Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

USA Today is running an article announcing the publication of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can order your own copy from amazon.com. What’s really amazing to me is some of the responses: you can read some of the entertaining hate mail he’s received here. Perhaps it isn’t really very funny though: the Judge in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Board case was placed under federal protection after receiving death threats after his decision in the case. On the more sane front of civil discourse, the Discovery Institute has a new book Traipsing Into Evolution which bills itself as a critique of Judge Jones’ decision in the case. I need to figure out how to get a copy without sending them any money. It should be highly entertaining to see how they spin their total evisceration during the trial testimony. A preview of what’s to come?

The authors conclude that because of Judge Jones’ ruling “teachers seeking to ‘teach the controversy’ over Darwinian evolution in today’s climate will likely be met with false warnings that it is unconstitutional to say anything negative about Darwinian evolution.”

“Even students who ask critical questions about Darwinism may now be censored by nervous school administrators,” said Luskin. “There already has been a chilling effect on open inquiry in places such as Ohio and South Carolina. Judge Jones’ message is clear: give Darwin only praise, or else face the wrath of the judiciary.”

Compare this to Judge Jones’ decision in the case:

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when consid ered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. We will also issue a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been violated by Defendants’ actions. Defendants’ actions in violation of Plaintiffs’ civil rights as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 subject Defendants to liability with respect to injunctive and declaratory relief, but also for nominal damages and the reasonable value of Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ services and costs incurred in vindicating Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

I do believe that the awarding of damages and legal fees to the Plaintiff’s might have a chilling effect on other school boards. That is, in fact, one of the many purposes of awarding damages in such cases. The Dover Board was found to have violated their First Amendment rights, and other school boards who might consider doing the same should take serious pause.

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