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Humanism vs. Christianity
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse

Chapter 8

The Pirates

Humanism vs. Christianity
The Polarization of America

by Patrick Vosse

Part Two
Know the Foe

Chapter 8 - The Pirates

We have seen how the scientific community has ignored the deficiencies of the philosophy of evolution as a scientific hypothesis and used the techniques of Darwin and his supporters to develop a social acceptance and take a very defensive position on the matter. The question is, why? Scientists do not do this with other fields of study, why do so with evolution? Because, although is uses scientific components, it is not a science, it is a philosophy. And not just any philosophy– it is the most important component of the Secular-Progressive movement.

The Roots of Humanism


  1. the doctrine that people's duty is to promote human welfare
  2. the doctrine emphasizing a person's capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural
  3. the cultural movement of the Renaissance; based on classical studies

Humanism had its roots in the rationalism of the 18th Century and the freethought[1] movement of the 19th Century. Humanism in its formative years was Atheistic and rejected all revealed knowledge. Secular Humanism also emphasized the fundamental goodness of all humanity and rejected the concept of sin. This was in direct opposition to orthodox Christianity that has as a fundamental tenant the existence of God, the sinfulness of all humanity, and the need for individual salvation. In 1920, a Unitarian minister, Charles Francis Potter, founded the Fist Humanist Society of New York. The advisory board included Julian Huxley, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, and Thomas Mann. In 1933, another Unitarian minister, Ramond Bragg, wrote the first Humanist Manifesto. The first Humanist Manifesto (see Appendix 3) claimed to outline a new "Humanist religion" that would replace traditional theistic-based religions. In fact, it was far from the religious Humanism it claimed to be. Eventually Secular Humanism became the predominant for of Humanism, however, the concept of a religious Humanism survives today and is an important part of the Humanism-Christianity polarization. Religious Humanism will be discussed in Chapter 13.

Humanism is the cornerstone of the modern liberal philosophies and influences politics, economics, education, and society in general throughout the world. When evolution appeared on the scene, it had a ready-made home. Before discussing the role of Evolutionism in modern liberal movements, we should briefly review the development of liberal philosophies.

Frances Bacon (1561-1626)

Bacon was influential in establishing methodology for scientific inquiry and the scientific approach to problem solving that would eventually become the scientific method discussed previously. It is the foundation of all the sciences today. His system involved observation to establishing fact. Then through inductive reasoning and experimentation, establish a law that explains the observations. Scientific thinking would revolutionize how men approached and solved problems. It would provide for arriving at correct conclusions and minimize or eliminate incorrect conclusions. Bacon, however, did not reject religion. He held that religion and philosophy (science) were separate and should coexist.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Descartes is considered the founder of modern philosophy and modern mathematics. He was influential in the use of Platonic thought (deductive) and initially determined that thought, not perception would lead one to knowledge and the first principle of philosophy that can be accepted as truth without proof. He stated this principle in his famous remarks: "I think, therefore, I am." This is an example of how the men of this period were not interested in revealed religious principles, but were interested in attaining those same truths by reason. And, of course, if one could acquire truth through philosophy, religion was unnecessary.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Newton is regarded as the most influential scientist in history. His contributions to mathematics, physics, astronomy, and philosophy still impact mankind today. His insights to the study of natural phenomena and the methodology he developed contributed significantly to the scientific revolution. Newton developed the calculus, laws of gravitation, laws of thermodynamics, laws of planetary motion, and laws of mechanics. Applications of these discoveries are the basis for modern engineering and science.

This scientific advancement resulted in the advancement of the humanistic principle that Man can eventually do anything he puts his mind to. It is interesting to note that Newton was a student of the occult and that his work in alchemy and Hermetic Gnosticism (see Chapter 12) eventually led to the concept of gravity. He once stated that, "I study the Bible daily". However, much of his Bible study was devoted to the Gnostic search for hidden codes in the text. His contemporaries accused him of being a Rosicrucian, as were many members of the Royal Society, and his occult interest, which he openly admitted, would support the claim.

While Newton was "religious", he had concluded that the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus were in error, thus, he was a heretic. In fact, his philosophy is consistent with modern Unitarianism. However, he kept these beliefs a relative secret. When he was proposed for a position at the university, he faced a dilemma. At the time, it was required that all faculty be ordained clergy, however, he could not accept ordination because of his beliefs. He petitioned the king for an exception and received it.

