Foundation for Thought and Ethics

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The Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) is a Christian non-profit organization[1] based in Richardson, Texas, that publishes textbooks and articles promoting intelligent design, abstinence, and Christian nationalism. In addition, the foundation's officers and editors are some of the leading proponents of intelligent design. The FTE has close associations with the Discovery Institute, hub of the intelligent design movement and other religious Christian groups.

The FTE is best known for publishing Of Pandas and People, an attempt to introduce creationism into public school science classrooms by raising questions about evolution while presenting intelligent design as an alternative. The book played a significant part in the court case Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, known as the 'Dover Trial,' the first direct challenge brought in United States federal courts against a public school district which tried to mandate the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

While FTE did not become a party, Jon A. Buell, the president of FTE testified on July 14, 2005 at the Dover pretrial hearings. Buell denied having known about actions of the Thomas More Law Center to which the Judge said it "strains credulity."[1] In the case, the plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design was a form of creationism, and thus it was ruled unconstitutional.


On its website, the foundation currently describes its mission as:

"The purpose of FTE is to restore the freedom to know to young people, especially in matters of worldview, morality, and conscience, and to return the right of informed consent to families in the education of their children."[2]

A previous statement described the foundation's mission as "proclaiming, publishing, preaching [and] teaching…the Christian Gospel and understanding of the Bible and the light it sheds on the academic and social issues of the day."[this quote needs a citation]

The FTE's articles of incorporation announce a religious agenda. Article 5 states:

"The purposes for which the corporation is formed are, 1) the primary purpose is both religious and educational, which includes, but is not limited to, proclaiming, publishing, preaching, teaching, promoting, broadcasting, disseminating, and otherwise making known the Christian gospel and understanding of the Bible and the light it sheds on the academic and social issues of our day."

In its publication The Foundation of Rationale, written in 1983 by Charles B. Thaxton and Jon A. Buell, the FTE argued not only that creationism should be taught, but also that teaching evolution undermined the moral values and the religious beliefs of young students:

"Many of the same Christian parents, however, are not concerned about the teaching of evolution in public schools. Falling SAT scores and increasing drug abuse, violence, abortion, and homosexual activity are the concerns of these parents. Why the fuss about creation being taught in public schools anyway they ask. As we shall show, there line of reasoning which usually lies hidden when either the subject of origins or morality is discussed, but which actually ties the two concerns together. Once this reasoning is understood it becomes evident that not only does the exclusive teaching of evolution encourage our children's rejection of Judeo-Christian morality, but it also prepares young minds for the reception of religious view which these same parents find unacceptable."

"Our commitment is to see the monopoly of naturalistic curriculum in the schools broken. Presently, school curriculum reflects a deep hostility to traditional Christian views and values and indoctrinates students to a mindset through subtle but persuasive arguments. This is not merely a war over ideas, but over young people and how their lives will be shaped. The current deplorable condition of our schools results in large part from denying the dignity of man created in God's image. Even junior high students recognize that if there is no creator, as textbooks teach, then there is no law giver to whom they must answer, and therefore no need of a moral lifestyle, much less a respect for the life of their fellow man. The message of the foundation is that this is simply unacceptable."

Critics argue the foundations publications are vehicles to promote Christian faith through veiled wording.[citation needed]

Organization, funding, and revenues[edit]

The foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headed by Jon A. Buell, its founder and President. Leading intelligent design proponent and Discovery Institute Senior Fellow William A. Dembski serves as the foundation's Academic Editor.

According to the foundation's 2004 federal tax filing, the majority of the foundation's income, $382,865, was in the form of donations, "direct public support," with sales of textbooks and video tapes providing $23,539 of net income.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b Kitzmiller v. Dover: July 14 Hearing: Jon A. Buell
  2. ^ About FTE, Foundation for Thought and Ethics, accessed January 28, 2007.

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