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ACLU Intelligent Design FAQ: An Analysis and Response

See the links below for commentary on each FAQ

by Casey Luskin

First Posted 2.11.05

misc Update [10-26-05]:
These response pages were originally posted on February 11, 2005. I just learned today that as of September 16, 2005, the ACLU had published an updated ID FAQ at the same URL where the original FAQ was located. Thus, I apologize if there has been any confusion as this response was written months before the new FAQ replaced the old one. Thus, this response here is in response to the original ACLU ID FAQ which is still available at I have tried to change links to the ACLU's ID FAQ throughout my response to reflect the change in their URLs. I would also like to thank the ACLU for making me aware of the changes in the URLs and their FAQ.

This musing is merely a commentary on the "ACLU's 'Intelligent Design' FAQ" as found on the ACLU website. While I am a lawyer, and this response to the ACLU ID FAQ mentions the case over teaching intelligent design theory in Dover, Pennsylvania, this commentary is not intended to be legal advice for anyone. This is simply my thoughts about the claims made by the ACLU in its ID FAQ on their website. Some of their claims, and thus some of my commentary relates to case law, but much of this discussion is also completely unrelated to legal issues. A full legal discussion about whether or not it is constitutional to teach intelligent design would go into much more depth than the commentary made here. This is not intended to fully or adequately discuss the general question of whether or not it is constitutional to teach intelligent design theory. My purpose here is simply to respond to the various sorts of claims made by the ACLU in its ID FAQ. If readers have further questions about the author's opinion, they are invited to contact the author at

In mid-December, 2004, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) posted an "'Intelligent Design' FAQ" (herein "ACLU ID FAQ") on their website. Unfortunately the ACLU, our self-described "nation's guardian of liberty" (I always thought it was the Constitution, but the apparently ACLU says it is themselves) has made a number of factual errors in its ID FAQ. A good portion of the ACLU ID FAQ revolves around commentary about the supplemental textbook Of Pandas and People (herein "Pandas"; all quotes are from the 2nd edition, 1993). Many of the claims in the ACLU's ID FAQ are simply wrong. The ACLU ID FAQ is not an accurate source for information about intelligent design theory. I would like to make comments in response to the ACLU's ID FAQ.
Of Pandas & People

Pictured above is the cover of Of Pandas and People, the supplemental textbook which proposes intelligent design. The constitutionality of teaching out of "Pandas" is at the center in the current lawsuit in Dover, Pennsylvania.

Main Navigation Menu
Quotes from the ACLU ID FAQ will appear in gray boxes, with commentary on the quoted segment following. To help with navigation, the ACLU ID FAQ is reproduced immediately below. Click on any segment of the ACLU ID FAQ below to view commentary and response regarding that FAQ.
  • FAQ 1: "What is the concept of 'intelligent design'?"
  • FAQ 2: "How is intelligent design like and unlike traditional creationism?"
  • FAQ 3: "Where did intelligent design come from?"
  • FAQ 4: "Is intelligent design a credible scientific theory?"
  • FAQ 5: "Is evolution anti-religious?"
  • FAQ 6: "Is evolution 'just' a theory?"
  • FAQ 7: "Is evolution education important?"
  • I hope you enjoy this response. I would like to thank my fellow IDEA Center staff members Ryan Huxley and Eddie Colanter for their advice and feedback during preparation of this commentary. I would also like to thank Peter MacIlvaine for his help with editing.

    [Addendum added 2/22/06: I realized today that this FAQ had previously stated that I was not a lawyer. That is because I wrote this before I was admitted to the California bar. I am now an attorney and have updated this page accordingly today.]