Democracy, Intelligent Design, and Evolution: Science for Citizenship, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Democracy, Intelligent Design, and Evolution

Science for Citizenship, 1st Edition

By Susan P. Liebell


150 pages

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Should alternatives to evolution be taught in American public schools or rejected as an establishment of religion? Democracy, Intelligent Design, and Evolution argues that accurate science education helps shape a democratic temperament. Rather than defending against Intelligent Design as religion, citizens should defend science education as crucial to three aspects of the democratic person: political citizenship, economic fitness, and moral choice. Through an examination of Tammy Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, contemporary political theory, and foundational American texts, this volume provides an alternative jurisprudence and political vocabulary urging American liberalism to embrace science for citizenship.


"What is the proper balance between religious expression and science education in a liberal democracy? To be ‘free,’ citizens must express their deepest held convictions but also think critically and ascertain facts. Susan P. Liebell, in an unusually probing and utterly fearless fashion, explores this question, thoroughly reshaping our understanding of the relationship of religion and politics in the United States. Democracy, Intelligent Design, and Evolution prioritizes science over religion--but it does so in ways that will surprise ‘secularists,’ and likely will earn the grudging respect of politically active religionists. A must-read for anyone interested in civic education in our supposedly ‘post-secular age.’"

—John P. McCormick, University of Chicago

"Susan Liebell has written a wonderful and extraordinarily timely book. Through an uncommonly rich mix of theory, law, and political analysis, she offers a thoughtful and penetrating analysis of the complex role that science plays in democratic politics and civic life. During a time in which science education is a subject of great political debate, we should pay close attention to Liebell's arguments. As a citizen you will benefit from reading this book."

—Jack Knight, Duke University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Monkey Trials and Monkey Bills: The Politics of Political Identity; 1. The Evolving Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court: Unpacking Dover and Intelligent Design; 2. Battling Creationism with Deliberation, Autonomy, and Liberal Values; 3. Science and the Constitution: Creating an Education for Citizenship; 4. Science Education for Citizenship Skills: Dewey, Darwin, and the Democratic Temperament; 5. Earthquakes and Plows: The 18th Century Democratic Temperament; 6. Religion and Science: Refuting the Conflict Narrative; Conclusion: Making the Case for Science in Liberal Democracy

About the Author

Susan P. Liebell is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University. She worked in New York state government before receiving her PhD from the University of Chicago. Her scholarship employs foundational texts to explore modern political problems.

About the Series

Routledge Research in American Politics and Governance

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects