Creationist Credibility

Some of you may recall that the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, publisher of the creationist textbook, Of Pandas and People, wants to intervene in the Dover, PA lawsuit to protect its intellectual property. Their textbook is central to the case that the school board violated the separation of church and state. In fact, the plaintiffs have subpoenaed FTE’s records about the textbook to help demonstrate its religious nature.

However, the publisher believes that their sales will be hurt if their textbook is found to be a leading cause of a first amendment violation. Therefore, FTE is trying to intervene in the case to convince the court that its textbook is something other than what it is.

Yesterday, the York Dispatch reported on some developments in the case: “Textbook publisher wants to join lawsuit - Says company is not a religious organization”.

Buell said his organization is “not at all” Christian or religious in nature. But attorney Eric Rothschild with the Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton pointed out that the not-for-profit organization’s Internal Revenue Service tax exemption form says their primary purpose is “promoting and publishing textbooks presenting a Christian perspective.”

Buell blamed the “error” on a new accountant who was “not even from the state of Texas.”

He said he had never seen the form until Rothschild pointed out that his initials were on the bottom of one page.

The organization’s Articles of Incorporation from the state of Texas also mention religion, Christianity and the Bible.

Buell blamed that on the attorney who filed the papers.

“So the accountant got it wrong and the attorney got it wrong?” Rothschild asked.

“That’s true,” Buell said.

Rothschild also brought forth several other examples of the foundation’s possible religious ties, including an early draft of the book, which in its infant stages was titled “Biology of Origins.”

The draft mentioned “creationism” frequently. But in the final copy of the book, after the title was changed, the word creationism was replaced with the phrase “intelligent design.”

Buell said the word creationism was a “placeholder term.” The definition of creationism changed to include a religious context after the draft was written, so the writers changed the word, he said.