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Science wins fight over evolution in schools, says Case Western Reserve University author
Date:10/8/2009

Over the past century, evolution has become the rallying point to bring religion back into schools. Religious groups have stepped up efforts under such curricular guises as creation science, creationism and intelligent design.

Singham traces this history, beginning long before the John Scopes trial in 1925 challenged the teaching of evolution in the schools and made that challenge part of the American popular culture in movies and stage plays such as Inherit the Wind.

What most people may not know is that hostility to evolution did not initially motivate the Scopes trial. It was a publicity ploy to bring attentionand possibly tourist businessto Dayton, Tennessee. Although it never made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, the case set the stage for other trials that would set precedents to bolster, instead of tear down, the wall of separation between church and state.

Among the major evolution trials were: Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) that found a 1928 Arkansas law banning the teaching of evolution to be unconstitutional; Daniel v. Waters (1975) that overturned and found unconstitutional a law requiring the "balanced treatment" of teaching the Genesis story alongside evolution; and Edward v. Aguillard (1987) that found that just changing the balanced treatment mandate to require teaching a more neutral-sounding "creation science" was still unconstitutional because creation science invoked a supernatural agency as having a hand in creation. The last major case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District et al., was an attempt to advance the ideas of intelligent design. This was also found unconstitutional because it also had at its core a supernatural force and was thus religion- based.

The intelligent design idea was advocated by the Discovery Institute and attempted to bypass constitutional challenges and possibly make an inroad into the schools by removing all overt references to religion or requiring the teaching of
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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