Source Wuerker, Politico

Category: Philosophy, Science

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

49 Responses to “Founding Fathers’ Intelligent Design”

  1. viewwin says:

    Funny how our best and brightest can not recall any historical facts.

  2. NoKidding says:

    Were they also intelligent in their treatment of armament and ethnicity? Or were they only selectively intelligent? Thomas Jefferson owned…

  3. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    I’m not sure that any of the 4 Republican candidates would agree with this picture.

    Frankly, the wall protects religion as much as it does the state, something the religious leaders who want political power fail to understand.

  4. PeterR says:

    Just hidden over the horizon is the Santorium to which the Republican candidates will be committed in November.

  5. Frilton Miedman says:

    Santorum had the world in the palm of his hands….then he just kept talking, “church lady” style.

  6. DaProf says:

    The wall of separation is not the idea of the Founders. When the first amendment was adopted, a number of ratifying states had established churches. The religion clause of the first amendment was to protect state religious establishments from federal interference. It did not seek to undo the state churches.

  7. hmm..”Science is the purview of the State” (?)

    maybe, We should be more aware of..

    you know, much like the recent ‘Infographic’-infestation, some things don’t lend themselves to be being explained, in ‘one panel’…

  8. Sechel says:

    You left something out. The founding fathers, at least many of them, distrusted the big banks.

  9. diogeron says:

    When I heard Santorum’s comments on JFK’s historic speech on separation of church and state today, I was stunned to think that he is taken seriously as a presidential candidate. JFK’s speech is a rhetorical gem and one of the most important speeches in modern American history. For Santorum to conclude that JFK’s speech suggests that separation of church and state is “absolute” is a WTF of earth shattering stupidity. This GOP field is evidence that evolution just means “different”, not “better” from the perspective of humans, at least humans with an IQ above room temperature.

  10. quidite1 says:

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” — George Washington

    Hmm, I don’t think all the Founders would agree Barry.

    Besides, why should I be forced to leave my religion at the door when I leave church? Why should I be forced to be dryly secular in my daily life?

    The extremes are wrong. I don’t want a secular (functionally atheistic) public square and I don’t want a sacred public square.

    I want a civil public square. That means all people are welcome and we don’t have walls telling some people that they don’t have a ticket to be admitted to the conversation.

  11. Frwip says:

    @Mark E Hoffer

    In re Lysenko, what do you think Marxism is?

    It’s a religion, through and through, right down to having its own end times of a final struggle. See Karl Popper, etc.

  12. krice2001 says:

    I want a “large high wall”. There are examples throughout history and throughout the world where that wall did not exist, and it hasn’t generally turned out well…

  13. AtlasRocked says:

    The worst, most despotic nations in the history of the world were anti-religion: Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, all focused on the power of their leaders’ intellect as the supreme power. Religion was banished in these nations, as we are doing now. It’s viewed as a bad influence by the entire left of the political spectrum.

    The notion if natural rights, key to our foundation, is a divine power from God – inalienable rights. If they were human law – they could be struck town easily, indeed they now have little meaning.

    Ben Franklin, not particularly religious, liked the influence Christianity had on the American people. It was especially good for citizens of lower intellect. Now we’ve replaced our lower intellectuals’ biggest influence with – government intelligence. Great. The guys that stuffed their pockets with cash in the ABSCAM sting are the peoples’ divine leaders now, pushing derivatives and CDS’s instead of the ten commandments. And the masses are demanding giant loans to pay their benefits, with no plans to pay back the loans. Grand theft – as a policy foundation.

    Big improvement guys, thanks.

    Don’t like religious folks’ push for anti-abortion and gay marriage? Well instead of passing anti-religion laws to replace their pro-religion inspired laws, why not just let Constitution AS WRITTEN guide us: Since the Constitution does not speak to either issue, then the federal government should be silent – neither promoting nor curtailing religion in it’s laws. The is the wall they wanted – a wall of silence, let each community, each state set their laws as their deists and atheists desired, but let the federal government protect each person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of a happiness.

    You may not like religion, but as a guiding force for the nation, it was powerful and focused the population on maximizing freedom.

    If any of you take the time to read Jefferson’s original letter, you’ve read the opposite meaning that he was suggesting in the letter that used these words. Such is the law today – the intent and meaning of the original writers’ words, be they in the Constitution or a letter Jefferson wrote to the Baptists, don’t have mean what Jefferson meant, now the modern liberal policy advocates twist the words to say whatever they want them to say.

