2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)
Paper No. 6-8
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM-11:15 AM

SCOPES I, II, AND III: CREATIONISM CONTINUES

SCOTT, Eugenie C., National Ctr for Sci Education, 420 40th Street, Ste. 2, Oakland, CA 94609-2509, scott@ncseweb.org

The history of the creationism/evolution controversy reveals a pattern of trying to avoid legal difficulties associated with promoting religion under the guise of science. John Scopes was tried for the crime of teaching evolution; it was not until the 1960s that such laws were struck down by the Supreme Court (Epperson vs Arkansas, 1968). In “Scopes II”, the Arkansas federal district court held a full trial to question whether special creationist theology could be disguised as creation “science” and legally taught to “balance” evolution in the public schools. Eventually the Supreme Court came to the same negative conclusion as had the Arkansas court (Edwards vs. Aguillard, 1987). In September 2005, “Scopes III” was held, and a federal district court will decide whether the Dover, PA school board can legally require the teaching of “intelligent design” (ID) and “gaps/problems in evolution” – the latter being the most highly evolved form of creationism. Should the judge decide in favor of the plaintiff parents in Kitzmiller vs Dover, the momentum for requiring ID in the classroom will be blunted, but there will remain plenty of enthusiasm for teaching it. If the judge decides for the defendant school district, one can anticipate an enthusiastic imposition of ID into district curricula around the country. Of considerable importance is to have a strong decision recognizing the historical context of “evidence against evolution” arguments (reflected in Dover's “gaps/problems” language) as a means of inserting creationism into the classroom while attempting to avoid the Establishment clause.

2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 6
Speaking Out for Evolution: Rationale and Resources for Supporting the Teaching of Evolution
Salt Palace Convention Center: Ballrooms AC
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 16 October 2005

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 37, No. 7, p. 22

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