Casey Luskin has an essay up on the Caldwells’ lawsuit against UC’s Understanding Evolution website, a suit that was dismissed a couple weeks ago. Luskin, like Caldwell, continues to make one glaring error in reasoning:
According to a Daily Californian article, attorney Larry Caldwell believes that by sponsoring the Understanding Evolution website “the state of California is taking a position on religious issues and advocating certain religious values, which is clearly a violation” of the Establishment Clause. Perhaps the most egregious example of such a violation is the title of a page which states, “Misconception: ‘Evolution and religion are incompatible.’”** By labeling this belief a “misconception,” the government is clearly taking sides on what is essentially a religious and not a scientific question: the question of whether religion and evolution are compatible.
Absolutely false, for one reason that should be glaringly obvious to anyone: they are confusing the general and the particular. The UC site merely describes the pro-evolution views of numerous religious organizations. The fact that many religious people accept evolution is enough, all by itself, to show that religion is not incompatible with evolution. Note that this is a different statement than saying that someone’s specific religion is not incompatible with evolution.
Those who believe that their religion and evolution are compatible obviously have different religious views than those who believe they are incompatible. But the former clearly do exist and surely it’s not unconstitutional for the government merely to reference their existence and to make the obviously accurate statement that some religious views are compatible with evolution. And if some religious views are compatible with religion, then there is no inherent incompatibility between religion and evolution, only between particular religious views and evolution.
The mere mention that other religious people hold a different view of evolution simply doesn’t mean that the rights of those who think they are incompatible have been violated. Nor does it mean that the establishment clause has been violated. As Sandefur explained months ago, the claim that some religious groups accept evolution as true “is not a theological claim at all, no more than it would be to say that ‘most Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God,’ or ‘Most Jewish groups are made up of Jews.’ It is a descriptive statement, which is entirely appropriate in the context of taxpayer-funded education. No Court has ever suggested that the government cannot fund a statement which describes the beliefs of particular religious groups, even if they do so for a reason that parents do not want to hear.”