    Then they wonder why we keep crooked books for Social Security and medicare, why the FCIC report that identified criminal activity was put in a file cabinet, why 3 strict limits on Constitutional power were abrogated for Obama care.

  14. Wings Like Eagles says:

    I agree with krice–state religions have produced a tremendous amount of misery. However, the founding fathers often made statements that were approving of the Christian faith–believing that it was a refining influence in the lives of individuals and that it made good citizens of them. So, in essence, they were approving of religious freedom and tolerance but were opposed to the idea of granting political power to priests and pastors. Having said that, I fail to see how otherwise intelligent people can forbid the exploration of any idea (and explaining the origins of life through “intelligent design” is simply an idea– just as abiogenesis is an idea) in our schools. Trumpeting “separation of church and state” is a strawman argument. “Intelligent Design” does not teach any religion–it is just a possible explanation for the incredible intricacy of life.

  15. ThatsNotAll says:

    Where is Faith? Religion requires faith but does not also science? Science helps explain what we do know but it does not help when knowledge is incomplete. It also does not tell right from wrong. Wall of religion all you wish but a society lead by faithless people will be dark and inhumane.

  16. whskyjack says:

    daprof said:
    ” The religion clause of the first amendment was to protect state religious establishments from federal interference. It did not seek to undo the state churches.”

    Not really, go to wiki and search “the great awakening” In the years prior to the revolution there was an a great change in religious institutions away from the staet religion( Anglican) and toward other protestant denominations. Look at the problems the Baptists had in VA and notice who often defended them in court.

    ThatsNotAll Says:
    “Religion requires faith but does not also science?”



  17. maddog2020 says:

    I believe Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island based on this principle (having left Massachusetts because of the de facto established religion there), had a profound influence on Jefferson, Madison, and a few others.

  18. Dan Z says:

    ThatsNotAll Says:
    “Religion requires faith but does not also science?”

    I’m pretty sure you don’t understand science…

  19. crutcher says:

    Attempts to rationalize a modern secularism, respecting the authority of science, based on the intention of 18th century political leaders are misled, at best. The case for keeping religion out and science in politics can and should stand on its own. One could draw a similar cartoon about the founding father’s great wisdom on race, rationalizing an attitude that I doubt you share BR.

  20. Mick Lovin says:

    Barry… Can you show me a document, from the Declaration of Independence to the Bill of Rights that says “separstion of church and state”. I challenge you that it is not written and was picked up later as a liberal cause.

    There is nothing wrong with a little thing called the 10 commandments, sorry to the minority group of athiests out there and if there was even one Muslim country that tolerated Christianity, perhaps I could be persuaded to tolerate Islam, until then they can keep eating sand….

  21. mddwave says:

    My favorite example of how things have changed on the separation of church and state is at Colonial Williamsburg, Bruton Parish Church.

    There was separation of church and state, but without an internal wall.
    The Reverend was at the pulpit on one wall and the Governer sat by the opposite wall.

    “Governor Spotswood was provided with a canopied chair on a platform inside the rail opposite the raised pulpit with its overhanging sounding board.”

  22. theexpertisin says:

    Great post.

    The “wall” is not just to keep religious dogma from infringing D.C.

    It has an additional purpose: the reverse.

  23. leveut says:

    Hail Ritholtzia!

    It’s kind of a defective cartoon, for additional reasons not yet mentioned.

    1. “Religion” is on the “Church” side of the wall away from “State.” That’s good. Of course the representation of “Church” is by the structures of traditional worship facilities of traditional organized religions. Which side do modern religions such as Marxism, Environmentalism, go on? (Okay, that was sort of mentioned.)

    2. “Science” is put on the “State” side, which means The State controls science, because there is no neutral ground in the cartoon, only State, Church. Is science that is controlled by State really science? Lysenkoism anyone?

    3. And, yeah, there is no neutral ground between Church and State, neutral ground not controlled by either. And surely that is not what the Founders had in mind, although Democrats, leftits, and other statists do.

    4. Even within the context of this cartoon…..ummm…..I hate to point it out….no I don’t….the socalled Wall of Separation is very short…State and Church can walk around the ends very easily.

    It’s a stupid and ignorant cartoon poorly conceived and executed for its “point”, but it does have its appeal to Democrats, leftists, and other Statists.

    Hail Ritholtzia! Land of Loons!

