The Constitutionality of the Monkey Wrench: Exploring the Case for Intelligent Design

71 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2006  

Johnny Rex Buckles

University of Houston Law Center


Teaching intelligent design in public schools has become an extremely controversial, and highly publicized, educational prospect that is just beginning to garner judicial attention. This Article argues that a proper resolution of the constitutional problems raised by teaching intelligent design requires both a precise understanding of intelligent design and evolutionary theory, and a sophisticated grasp of theological conceptions of the origin and development of life. After explaining these important foundational concepts and surveying the most relevant Supreme Court precedent, this Article discusses two important threshold questions that arise from the origins debate. First, is intelligent design theory inherently religious? Secondly, must science refrain from referring to supernatural causation? Answering each question in the negative, this Article then sketches the analysis necessary for determining the constitutionality of a state actor's decision to permit, require, or forbid the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes.

Keywords: Intelligent Design, evolution, creationism, establishment clause, religion clauses, neutrality norm, Lemon test, endorsement test

Suggested Citation

Buckles, Johnny Rex, The Constitutionality of the Monkey Wrench: Exploring the Case for Intelligent Design. Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 59, p. 526, 2007; University of Houston Law Center No. 2006-A-22. Available at SSRN:

Johnny Rex Buckles (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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