Newton's exception did not appear significant at the time, but it began an important development in the higher education establishment. Church control of universities was diminished and eventually eliminated. Freedom of thought and humanism could be developed in the higher education system without external control. This concept is one of the fundamental principles of higher education today.

Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677)

Spinoza is considered to be the founder of modern biblical criticism. He considered God and Nature to be two names for the same thing. His arguments were presented with a precision that exerted great influence on the thinking of his contemporaries and many who followed. Some of Spinoza’s tenets are summarized below.

  • God is the natural world and is impersonal
  • The natural world made itself
  • Everything must necessarily happen in the exact way that it does, therefore, there is no free will
  • There is no real difference between good and evil
  • Everything done by humans and other animals is good and "divine".
  • All rights are derived from the state

Among those influenced by Spinoza are Albert Einstein, who claimed that he had the most influence on his worldview, and Karl Marx and the communist movement. If one reads the Humanist Manifesto, the influence of Spinoza is obvious.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

Rousseau’s ideas had a great influence on the French Revolution as well as several contemporary philosophers in other countries. His central theme was the establishment of the individual’s freedom. According to Rousseau, Man is good by nature but is corrupted by society. Society has a negative influence on otherwise noble men. He was one of the first modern philosophers to attack private property and is, therefore, considered instrumental in the development of socialism and communism. His view that Man was good by nature opposes the Church's doctrine of sinful Man and much of the teaching of the apostles in their epistles. It negates the need for salvation. He claimed that followers of Jesus would not make good citizens. This philosophy is common in today’s Secular-Progressive society.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

Immanuel Kant was the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment Period. He developed a logical argument to prove the necessity of "something whose nonexistence is impossible"; therefore, there must be a God. However, he does not separate God from the material. Kant argued that Good does not come from outside the human subject, either in nature or given by God. Rather, Good is acting according to inherent universal laws to which men freely give their will. This impersonal God is consistent with the modern Unitarian concept.

George Hegel (1770-1831)

Hegel has considerable influence on later philosophers; however, his writings are obscure and not easily grasped. Hegel was concerned with the contradictions found in philosophy, history, and society and established a system for resolving these into "absolute knowledge". This is the dialectical method and involves rationalizing the contradictions until they merge into a synthesis. Hegel developed the concept of an "Absolute Spirit" that equates the universe with god (not unlike the Dharmic religions such as Buddhism). This "Absolute Spirit" is becoming self-conscious through the minds of humans. This concept defines a non-personal "God" in pantheistic terms as determined by the human mind. Hegel’s philosophy was important in the development of Marxism and most modern English language studies.

Fredrick Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Nietzsche, who we mentioned above, had a significant impact on the development of German Nazism and anti-Semitism in the 20th century. Some of the elements of his philosophy are given below.

  • He rejected the concept of morality
  • He considered Christianity as merely a philosophical concept that was no longer relevant and was being replaced by humanistic materialism. One of his most famous statements is "God is dead", does not mean God died (he does not accept that there is a God), but that humanity has advanced past the need for a God. His observation of the Philosophical Church probably confirmed this position.
  • The concept of Good vs. Evil must be replaced by Good vs. Bad
  • There are "aristocrats" and there is the "herd"
  • Values are determined by nature not on predetermined, unquestioned principles of Christianity
  • He claimed that, not only was Christianity untrue, but that is was a Jewish conspiracy to oppose the Roman Empire.
  • The religion of the ancient Greeks was superior to Christianity because it portrayed strong, smart men. Christianity demonized healthy natural desires such as eroticism, revenge, creativity, and independence from social mores.
  • He developed a philosophy that emphasized unlimited individualism and development of personality.

Nietzsche was popular in Germany after the First World War and many of his concepts supported the Nazi agenda in Germany. Many of his ideas were included in the Nazi philosophy. Nietzsche’s ideas supported the agnostic trends that were developing as well as the biological worldview regarding evolution. Several of his concepts even found their way into the psychology of Sigmund Freud.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Of all the philosophers discussed so far, Karl Marx probably had the greatest influence on all of modern mankind. His ideas resulted in the development of communism, which has become a dominant social influence worldwide, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Much of Marx’s philosophy was based on Hegel's concepts. The entirety of Marxism goes beyond the scope of our discussion here and we will focus on its impact on humanism. In his "Contributions to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law" Marx wrote:

Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet found himself or has already lost himself again…

…Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and also the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness. The demand to give up illusions about the existing state of affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs which needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of tears, the halo of which is religion.