  24. La Marque says:

    The cartoonist is uninformed and arrogant. Separation of church and state is a partial quote from Thomas Jefferson. Most people pushing this outlook are atheist with great religious fervor.

  25. drtomaso says:

    The phrase “separation of church and state” is generally attributed to Thomas Jefferson, in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association from which I quote : “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

    Or you can take the word of James Madison, librul community organizer and radical leftist who drafted the now infamous manifesto “The Bill of Rights”, who said “practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.”

    I love how the founder worship in this country never actually gets into what the founders actually thought. Its almost like “My argument is right, because The Founders.”- and that’s supposed to just end the debate there.

  26. Lyle says:

    To go a bit further Ct disestablished in 1818 and Ma in 1833. It should be recalled that until the 14th amendment the bill of rights only applied to the federal government. One imputus for the wall idea was that protestantism was being taught in NYC public schools, and the bishop asked for catholic teaching to be an option, this turned out not to be possible, so then the alternative was no religious teaching.
    We need to recall that before 1865 the federal government was not a big influence on peoples lives it was the state government and its children the local governments. (except in the Territories)

  27. olddogDALTX says:

    Jefferson and Adams certainly would not agree with the philosophy of this cartoon but Marx would. If asked, the framers of the Constitution would have put a third wall up between Science (Academy) and politics. Unfortunately, this cartoon is all too true. Science has become a political tool for the powerful, those who couldn’t care less about the truth, per se. Two World Wars transitioned science into big business for all concerned (givers, receivers, takers, the raped) and excessive, poorly accounted for money, corrupts. The hoaky bologna of faster than the speed of light, almost Higgs, and the sky is falling aren’t working anymore. Even the ‘cure’ for Death is losing its plausibility, nay its desirability. It should be ever more obvious to the powerful that they need now is a REAL war to keep JQ Public off balance. A REAL war demands a REAL enemy. Brace yourself.

  28. PeterR says:

    Ditto to olddog’s closing thoughts. “Brace yourself” indeed. Election year, candidates all over the place clucking and scurrying around in the barnyard without their heads attached well.

    What better time for the country to rally behind the president for a new REAL cause?

  29. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Mick Lovin:

    “. . . perhaps I could be persuaded to tolerate Islam, until then they can keep eating sand….”

    That’s the best argument yet for keeping religion and sate completely separate. Islamist countries are guided by religion, and the results are obvious. You want that here? Why not accept Islam as your guiding truth, and move to Iran? That would seem to fulfill your desire for religion in government.

    As for the evils perpetrated by secular governments, anyone wanting to advance that argument must first ignore the bulk of western history. Go there at your own risk. I’m not in such a good mood this morning, I possess no Christian charity, and I’d love to give y’all a good reaming.

  30. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    One would think that any god worth worshiping could handle it’s own affairs without help from the naked apes.

  31. derekce says:

    Good luck with this one. Candidates for both parties down here in the South for Congressional and Presidential elections show up in churches on Sunday, and campaign. Predominately white and predominately black churches both do it, with the expectation that votes will be delivered. Most churches don’t of course, but with Obama quoting Jesus on the issue of economic fairness, I’d say we’re not getting separation and the most savvy politicians accept that.

  32. Chad says:

    It’s sad that we need an imaginary wall to keep imgainary beliefs out of real decision making.

    I would also like to point out that many of the founders religious beliefs were vastly different than current religious beliefs. One different flavor was deism, which is drastically different to the current religious view. Thus, suggesting that the founders were religious does not necessarily support any current argument for religion in government, as the differences are large enough to suggest these are really seperate religions. Can’t have other religions in government just the “right” one.

  33. Jim67545 says:

    As an agnostic I see nothing wrong about the 10 commandments or the words of Jesus. In fact, I wish all, Christian (especially) and non-Christian alike, would actually read and follow them. We would all be better for it.

    The recent dispute about abortion/birth control vs. the Catholic Church reinforces the wisdom of separation. Otherwise there are issues that arise which suit the secular public purpose but are in conflict with religious purposes. Assuming the church offended is important politically (and not a “cult”) the government should/will back down. That’s OK.

    We get heated up on same sex marriage. Why the heck is the government involved in a purely religious function such as marriage? Hand out civil union certificates (which is a legal matter that probably requires public recordation) and then let gays and straight get married by their favorite religion. If the government simply withdrew from the matter, it would be solved.

