So who cares? After all, the U.S. Constitution, backed by a long string of court rulings, prohibits religion in government. Why is John H. Calvert a new threat? What's the big deal?
Because Calvert is trying to turn science into a religion, and if he succeeds he'll be able to get creationism into our textbooks and religion into our government.
John H. Calvert is the managing director of the "Intelligent Design network, inc [sic]". In spite of the fact that Calvert can't even capitalize the organization's name properly, he is a dangerous man. In Calvert's words:
The popular definition confines "religion" to just belief in God. This excludes Atheism and "Secular" Humanism from the religious classification. ... Secular Humanists and Atheists go into the public schools demanding the exclusion of "religion" (defined as just belief in God) and any of its religious teachings such as those found in the Bible.If Calvert was just another megachurch preacher, I wouldn't think too much of it. But he's an attorney, he has funding, and he's writing peer-reviewed articles in legal journals.
But is it legal? No. Generally, the federal courts ... have moved in the last 60 years to define First Amendment religion broadly to include nontheistic religions. Secular Humanism, Atheism, Transcendental Meditation (like that practiced by Buddhists), Wicca, Scientology and the like have all been held to be religions. Hence, government may not legally endorse or prefer Atheism and Religious/"Secular" Humanism over traditional Theism.
Calvert starts by claiming that science is merely another belief system. Every real scientist knows this is a gross misrepresentation, that science is more of a way of thinking, a way of ensuring that we're getting at the truth rather than letting our wants and wishes fool us. Science is nothing more than a methodology that helps us to verify one another's claims.
But Calvert deliberately mixes up science (a methodology) with scientific discoveries (facts).
Then he dismisses those scientific facts as merely the scientist's opinions. The speed of light, the atomic theory of matter, the age of the universe, how nuclear power works, evolution ... in Calvert's world, these things have equal standing with mysticism, mythology, ghosts, and gods.
See the trick? By equating the scientific method with its discoveries, and then devaluing the discoveries as mere opinions, Calvert is now able to claim that science is merely another religion.
The final stop on this tour de clowns is that Calvert seamlessly slides from science to secularism to atheism, making it seem that all three are one and the same. Viola!, now atheism is a religion, the religion of science.
The logical fallacies in Calvert's chain of logic are embarrassing. Unfortunately, he's a smooth talker, one who relies on his audience's ignorance of science and philosophy. There's a very real possibility that his arguments will persuade some judges and lawmakers, that the Christians will inject their anti-science beliefs into our schools, and we'll have yet another generation of poorly-educated American children, leaving Europe, China and Japan to carry the world into the future.