Marx approached everything, history, sociology, politics, and religion, in materialistic terms. With Marxism, the state replaces God. Society (the state) sets the moral requirements for the individuals. Marxism appeals to many because it purports to eliminate class struggle and establish an equitable economic condition for all members of society. While the economics of this philosophy appear to be in question, the principle of equality still appeals to many. The Marxist social evolution of the state consists of:

  1. Primitive communism (tribal society)
  2. Barbarism
  3. Slavery
  4. Feudalism
  5. Capitalism
  6. Socialistic state. The socialist slogan is: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work". The socialistic state is a transition between capitalism and communism.
  7. Communistic state. The communist slogan is: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". Due to the oppression of the classes, forced rebellion is necessary to establish the communist society.

Within the socialistic or communistic state, Marx implies the need to eliminate religion. The communist systems established in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba and elsewhere verify that this is indeed the case. Marx implies a development of the state through the seven stages mentioned above. However, in truth, capitalism is the highest and most developed stage. Socialism and its end result, Communism, are merely forms of Feudalism. In Feudalism, the state is ruled by a monarch and a subordinate elite class who own all the land and provide for the needs of the peasants who work for them. In Communism, the monarch is replace by the dictator and the government elite who provide for the citizens who work for the state. This may explain why Socialism is more successful in Europe than in America; Europeans have a centuries-old tradition of feudal governance and a mind-set more amenable to the Marxist form of social control.

Many academics may profess to be Marxists; however, in light of the universal economic failure of communism, the only aspect of Marxism left to believe in is the humanistic materialism that opposes religion. The truth is that Marxism is the ultimate means of implementing Humanistic philosophy; its economic success or failure is irrelevant.

It should be emphasized that it is the nature of philosophies to be diverse and dynamic, always changing, but a common thread runs through the philosophies discussed above– they are atheistic and generally actively oppose religion. Their rational arguments are elegant. They make reasonable points, many of which have had a significant impact of society. However, all these philosophies duck the fundamental deficiency with their atheism. How does one explain our existence? How did we get here? It is worth taking a few minute to discuss the philosophy of the 13th century Christian philosopher, Thomas Aquinas.

Aquinas put forth this argument for the existence of God: Every effect has a cause and every cause is an effect of a previous cause. For example, scientists theorize that our universe came into existence through an infinitely small point of immense energy. But what caused that energy? Scientists have offered numerous speculations for natural causes, such as the energy came from the collapse of a previous universe, but this merely begs the question, "What caused that universe?" Aquinas postulates that there has to be a Prime Cause, one that was never caused and has always existed. God. The Secular Humanists either dismiss this argument without giving a reason or simply state that the physical universe is self-existing and has always existed, but there has never been and argument that successfully contradicts Aquinas and the Humanist explanations given above do not agree with current scientific understanding of cosmology.

Developing the Agenda

By the 20th century, humanism had become an established influence throughout the western world and that influence increases continuously. For a detailed description of what Humanism is today, Appendix 3 gives the Humanist Manifesto 2 (HM2) and Humanist Manifesto 3 (HM3). The Humanist Manifesto outlines the tenants of those whose philosophy has synthesized the liberal philosophers discussed above in the modern context. There are several HM principles that are pertinent to our discussion here.

  • We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species.i>. Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence; in our judgment, the dogmas and myths of traditional religions do not do so. Even at this late date in human history, certain elementary facts based upon the critical use of scientific reason have to be restated. We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity. (HM2 – FIRST)
  • Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the "ghost in the machine" and the "separable soul." Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture. (HM2 – SECOND)
  • The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives. The state should encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society. It should not favor any particular religious bodies through the use of public monies, nor espouse a single ideology and function thereby as an instrument of propaganda or oppression, particularly against dissenters. (HM2 – NINTH)
  • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. (HM3)

In the conflict between Creationism and Evolutionism, Christianity and Humanism, it is important to see by whom the philosophy of evolution is used and how. The philosophical principles of Humanism rely heavily on evolution for support. It is interesting to note that HM2 and 3 specifically cite evolution as a fundamental component of their philosophy. They do not cite medicine, psychology, or pharmacology, although these have a significant impact on human well being. They do not cite chemistry, although that science is responsible for much of our technology today. The do not cite Einstein’s Theory of Relativity even though Einstein was an active Humanist. They do not cite any hard science as an important part of their philosophy because science is irrelevant to the concepts they propose– which is a philosophy. But they cite evolution.