  34. Robespierre says:

    @AtlasRocked Says:
    February 26th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    “The worst, most despotic nations in the history of the world were anti-religion: Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, all focused on the power of their leaders’ intellect as the supreme power. Religion was banished in these nations, as we are doing now. It’s viewed as a bad influence by the entire left of the political spectrum. ”

    I hear you man. I think we should change our civil laws and use instead Sharia law. Oh sorry you only meant no separation between government and Christian religion. Sorry my bad.

  35. the man from nantucket says:

    “A wall of separation between church and State”. That is nowhere in the founding documents and was never recorded as mentioned in the debates the Founder’s had about the Constitution. That phrase is from a private letter that Jefferson wrote to a church group in Danbury CT.

    Cute cartoon, but simplistic, and misleading. The founders meant they did not want an official state religion (think Church of England) that operated and existed as one with the state. How do we know this? Many of the founders took copious notes on the debates and discussions surrounding the constitution, amendments, etc. The notes provide tremendous insight to what the Fathers debated, intended, wanted, etc.

    They wanted to avoid a situation like England. In the 1700′s, Churches and Govt were one and the same. You paid taxes that went to the Church, you were typically banned from holding office if you weren’t a church member, other sects were persecuted. The Founders wanted to avoid that. They didn’t want a totally secular govt that eliminates all mention of religion. In fact the founders discuss God and nature’s Creator multiple times in the founding documents. You were free to choose which God you worshipped.

    The founders’ consensus was not that govt should be completely separated from religion. Rather, the state should have no official, endorsed religion run by or for the state.

    The people that quote Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase rarely know in what context it was used. It is no where in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. What? You heard me. That phrase was written in a private letter from Jefferson to a church in Danbury CT,…a church that was being persecuted because they did not belong to the Congregationalist establishment of Connecticut.

    Jefferson disagreed with the persecution (rightly so).

    People are making a HUGE leap to define/interpret the constitution by pointing to a private letter written by one founding father.

    Here’s the excerpt from the letter “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”

    Most people beleive the “wall of separation” phrase is somewhere in the Constitition or Amendments. It ain’t.

  36. Greg0658 says:

    .that Washington quote – they talked funny back then
    .MidEast & Asian religions started the word – so to science
    .in the 1600-1700s on this new continent – we had a time of dunk chairs & stake burnings
    .I sorta see intelligent design as a next step to bring the worlds together
    .since this is a financial blog – imo the church & not-for-profit exemptions are being abused and a large part of that wall we are discussing today – is America its business or its People – should business or people pay taxes
    .ritholtzia loons ? feed me – make a splash – create a tide – (ripple)step x step
    .agree the thread means don’t choose a side in this new melting pot – but that melting pot is a strange brew (post 400 years) & many factions wish to reblend it in their own image & home heritage

    forgiveness & rebirth & turn cheek are interesting cornerstones for a faith the USA embraces nearly fully – as opposed to another world style eye for an eye

    chime’g in – dingaling :-)

  37. number2son says:

    I see very little difference between the Afghans going berserk over the Koran burning fiasco, the Christian fundamentalists driving the Republican presidential candidates to ever more extreme “conservative values”, or the Zionist zealots expanding settlements in the West Bank without regard for law or anyone but themselves. They are all different flavors of the same absolutist, uncompromising, and violent religious fanaticism driving politics all over the globe.

  38. DeDude says:

    One of the issues is what exactly does it mean to “separate” church and state. Some of the religious people fear that it means that they somehow will be prevented from having their beliefs and value systems guide their opinions about public policy. Some of the proponents of the separation are afraid that we might end up with the state dictating that you cannot eat shrimp/pork/beef because some “Holy” book dictates a ban on it.

    The current fight about this is regarding whether you can force someone to participate in a religious ritual (public mass prayer) if they want to have lunch brake at a school or attend a school sports event. I think the reasonable compromise is to have a moment of silence where people can seek good karma in whatever way they think is best.

    Strange thing is that the separation was actually meant to protect religious freedom, yet it is fought mostly by people who claim to be religious. When you ask them if it would be OK to force their kids to get down on a prayer rug and turn their heads towards Mecca every Friday – they are shocked. The suggestion of a total ban on all driving on Saturdays or on eating beef is also something they would consider a horrible violation of their rights. Yet they see nothing wrong in forcing others to leave public space or participate in the type of religious rituals THEY engage in on a regular basis.

  39. formerlawyer says:

    “We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”

    Ronald Reagan


  40. arboc50 says:

    These people posting comments that there’s no separation of church and state in the Constitution are truly amazing. What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” don’t you understand? My God (pun intended) it’s in the FIRST Ammendment!

