I was busy yesterday with other things, so I sent this post to Jon Rowe to give it the good fisking it deserves. He obliged. In short, Dembski attempted, weakly. to answer Judge Jones’ statements about the founding fathers making reason the arbiter of religious claims. His answer didn’t really answer that assertion, but he appeared to think that it did. Jon rightly points out that Judge Jones’ statements were quite accurate. He quoted one long passage from Adams, but could have chosen many others. The one that comes to mind immediately is Jefferson’s advice to his nephew:
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
The leading founders really did believe that claims of revelation were subordinate to man’s reason and that truth should be ascertained by the application of reason alone. To that extent, contra Dembski, they were indeed very much like the French philosophes that he scoffs at. This is, indeed, the heart of Enlightenment rationalism, a movement that Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison, among others, surely must be included in.