Evolution is cited as a principle of the Humanists’ belief system in the context of their anti-religion and ethical mores. The Humanists use evolution as a philosophical component. Moreover, while they criticize religion for not passing the test of scientific evidence, they completely ignore the fact that evolution, the cornerstone of Humanism does not pass that same test either. However, that does not matter, because evolution solves the problem that plagued the liberal philosophies upon which Humanism rests–it provides a non-theistic explanation for our existence. This inconsistency in Humanist thinking and illogical conclusions is commonplace in Humanism and discussed further in Chapter 13.

During the 1860’s, Darwin and his supporters conducted a campaign to get evolution by natural selection accepted by society. Control of the media, lobbying of influential scientists and politicians, and control of scientific publications were all part of his effort to "sell" his idea. And it worked. But the campaign did not end with the death of Darwin; others picked up the responsibility. The campaign to promote evolution was not led by scientist as one would expect, it was led by the Humanists. And it still is.

By the early 1930’s, Humanism was sufficiently organized that Humanist societies were able to formulate the Humanist Manifesto in 1933. Many of the organizers of the humanist movement were Unitarians, as was Darwin's family, and 40 percent of the signers of HM2 were Unitarians. Humanist associations have been organized in Australia, Europe, America, and several other countries with some famous and influential members. Here is a sampling of some of the more influential members: Albert Einstein (physicist), Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist), Carl Sagan (astronomer), Peter Ustinov (actor), Betty Friedan (feminist activist), Benjamin Spock (child psychologist), Rod Sterling (producer), Gene Roddenberry (producer – Star Trek), Jonas E. Salk (developed polio vaccine), William Howard Taft (27th president), Brock Chisholm (First Director General of the World Health Organization), John Boyd Orr (first Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization), Julian Huxley (first Director-General of UNESCO), Richard Leakey (anthropologist), Bertrand Russell (mathematician, politician, and philosopher), Gloria Steinem (feminist activist, and founder of Ms. Magazine), Roger Nash Baldwin (founder and first head of the ACLU George Bernard Shaw (philosopher).

The list above is by no means exhaustive; it is only meant to show the variety and positions of influence held by the Humanists in modern society. There are a few Humanists that merit a closer look.

Ted Turner

Mr. Turner is the owner of numerous radio and TV stations including CNN, MGM/UA, and TNT, Time-Warner. He is in a position to influence the editorial policy of a large section of the media. He holds honored positions in the Humanist organizations and actively supports the principles of the Humanist Manifesto.

John Dewey

John Dewey was a philosopher, psychologist, author, and noted educator. Dewey was one of the original signatories to HM2. His influence on 20th century education was profound, particularly in introducing Humanism and evolution into public school curricula. Dewey participated in a variety of humanist activities from the thirties into the fifties. He was elected an honorary member of the Humanist Press Association (1936). He participated in the establishment of the National Education Association, NAACP, and the ACLU. He wrote an Americanized version of the Communist Manifesto and work to establish Socialism in the United States. He was active in establishing academic freedom specifically aimed at allowing Humanism and evolution to be taught in universities (see Bertrand Russell, below). He was influential in establishing Progressivism in the public school. He was a leader in establishing the teaching of evolution in schools and his ideas regarding indoctrinating student in Humanism are used today. He founded the liberal American Association of University Professors. Much of the Progressivism observed in the K-12 schools, colleges, and universities is due to Dewey’s influence.

Sir Julian Huxley: (22 June 1887–14 February 1975)

Sir Julian Huxley was an English evolutionary biologist and humanist. He was a proponent of natural selection, and a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century evolutionary synthesis. He was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935–1942), the first Director of UNESCO, and a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund. He was one of the main architects of modern evolutionary synthesis. Huxley was a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society, and was Vice-President (1937-1944) and President (1959-1962). He thought eugenics was important for removing undesirable variants from the human gene pool. He believed that the lowest class in society was genetically inferior. As he stated in 1941:

The lowest strata are reproducing too fast. Therefore... they must not have too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground for sterilisation.

