How to answer the “ID in the public school classroom is freedom of speech” argument?

I was preparing to lead a discussion of the Dover trial and noticed the argument being made by a Discovery Institute leader that not allowing ID to be discussed in the public school classroom is a violation of freedom of speech.

Science isn’t a democracy, right? All arguments are not equal. But this idea of “equal time” keeps coming back.

The lawyer Wendell Bird came up with it to defend ICR ideas I think in the late 1970s.

The notion comes from political broadcasting.

Equal time. Freedom of speech. It all makes science sound un-American to ID supporters.

So how to answer them?

Keeping IDism out of public school classrooms is not about “freedom of speech”. It’s about “academic integrity”.

Link them to this (2013) from Ball State University President Jo-Ann Gora:

“Teaching intelligent design as a scientific theory is not a matter of academic freedom—it is an issue of academic integrity

“Said simply, to allow intelligent design to be presented to science students as a valid scientific theory would violate the academic integrity of the course as it would fail to accurately represent the consensus of science scholars.” - Jo-Ann Gora

Then link them to John G. West’s response to Gora’s generous offer, as Senior Fellow and Associate Director of the Centre of Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute. The guy just about cracked his skull with “Christian-IDist rage” because Gora made a fair and credible offer, but one that he had to refuse based on ideology, given the DI’s insistence that “ID theory” is “strictly scientific”.

Upset IDists: ship_/


You won’t likely need anything more than this story to counter the DI’s double-talking & pretense to “scientificity” for ID theory.

Make them an offer: be welcome to teach ID theory in a philosophy or humanities classroom, but not in a natural science classroom. See what they say. If they agree, follow that where it leads because it would destroy the IDM. They’d have to openly admit then that ID theory isn’t “strictly scientific”, but rather “philosophical” or “ideological”, while ID theory’s supposed “scientificity” is an axiomatic requirement of the DI. If they disagree, then it’s really not an issue of “academic freedom,” right? It’s instead really about the DI’s ideology and their brazen intent without evidence of the supposed scientifically verifiable “instantiation” of “ID” to change the “groundrules” of natural science.

Sadly, IDists display their lack of integrity on a continual and regular basis when they flat out refuse to discuss the following: “design theory” (non-IDist), “design thinking”, “design history” and “design studies”. Why? Because these are serious scholarly contributions, not “weaponized theistic science apologetics”, like ID theory is.

I asked Michael Behe in a 1-on-1 conversation at the end of 2019 if he knew about any “design theory” other than “ID theory”, and he said no. Then backed that up with “I’m a simple biochemist” to escape. Yeah, a simple biochemist who has made his living by, and is really only known for taking money from the DI to promote an ideology: IDism.

Why give “equal time” to an ideology that fakes “scientificity” for apologetics purposes? In private schools, nothing’s stopping it. But not in public schools or universities. Hopefully that helps, as this argument is quite easy to respond to, since the DI has already copped out.


It was ruled as a violation of the establishment clause, regardless of what its leaders try to claim. It doesn’t really matter what people claim since it is cdesignpropentism in disguise.


First, freedom of speech is given to the citizens, not the government. The government is restricted in its speech, most notably under the 1st amendment which forbids the government from promoting religion. We are talking about public schools which are an extension of the government. Public schools, and teachers at those schools as part of their duties, do not have freedom of speech. Another example is the Hatch Act. It makes it illegal for government officials to use their government position to campaign for a political candidate.

It is worth noting that private schools can teach whatever they want.


Im not in favor of id. But i think the leader is right.

There you have it. Say it isn’t science. Then when ID proponents say that it is, say they lack intellectual and academic integrity, and that ID is stealth creationism. Bida bada boom, you have won the argument.

If you let ID proponents present their case in the school room, then students would have to look at the evidence and decide for themselves. And they might be deceived into thinking that ID is actually science. And that will never do.

So filter what the students hear, and you will never have to teach them to think critically.

Correct. It isn’t science. Information and complexity can be produced and reproduced ‘by chance’. There are examples and thought experiments which can demonstrate, if you need them.

