a1 Saint Joseph's University
The Dover decision restricted the mention of Intelligent Design in a public school science classroom yet the Dover opinion offers an inadequate defensive position. Liberal democracy can exclude Intelligent Design based on the Establishment Clause yet courts do not affirm the teaching of best available science or connect teaching science to other constitutional rights, duties, or institutions. Although Dover has triggered a debate over the role of religion in public and private life, the case reveals complex issues regarding science, citizenship, and the values of liberal democratic civic identity. In three sections, this article (1) reviews the creationism jurisprudence; (2) dissects the Dover decision; and (3) suggests an alternative juridical approach grounded in an education case, Plyler v. Doe, in which education creates citizens who are politically competent, economically fit, and capable of self-development. The conclusion reframes the debate over Intelligent Design as one of civic identity and political reproduction arguing that liberals, using the ideas of Brennan, Marshall, and Breyer must make a positive case for the role of science in shaping the liberal citizen, worker, and person.
Susan Liebell teaches Political Theory and Public Law at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia (email@example.com). She is currently writing a book, Activating Liberal Rights: Intelligent Design, Evolution, and Political Identity.
The author thanks Lisa Baglione, James Boettcher, Cristina Beltrán, Christopher Buck, James Carter, Michael Clapper, Ingrid Creppell, Ann Davies, Brad Evans, Sophie Evans, Ruth Grant, Steven Kelts, Jack Knight, Elizabeth Linehan, John McCormick, Caroline Meline, Anne R. Newman, Rob Reich, and Regina Robson for helpful comments. Discussions with colleagues at the Jack Wright Memorial Speaker Series at The George Washington University, the Political Theory Workshop at The University of Chicago, and Duke University's Political Theory Workshop enhanced and focused the arguments. She is particularly indebted to Richard Warren for his insights on the Plyler case and Tory Ferrera as a writing partner. Meghan Sprout provided valuable research and editorial assistance. Phil Schatz and Kevin Shalla were crucial to the final version.