In earlier post I explained the reasoning behind the Document Archive not having a traditional HTML navigational structure. The purpose is to provide students and teachers a distraction free experience, so students can focus on the assignment they have been given. Nevertheless, teachers need a complete list of resources that are available at keegan.wiki | Document Archive . Below is a Word Document containing a complete list of links to instructional materials available at the archive. I hope teachers will find it useful.
History Topics: The United States Constitution
I have just completed a new resources page for the United States Constitution. I have taken all the resources from the unit the Launching of a New Constitution, and simply listed them without the lesson plans or reference to them. Additionally, I have embedded appropriate Schoolhouse Rock videos on the page. Many users have asked for the resources to be presented in this format.
The Constitution, Intelligent Design/Creationism, and social Darwinism
Salvador Monteagudo in his February 23, 2011 blog post “Creation and Evolution: What is the debate about?” at Goodnewseverybody.com (which I highly recommend) linked to one of my posts on Intelligent Design: “More on Ben Stein and Expelled”, so I read his post. I was intrigued and posted the following comment.
“Ben was just focusing on how the education system in America is just one-sided (e.g. not open to Creation) ….”
Intelligent Design/Creationism is inherently religious in the Judeo-Christian sense; therefore, it cannot be put on equal footing with evolution in the science classroom. To do so would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and thus the Separation of Church and State. Because the public school is an agent of the state, if the school taught Intelligent Design/Creationism in the science classroom it would be promoting a specific religion. That is what a Federal Court found in Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al 2005.
Intelligent Design/Creationism is not science. The main postulate of Intelligent Design is a preexisting intelligence, which cannot be proved, nor disproved by observation or experiment. As such, any preexisting intelligence would be outside the hot big model of the universe, and any actions taken by such a preexisting intelligence would have been before the beginning of time. Therefore, according to the law of economy, a preexisting intelligence should be cut out of any model of the universe, for any actions taken by it cannot be observed. Intelligent Design/Creationism is a political issue; therefore, the proper place for it to be discussed in the social studies classroom. Religion in general plays an important role in American society. How religion affects society by shaping political issues should be and is examined in the social studies classroom from the Early Colonial Period of American history, to Civil War, and from there to twenty first century current events. Intelligent Design/Creationism is just another issue in the course of that examination.
“I feel this Evolution theory of `survival of the fittest’ bring on prejudice, like racism-see personal story, classism, etc.…”
There is a different between scientific theory of evolution and social Darwinism. The scientific theory of evolution tells us that the process of natural selection “creates” a group of animals that is best able to survive in a given area. To be sure, this is very simplistic definition. Natural selection embodies an extremely complex set of natural processes which have created the ecosystems we observe around the world. Social Darwinism and concept of survival of the fittest are dependent upon the postulate that humans are animals or machines bound by natural laws, which goes back to Thomas Hobbes in the Leviathan, 1651. In it he gave a materialistic view of mankind. Hobbes stated:
Life without a government—the state of nature is war… every man against every man… and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Government is instituted to deliver man out of the state of nature, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau would agree. Rousseau differs in his definition of the state of nature. Social Darwinism, then, is a nineteenth century political theory, which draws on Hobbes’ definition of the state of nature. However, social Darwinism postulates that eternal conflict is necessary for social and political progress. This view was expressed by Hegel and then Hitler which is where racism comes into play. Any state that is dependent upon conflict for social progress is also dependent upon perpetual prejudice and racism. To legitimize those concepts, dictatorships and totalitarian governments have distorted the scientific theory of evolution.
Supporters of Intelligent Design/Creationism often distort the scientific theory of evolution. They maintain that science is atheistic, and evolution is an example of that atheism. Evolution is not atheistic; neither is science. Evolution does not say there is no God; nor does it say if one accepts evolution one must be an atheist. Intelligent Design is used to promote Christian convictions, and bad science. In and of themselves, Christian convictions are not bad, nor is Intelligent Design. But, it must be said that some people who support Intelligent Design as science want nothing less than a Christians only America because they know what is best for all.
