"Science and the First Amendment"


A transcript of Patricia Princehouse's speech "Science and the First Amendment" was posted on The Nation's website on May 16, 2006. She delivered the speech in New York City on May 11, 2006, as she accepted a Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation. In the speech, she asked:

If we allow certain special-interest religious groups to co-opt the public school science classroom, to use it as a vehicle for converting children to religious views their parents don't hold, if we allow them to spout outright lies about the nature and content of science, what do we really have left? If you can lie about science and get away with it, you can lie about anything.
And she also offered a forecast of battles to come:
I call it the "orange is the new pink" strategy; every time the public cottons on to a catch term like "creation science" or "intelligent design," they change to a more neutral-sounding term like "critical analysis" or "evidence against." But defenders of American freedom are learning to stand up and say no, it really is fair to forbid teachers to lie to students, to prohibit school boards from using the power of the state to convert children to other peoples' religions.
Princehouse teaches evolutionary biology and history and philosophy of science at Case Western Reserve University. She is also the president of Ohio Citizens for Science and was awarded NCSE's Friend of Darwin award in 2003 for her efforts to defend the teaching of evolution in Ohio's public schools.