Bertrand Russell

Developed "Analytical Philosophy" which was to become the dominant philosophy of the English-speaking world for most of the 20th century. Analytical Philosophy laid the foundation for merging science and philosophy as applied by Evolutionists. He had difficulty being accepted to the faculty of some universities because of his extreme stand on Humanism but with the support of influential Humanists, eventually became embedded in the academic world.

George Soros

Billionaire, philanthropist, Socialist, and admitted atheist. Through numerous organizations such as The Open Society Institute, he funds movements that support the Humanist agenda. He exerts considerable influence within the Democratic Party and the media. Soros is a leading proponent of a new world order that includes a world government and a world without national borders.

Roger Nash Baldwin

Leftist, anarchist, and communist, Baldwin earned his M.A. at Harvard then taught social work at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1920, he formed the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU remained relatively unheard of until it became famous for defending evolution in the Scopes trial (see below). In the 1930s, Baldwin and the ACLU became linked to the Popular Front movement, which was promoted by Stalin to strengthen the Communist Party by allowing it to make common cause with socialists and other leftist groups. He was an admitted anti-Christian and, through his direction, the ACLU has had the following objectives:

  • Halt the singing of Christmas Carols in public facilities.
  • Deny tax-exempt status for Churches.
  • Remove all military chaplains.
  • Remove all Christian symbols from public property.
  • Prohibit Bible reading in classrooms even during free time.
  • Remove "In God We Trust" from our coins.
  • Remove "God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Deny federal funding for Boy Scouts until they allow homosexual leaders.

The ACLU has been the most significant force behind lawsuits to eliminate creation from the classroom and requiring the teaching of evolution and advancing Humanism in general. Being less well funded than the ACLU, most school districts rule in favor of the ACLU position and require evolution to be taught and prohibiting the teaching of alternate positions just to avoid a costly law suite. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 13.


During the first half of the 20th century, many of the evolutionary scientists were sincere in their scientific inquiry. Shortcomings of the Darwinian hypothesis were commonly known and they were serious about resolving the challenging questions through the scientific method. However, there was pressure, direct and indirect, from the Humanist community to popularize evolution as a philosophical component of Humanism. They needed evolution to be generally accepted since it offered an alternative to religion and all theistic positions.

Up to now, I have been somewhat critical of the evolutionary biologists (OK, more than somewhat critical). But I do not want the Reader to get the wrong impression. Conducted according to the established procedures of the scientific method, evolution is an intriguing and legitimate scientific inquiry. No Creationist should challenge the legitimacy of the evolution biologist’s documented discoveries. Who knows? What if the theistic evolution proponents are right? The difficulty I have with Evolutionism, as described in the previous chapters, is that the science of evolution has been rushed by the Humanist agenda. This has been true from the beginning when The Origin of Species was prematurely published until today.

Of course, there are evolutionary biologists who are also Humanists, such as Richard Dawkins. These I fault for ignoring the scientific method in order to confiscate evolution for their Humanist agenda. In spite of serious questions about the evolution hypothesis, Humanist scientists support the advancement of evolution in the media and schools as a fact, a phenomenon unique to evolution.

During the early years of the 20th century, Humanists and Evolutionist had a difficult time breaking into the established schools and universities. The case of Bertrand Russell is an example. But gradually, as these philosophies grew in popularity they attracted influential adherents who could apply pressure in the educational institutions– and the courts.

The state of Tennessee had established the Butler Act that made it unlawful to "to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." In order to challenge the law, the ACLU worked out a plan with John Scopes, a high school teacher, in which Scopes would teach evolution from a textbook that included a chapter discussing Darwinian evolution. On 25 May 1925, Scopes was charged with violating the Butler Act.

Rural Tennessee was not ready for the liberal philosophy of the Humanists and Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. However, the trial was just what the ACLU needed; the publicity made them a household word. Evolution, as a science had been confiscated as a tool to advance the ACLU, and Humanist, agenda. At this point, scientists admitted that Darwin’s hypothesis had flaws and needed modification; the modern evolutionary synthesis hypothesis would not be developed for several years. Except for the Evolutionist philosophers, the scientific community was not ready to push the hypothesis as theory, let alone fact. Evolution was being used by the ACLU as a tool to allow evolution to be taught in schools and eventually the elimination of creation or anything remotely associated with Christianity but they would have to wait until there was a more liberal judicial system in order to press their agenda forward.