- Intelligent Design, Credibility, and the Lack Thereof
- Intelligent Design is not Science
- Intelligent Design is a Social Theory
- The Separation of Church and State
- Ben Stein’s: Expelled the anti-science, anti-evolution “documentary;” bad science, bad reviews
- More on Ben Stein and Expelled
- Intelligent Design Links
The Separation of Church and State
12/23/18: Links to sources in this post have been updated where necessary.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge John E Jones III handed down the Court’s ruling in the case Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al.1 The decision was a stunning defeat for Intelligent Design in the science classroom. The Court found that the Board’s Intelligent Design policy violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. William Buckingham former Dover Area School Board member and one of two who spearheaded the Intelligent Design policy was asked for his thoughts on the ruling. Buckingham said, “I’m still waiting for a judge or anyone to show me anywhere in the Constitution where there’s a separation of church and state…. We didn’t lose; we were robbed.”2
The Separation of Church and State
In my seven years as a teacher, I have never seen such a fundamental misunderstanding of a concept as I have with the separation of church and state. Therefore, I take up Mr. Buckingham’s challenge, and attempt to explain the concept. The phrase is not found in the Constitution, but the concept is. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….“ 3 The Bill of Rights applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, the state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…. Basic to this concept is tolerance, as John Locke argued in his Essay on Toleration 1689, “all religions are worthy of respect, none priority”4 The United States was founded upon morality that is not exclusive of or to any religion; therefore, to protect the free exercise of religion no public agency funded by tax money can or should endorse any religion. The minute the state or any agency of it adopts one religion it prohibits the free exercise of all others, thus making any citizen who does not practice the state religion an outsider in their own community, and not entitled to its basic rights because they are different. The Founding Fathers called that Tyranny of the Majority.
Some would say the United States is not a pluralistic nation, but a Christian nation. If that is the case, there would be no need for the following clause in Article Six of the Constitution which states: “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”5 This would seem to support the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. But, some still would say that the United States is a Christian nation. If that is true, who then can become a citizen of this Christian nation? Only Christians is the answer. Where do the great numbers of non-Christians go in that case? The fact is the United States is a pluralistic nation. Congress has upheld this in the Immigration and Nationality Act that in general states:
- a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
- residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
- an ability to read, write, and speak English;
- a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
- good moral character;
- attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
- favorable disposition toward the United States.6
There is no religious test for citizenship; the most important of the requirements is an attachment to the principles of the Constitution. That is a political requirement. Who can become a citizen? Any person who has a commitment to the political principles on which this nation is based; none more basic than the separation of church and state. The requirement of good moral character speaks to good citizenship. Thus, the United States is a pluralistic nation. One that shows respect of all religions, and not one that shows the intolerance of Mr. Buckingham’s statement, “This country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution. This country was founded on Christianity and our students should be taught as such.”7
The Supreme Court in many cases: Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971, Edwards v. Aguillard 1987, and County of Allegheny v. ACLU 1989; to name three, has upheld the concept of separation of church and state. In Lemon, the Court set a three pronged test to determine if the government’s action is repugnant to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It is the purpose of the Supreme Court to state what the law is. The concept of the separation of church and state started with John Locke. Then, it was expressed in Article Six of the Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. One need not be Christian to become a citizen, and one can be of any religion and become a citizen.
Some Christians do not like the idea of pluralism; they do not see pluralism as a national strength, but a national weakness. These Christians see a commitment to biblical truths as necessary for the nation. In that case, pluralism is repugnant to the Bible as they read it. Pluralism has led, in their view, to moral relativism, and an amoral society. They have the right to hold that view because of the First Amendment. By denying the separation of church and state, they hope to give Christianity priority over other religions and points of view, thus denying those citizens who do not believe as they do the right to be different. Justice Robert Jackson, in 1943, stated “The test of [freedom’s] substance is the right to differ as to things that touch at the heart of the existing order.”8 That would seem to make freedom of thought as much of a right as freedom of religion. The small number of Christians who do not like the idea of pluralism; either do not understand or do not respect the fact that this nation is made stronger by the separation of church and state, and the pluralistic nature of the First Amendment.
1 Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al, (2005), 1-2, https://jgkeegan.com/id/kitzmiller.pdf, (Hereinafter Kitzmiller).
2 Judge rules against ‘intelligent design’ ‘Religious alternative’ to evolution barred from public-school science classes’ accessed December 16 2018, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/10545387/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/judge-rules-against-intelligent-design/#.XBZUUOJOk2w.
3 Constitution of the United States Amendment One, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights-transcript#toc-amendment-i.
4 Quoted in Richard L. Greaves, Robert Zaller, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, Civilizations of the West The Human Adventure: Volume B The Renaissance to 1815, (New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 566; John Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” The Federalist Papers Project, accessed December 16, 2018, http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/John-Locke-A-Letter-Concerning-Toleration.pdf.
5 Constitution of the United States Article Six, https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript#toc-article-vi-.
6 Naturalization, accessed January 11, 2006 http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/. The page is no longer available and is not indexed at Archive.org.
7 Kitzmiller p 103.
8 Quoted in Paul E. Johnson, Gary J. Miller, John H. Aldrich, David W. Rohde, and Charles W. Ostrom, Jr, American Government: People, Institutions and Policies, 3rd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 103.