From The Staff
The evolution question: Where is God in creation?
There are many answers to the question—Where is God in creation?—perhaps as many as there are people who ask it. And who doesn’t? It’s driven people to search the heavens, explore our Earth and plumb their souls.
It’s also been the cause, of course, of fierce debate and even strife in our life together. Most recently, clashes errupted in decisions about how and what we will teach youngsters in science classrooms in public schools.
The Lutheran hopes this trio of articles from ELCA members, each with expertise in both science and theology, will be helpful to readers.
First you’ll find an opinion from Mark Hollabaugh and, following, responses by Allen R. Utke and Patrick Russell. We also welcome yours by email.
Next, meet John E. Jones (this page), the judge who ruled in a history-making case on this subject in 2005—the editors.
Related Web Sites
• ELCA Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology
When Judge John E. Jones III was invested as a
U.S. District Court judge in August 2002, he “could never have
imagined,” he said recently, that within four years he would appear on
the cover of Time and rub shoulders at a black-tie dinner this year with others “judged” as the 100 most influential people of his time.
John E. Jones III says his ruling in the Dover, Pa., school-board case
that intelligent design is creationism repackaged—not science— “had
nothing to do with politics and polls” and “everything to do with ...
evidence ... and precedents ....”|
Jones, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church
Pottsville, Pa., said fame wasn’t his objective when President George
W. Bush appointed him to the court in Pennsylvania’s Middle District.
But he acknowledged that “judges like to decide important cases.” He is
comfortable, he added, with his new notoriety “because I’m entirely
confident that I handled the case well. I worked hard. I’m deeply
satisfied that I carried out my duties the way I’m supposed to.”
The case? That would be Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
in which parents in Dover, Pa., took the school board to court over an
attempt to make intelligent design part of the science curriculum.
six weeks in September and October last year, Jones heard wide-ranging
testimony featuring legal precedence introduced from dozens of court
cases, including from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then Jones wrote a
139-page decision that made broadcast headlines within 15 minutes of
release at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 20. He concluded from the evidence that
intelligent design is creationism repackaged—not science. Making it
part of a public school science curriculum would be a violation of the
U.S. Constitution’s establishment clause, which bars an alliance
between church and state.
Some critics thought Jones went too
far in ruling on whether intelligent design is science or not. “Both
sides asked me to render a decision on that precise issue,” he said.
“Had I not done so, there was every chance that this same issue would
have arisen before another tribunal.
“I didn’t think a school
district somewhere else should be exposed to the costs and fees that
the Dover School District ended up paying (more than $1 million) as a
result of my ducking that issue.”
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