" than Michael Moore would cut promo spots for The O'Reilly Factor.

Once again, it is the defendants who display far more open-mindedness and intellectual integrity than the bigoted, intolerant, narrow-minded plaintiffs and their pliant, fellow-traveling gavel-pounder, whose worldview is apparently so rickety and fragile that no challenge against it is to be tolerated, no matter how many "penumbras" through which they have to rummage.

UPDATE: The Cobb County School District has voted 5-2 to appeal the ruling....