Ohio Darwin Groups Enlist Help of Controversial Legal Expert

Staff
Discovery Institute
February 26, 2004

SEATTLE, FEB. 26 -- Ohio's pro-Darwin groups have enlisted the help of a professor known for his "far out" legal views in their effort to censor a proposed science lesson on evolution.

Earlier this week the Ohio Academy of Sciences (OAS) cited Florida State University law professor Steven Gey as the authority for its claim that the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson plan being considered by the Ohio State Board of Education is "illegal." On Thursday, Gey will be the featured speaker at an event sponsored by opponents of the lesson.

"The choice of Gey merely underscores how weak the evolutionists' legal argument is," says Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. "Gey has a track record of promoting legal views that can only be called far-out." For example:


  • Gey argues that nude sunbathing should be given "constitutional protection."
  • Gey claims that "moral relativism" is a "constitutional command," and judges should "require every government action to have a primarily amoral purpose and effect."
  • Gey believes it is unconstitutional for the government to restrict even hardcore pornography, contrary to current legal precedents. He justifies this by claiming that Darwinian evolution has established the need for moral skepticism.
  • Gey insists that the current Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.


According to Gey, the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson plan violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it promotes intelligent design, which he claims is religious.

"The lesson plan doesn�t teach intelligent design," responds West. "It analyzes mainstream scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory. Even if it did deal with intelligent design, it wouldn't be unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court precedent. Intelligent design is a scientific theory, and the courts have made clear that alternative scientific theories can be presented as part of a good science education."

West adds that recent law review articles in the Ohio Law Journal, the Utah Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy all take a position contrary to the one espoused by Gey.

"The weight of legal authorities is against his view," comments West.

Citations for the legal materials referenced above will be supplied on request.



About the Center for Science and Culture
Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture is the nation's leading think tank and research center examining scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution. Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy, think tank which promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Current projects include: technology, the economy, regional transportation, and the bi-national region of "Cascadia." http://www.discovery.org/