New Law Review Article

Pandas Thumb’s first law review article has been published in the newest issue of the Kansas Journal of Law And Public Policy</em>. The article, “Piercing The Veil of Intelligent Design: Why Courts Should Beware Creationism’s Secular Disguise,” was coauthored by me and Thumb reader Colin McRoberts; several other PT contributors (particularly Glenn Branch) provided helpful comments. Unfortunately it’s not on-line, but folks with Westlaw can read it at 15 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 15 (2005).

Much of the article has already been pre-empted by the decision in the Kitzmiller case. But section IV of the article directly challenges Francis Beckwith’s theory that the government may not choose to favor nature-based theories over supernatural theories. McRoberts and I contend that the First Amendment does not require this kind of neutrality, and moreover that “[s]upernatural explanations…are like ipse dixit arguments, which are not useful and cannot provide a basis for predictions. By contrast, a science that avoids such thinking and seeks to explain natural phenomena in natural terms is the only science capable of giving us the tools to predict future phenomena, or to understand that phenomena in anything other than self-referential terms. Science’s commitment to methodological naturalism is not a priori, but is a chosen path, based on the observed differences between the two epistemological approaches.” Id. at 41. I think this issue (also the subject of Jay Wexler’s recent article) will be of increasing importance in coming years.

Thanks so much to Colin McRoberts for pushing me to write on the subject.