By the 1960’s the nation had become significantly more liberal and that liberalism was reflected in the courts. In 1968, in Epperson v. Arkansas, the United States Supreme Court invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution. The Court held the statute unconstitutional on the grounds that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not permit a state to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any particular religious sect or doctrine. Once a legal precedent is established, the door is open for expanding the ruling; and that is exactly what happened in the years that followed. 

However, the liberal courts had perhaps extended there interpretation too far on the matter of prohibiting religious ideas in schools. The issue is based on the US Constitution First Amendment, which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

This does not apply to states (only to the US Congress) and one has to ask if some of the other rulings, such as prohibiting prayer in schools actually violate this provision of the Constitution. Obviously, someone has an agenda and evolution is merely a means to the end.

By the middle of the 20th century, evolution was being taught in all the public schools, but some were also teaching creation as an alternative position. The ACLU now set their sights on their real target: elimination of creation from the schools completely. In this, they have essentially succeeded. A detailed discussion of this topic is presented in Chapter 13, However, a few of the more significant cases are discussed here.[2]

In 1971, Lemon v Kurtzman was decided. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids the government from establishing religion. In the Lemon decision, the U.S. Supreme Court devised a three-prong test to determine if a particular government policy was unconstitutional. Under Lemon, a government policy is unconstitutional if: (1) it has a primarily religious purpose, (2) it has a primarily religious effect, or (3) it excessively entangles the government and religion. A policy is unconstitutional if it fails the test of any prong.

Willoughby v. Stever was a 1973 legal case in which creationist William Willoughby sued the National Science Foundation director H. Guyford Stever for using taxpayer money to fund pro-evolution textbooks "promoting" secular humanism as the "official religion of the United States", thus violating the Establishment clause of the US Constitution. The lawsuit was dismissed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds that the textbooks disseminated science, not religion.

In 1981, in Segraves v. State of California, the court found that the California State Board of Education's Science Framework, as written and as qualified by its anti-dogmatism policy, gave sufficient accommodation to the views of Segraves, contrary to his contention that class discussion of evolution prohibited his and his children's free exercise of religion. The anti-dogmatism policy provided that class discussions of origins should emphasize that scientific explanations focus on "how", not "ultimate cause", and that any speculative statements concerning origins, both in texts and in classes, should be presented conditionally, not dogmatically. The court's ruling also directed the Board of Education to disseminate the policy, which in 1989 was expanded to cover all areas of science, not just those concerning issues of origins.

In 1982, in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, a federal court held that a "balanced treatment" statute violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Arkansas statute required public schools to give balanced treatment to "creation-science" and "evolution-science". In a decision that gave a detailed definition of the term "science", the court declared that "creation science" is not in fact a science. The court also found that the statute did not have a secular purpose, noting that the statute used language peculiar to creationist literature in emphasizing origins of life as an aspect of the theory of evolution. While the subject of life's origins is within the province of biology, the scientific community does not consider the subject as part of evolutionary theory, which assumes the existence of life and is directed to an explanation of how life evolved after it originated. The theory of evolution does not presuppose either the absence or the presence of a creator. (Note that this last sentence clearly defines the difference between the evolution scientist and the Evolutionist philosopher who presupposes the absence of a creator).

In 1990, in Webster v. New Lenox School District, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that a school district might prohibit a teacher from teaching creation science in fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that the First Amendment's establishment clause is not violated and that religious beliefs are not injected into the public school curriculum. The court upheld a district court finding that the school district had not violated Webster's free speech rights when it prohibited him from teaching "creation science", since it is a form of religious advocacy.

In Bishop v. Aronov (1991), a professor occasionally referred to his personal religious beliefs as part of his lectures. The program chair directed him to refrain. The professor sued, claiming the directive inhibited his right to freely exercise his religious beliefs and constituted an establishment of religion. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that: The court held that neither the professor's in-class comments nor his optional class violated the establishment clause because his conduct had a secular purpose, the primary effect of his comments did not advance or inhibit religion, and his behavior did not foster excessive government entanglement with religion. The court, however, gave several cautionary comments. It should be noted that university professors have wide latitude of conduct far exceeding high school teachers.