  41. rootless says:


    Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, all focused on the power of their leaders’ intellect as the supreme power. Religion was banished in these nations,

    You are trying hard to assert a moral equivalent between separation of state and church in United States with the practices of mass-murderous regimes, aren’t you? What a propaganda.

    However, you should check your facts. Religion was not banished under the Nazi regime. On the contrary, the Nazis tried to create a state church, and the majority of Germans who supported the Nazis where mostly also Christians. And Nazism wasn’t a regime of “the left”. It was established by the far-right in Germany.

    The correlation between the most murderous regimes in modern history on one hand and “banishment” of religion and alleged anti-religiousness of “the left” on the other hand, which you are trying to assert, is just not a fact. A fact is, though, that also religious fundamentalism has led to or justified mass murder in history more than once.

    , as we are doing now.

    Well, this claim is just delusional. In what way is religion “banished” in this country? Are you hindered in any way to openly worship whatever deity you believe in? Are you persecuted when you do? Wherever I look, churches, synagogues, mosques are everywhere. Despite the constitutional separation of state and church, United States is still one of the most religious countries in the Western wold. Please tell me, what chances would an atheist have in this country to become president?

    Separation of church and state has an important function, which is protecting people like me from people like you imposing your beliefs, using the power of the law and the state, on me. Thus I can go on with my private business, while you are doing yours. I’m just grateful that there is this separation, which you apparently dread.

  42. Brett Tibbitts says:

    Secular humanists love to downgrade religion. Look at the abundance of comments herein that castigate Santorum as some low level IQ, country bumpkin. They also love to hold science out as the center of all that is black and white truth. They believe that they have evolved into the smartest people who have ever walked the face of the earth. They do not believe that some of their cherished beliefs such as abortion “rights” will ever be looked upon by future generations as abhorrent evil. They castigate religion to try to intimidate religious believers into silence so they the secular humanists can rule the world. This is the way that it has always been. May people of faith never be so intimidated.

  43. rootless says:


    2. “Science” is put on the “State” side, which means The State controls science, because there is no neutral ground in the cartoon, only State, Church. Is science that is controlled by State really science? Lysenkoism anyone?

    What would the “neutral ground” be for science instead, if not the institution State? Where is the “neutral ground” supposedly to be found instead?

    The State as institution is the best neutral ground there is, if there is such a thing. The function of the institution State is to intermediate between all the divergent and conflicting particular interests in society, which would rip society apart otherwise, e.g., between all the various religious and a-religious views.

  44. cthwaites says:

    If you don’t reach religion, how can you understand Shakespeare, Britten, Beethoven, Mahler, Owen, Tennyson, Byron, Bentham, Blake, Mill, Sibelius, Whitman, Russell, Augustine, etc etc?

  45. Roger Bigod says:

    Several of the comments betray a religious approach to interpreting the Constitution. The founders weren’t inspired by holy air in that room in Philadelphia, nor were they drawing on vast reserves of wisdom and foresight intending to write a document for the ages. It’s a series of kludges driven by the calculation of what would have the best chance of ratification. The smart ones realized that the Revolution had come close to failure because The Articles of Confederation were pathetic in providing support for a military effort. They succeeded because the British were tied up elsewhere and the French had a spare fleet.

    The Bill of Rights is a series of patches. Madison didn’t want one, but they needed it to get ratification in some states, so it was promised as part of the package. It was thrown together behind the scenes, which accounts for the hopeless drafting. Stuff like freedom of speech jumbled with religion in the first amendment. And the garbled stuff about bearing arms. Not that it turned out badly and isn’t established law and suitable fodder for appellate court. It just isn’t divinely inspired. You can burn it and nothing happens. It isn’t like the flag where burning it can get you smote by lightening. Here I’m just thinking about it and there’s thunder in the distance.

  46. econimonium says:

    Arboc50 its the belief driving the data and decision again. So let us do the right thing which is to take the other side of the trade. Btw my vote for sheer stupidity in a comment goes to the gay marriage one. No you ameboa is is nit a religiosity fiction it is a property one. Where do you go to obtain divorce a church? No a court. I rest my case.

  47. econimonium says:

    Darn tablet! I messed that up lol damn you autocorrect!!!

  48. cfd says:

    Politics can be inspired by religion, but religion should never be institutionalised in the state. That is very dangerous. Take Iran as an example!