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That is an important observation. Parents pay taxes, and birth children. These same parents are essentially required to send “their” children to government schools paid for by money that used to be theirs. In these government schools, the official government curriculum must be taught. That curriculum is determined, of course, by the educational elite, because they know better how to educate society’s children than parents do. They have the necessary expertise; parents do not.

For the purposes of discussing ID, science is defined as a search for naturalistic answers. Since intelligent design appeals to something other than matter and energy for its explanation, it cannot be science and cannot be taught in science courses. So ID must be religion or philosophy. It is all very neat and tidy, unless of course there really was an intelligent designer. But we come back to the same point–that is NOT SCIENCE, regardless of whether or not it is true.

Well, that is mostly true, for now. But as accreditation standards tighten, maybe not for long.

In government schools, teachers must teach the government approved curriculum. But in California, for example, they are close to passing a law that say that private schools and universities cannot discriminate in hiring based on worldview. If this prevails, then private schools will likely no longer have control over their curriculum either.

And what a choice! First, parents pay for government schools. And then if they want their children taught a different worldview, they must pay again–if they have enough money left after paying taxes the first time.

There is at least one theological reason why God doesn’t want ID to be demonstrated: he doesn’t want his (the Designer’s) existence to be proven/provable.

Good argument for a voucher system, though interestingly in our area the homeschool,crowd is against vouchers as that might give a foot in the door for government control of homeschool,curriculum.

This isn’t coherent. Which “Intelligent Design theory” leader & proponent do you “think is right” and about what?

The Center for (the Renewal of) Science & Culture is lead by Stephen C. Meyer & John G. West. I’ve spent hours in the “classroom” (read: propaganda tank) of John G. West. I listened to Stephen C. Meyer, but had no interest in meeting him. His position is activistic, ideological, and surely not “strictly scientific”, while he nevertheless pretends it is. Meyer endorses “weaponized theistic science apologetics” in the name of ID theory. This isn’t a role model I would recommend to any Christian, Muslim or Jew anywhere in the world. He’s an activist, getting paid very well ($250,000+ per year, more than Francis Collins at NIH!!) from the pockets of YECists and radical right-wing apologists who donate to the Discovery Institute.

Are you actually saying, perhaps with little knowledge or awareness of the context, that “I think the leader is right”?! That would be a big surprise.

Not stating your opinion no matter how false it is its not freedom of speech. How would you feel Gregory if you were in communist Russia beign a christian ? I dont think youve feel any good. Of course thats just an example. My point is let people say whatever they want. Its their right.

It still isn’t coherent & too unspecific. “let people say whatever they want”. Vague liberalism.

“the leader is right.”

Name: which “the leader”? John West, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Stephen J. Buri, or someone else?

It sounds like you don’t know much about any of these people. How would you even know if they are attacking “academic integrity” in the name of “academic freedom”?

Would you defend IDists who attack academic integrity as the DI has been doing for a couple of decades? Would you have no stomach to challenge their attacks on academic integrity if you knew more about those attacks?

Then challenge them. Not silence them. Tell me sould the atheist pull you out of academia because according to him you are [quote=“Gregory, post:14, topic:44822”]
attacking “academic integrity

Who? Names please?

“We” have been challenging them for years. We are NOT silencing them. They are avoiding us because they are simply not credible scholars, thinkers, scientists or “public intellectuals”, though they are fully confident that they are “genius revolutionaries”.

Did you even read what Ball State President Jo Anne Gora wrote? If not, please go read it again.

I really dont see where this is going. You want an oppinion which according to you and many others is harmfull out of academia. Isnt that right?

IDists were INVITED to teach “ID theory” in philosophy & humanities classrooms. THEY refused & lashed out at being challenged. Why on Earth are you defending them?!?

Im defending their right to say what they want. Not them.

Please go read Gora, as it seems you haven’t yet. This isn’t about “academic freedom”. It’s about “academic integrity”.

What do you think “academic integrity” means in the context of ID theory, Nickolaos?

The caveat is that you don’t live in the USA and likely have very little practical experience with IDists & their deviant tactics. If you do, please share your experience here. Thanks.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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