In 1994, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court finding that a teacher's First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is not violated by a school district's requirement that evolution be taught in biology classes. Rejecting plaintiff Peloza's definition of a "religion" of "evolutionism", the Court found that the district had simply and appropriately required a science teacher to teach a scientific theory in biology class.

In the 1997 decision Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana rejected a policy requiring the reading of a disclaimer in biology classes prior to teaching evolution. The court also ruled that teaching intelligent design is unconstitutional because it is equivalent to teaching creationism. Following is the text of the disclaimer that was not allowed by the court:

Whenever, in classes of elementary or high school, the scientific theory of evolution is to be presented, whether from textbook, workbook, pamphlet, other written material, or oral presentation, the following statement shall be quoted immediately before the unit of study begins as a disclaimer from endorsement of such theory. It is hereby recognized by the Tangipahoa Board of Education, that the lesson to be presented, regarding the origin of life and matter, is known as the Scientific Theory of Evolution and should be presented to inform students of the scientific concept and not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation or any other concept. It is further recognized by the Board of Education that it is the basic right and privilege of each student to form his/her own opinion and maintain beliefs taught by parents on this very important matter of the origin of life and matter. Students are urged to exercise critical thinking and gather all information possible and closely examine each alternative toward forming an opinion.

In 2000, District Court Judge Bernard E. Borene dismissed the case of Rodney LeVake v Independent School District 656, et al. High school biology teacher LeVake had argued for his right to teach "evidence both for and against the theory" of evolution. The school district considered the content of what he was teaching and concluded that it did not match the curriculum, which required the teaching of evolution. Given the large amount of case law requiring a teacher to teach the employing district's curriculum, the judge declared that LeVake did not have a free speech right to override the curriculum, nor was the district guilty of religious discrimination.

In 2005, eleven people whose children attended or planed to attend Dover Pennsylvania schools sued the Dover school board and district, claiming the board's decision to make Intelligent Design part of the science curriculum violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The district said it wanted to give fair time to an alternative to evolution theory. Evolution is widely accepted as the unifying concept of biology, and Intelligent Design says evolution cannot explain the complexity of life and that an unnamed designer must have been at work. It was the first time a court has been asked to rule whether Intelligent Design can be taught in public school science class, though the case exactly mirrors the previous cases where creationism was the objective. The court found that Intelligent Design could not be taught in the classroom.

As we entered the 21st century not only had the Evolutionists/Humanists succeeded in getting evolution taught in schools, they had achieved their primary goal of blocking creation in the schools. But the success did not end there. University teachers who challenged evolution on scientific grounds are often denied tenure, find it difficult to be published, and cannot get funding for research. This is discussed in further in Chapter 13. Evolution is now treated as a fact by the media. It is a bit reminiscent of the Darwin blitz 150 years ago. These court rulings state or imply that evolution was fact; but science is not subject to the opinion of a judge and the shortcomings of evolution exist with or without court approval.

Coming Full Circle

However, the conflict between Creationists and Evolutionist has developed a new twist in recent years. On 23 April 2008, the Florida State Legislature adopted a bill to permit academic freedom for teachers and students addressing evolution in Florida’s public schools. The bill would allow teachers to discuss the problems with the evolution hypothesis as a determined by the scientific method. The Evolution Academic Freedom Act was offered in response to new statewide science standards that had become the subject of debate since its release the previous year. Critics claimed the legal standards require a dogmatic acceptance of evolution. The proponents of the bill denied that they were religiously motivated; the purpose of the bill was merely to allow students and teachers to freely debate and challenge evolution.

A similar bill, The Evolution Academic Freedom Act was introduced in the Iowa legislature in February 2009. The bill’s opposition was headed by University of Iowa faculty members. There is a growing pressure to pass this type of legislation in several states.

It is interesting that one of the components of the scientific method and the duty of reputable scientist is open discussion and challenge of a hypothesis. They should debate and challenge a hypothesis – that is just good science. That it takes a law to allow it shows just how much control the Humanists have taken on the subject of evolution science– the scientific method is not allowed. Of course, the ACLU will challenge the bill in court and, if necessary, appeal a decision against them to the Supreme Court. They have plenty of money and it is unthinkable to have good scientific thought process occurring in the classroom; that might raise some embarrassing questions the Evolutionism philosopher would find difficult to answer.

[1] The same Freethought philosophy of the Darwin family.

[2] The ACLU pursued most of the cases discussed here.

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