Creationism in the classroom

The Educational Issues One can ask a number of questions about creationism: Is it a religion? Is it legal to teach it in the public schools?

Creationism in the classroom

Human timeline and Nature timeline Until the late 19th century, creation was taught in nearly all schools in the United States, often from the position that the literal interpretation of the Bible is inerrant.

With the widespread acceptance of the scientific theory of evolution in the s after being first introduced inand developments in other fields such as geology and astronomypublic schools began to teach science that was reconciled with Christianity by most people, but considered by a number of early fundamentalists to be directly at odds with the Bible.

In the aftermath of World War Ithe Fundamentalist—Modernist Controversy brought a surge Creationism in the classroom opposition to the idea of evolution, and following the campaigning of William Jennings Bryan several states introduced legislation prohibiting the teaching of evolution.

Such legislation was considered and defeated in in Kentucky and South Carolina, in passed in OklahomaFloridaand notably in in Tennesseeas the Butler Act.

Scopes accepted, and he started teaching his class evolution, in defiance of the Tennessee law. The resulting trial was widely publicized by H. Mencken among others, and is commonly referred to as the Scopes Trial.

Scopes was convicted; however, the widespread publicity galvanized proponents of evolution. When the case was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Courtthe Court overturned the decision on a technicality the judge had assessed the fine when the jury had been required to.

Although it overturned the conviction, the Court decided that the law was not in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

We are not able to see how the prohibition of teaching the theory that man has descended from a lower order of animals gives preference to any religious establishment or mode of worship. So far as we know there is no religious establishment or organized body that has its creed or confession of faith any article denying or affirming such a theory.

The State Tenn. Consequently, the Court held that the ban on the teaching of evolution did not violate the Establishment Clause, because it did not establish one religion as the "State religion.

Letters: Creationism in the classroom | Science | The Guardian

Arkansas that Arkansas 's law prohibiting the teaching of evolution was in violation of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court held that the Establishment Clause prohibits the state from advancing any religion, and determined that the Arkansas law which allowed the teaching of creation while disallowing the teaching of evolution advanced a religion, and was therefore in violation of the Establishment Clause.

This holding reflected a broader understanding of the Establishment Clause: Opponents, pointing to the previous decision, argued that this amounted to judicial activism. The Supreme Court of the United States has made several rulings regarding evolution in public education In reaction to the Epperson case, creationists in Louisiana passed a law requiring that public schools should give "equal time" to "alternative theories" of origin.

The Supreme Court ruled in in Edwards v. Aguillard that the Louisiana statute, which required creation to be taught alongside evolution every time evolution was taught, was unconstitutional.

The Court laid out its rule in Edwards as follows: The Establishment Clause forbids the enactment of any law 'respecting an establishment of religion.

First, the legislature must have adopted the law with a secular purpose. Second, the statute's principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion. Third, the statute must not result in an excessive entanglement of government with religion.

KurtzmanU. State action violates the Establishment Clause if it fails to satisfy any of these prongs. Aguillard [6] The Court held that the law was not adopted with a secular purpose, because its purported purpose of "protecting academic freedom " was not furthered by limiting the freedom of teachers to teach what they thought appropriate; ruled that the act was discriminatory because it provided certain resources and guarantees to " creation scientists " which were not provided to those who taught evolution; and ruled that the law was intended to advance a particular religion because several state senators that had supported the bill stated that their support for the bill stemmed from their religious beliefs.This means creationism would indeed have a place in the science classroom - as a discredited theory on a par with Lamarkianism, or as a minority fringe theory on a par with Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision.

That would be honest. Jan 26,  · A large, publicly funded charter school system in Texas is teaching creationism to its students, Zack Kopplin recently reported in Slate. Creationist teachers don’t even need to be sneaky about.

Creationism in the classroom

The status of creation and evolution in public education has been the subject of substantial debate and conflict in legal, political, and religious circles. Globally, there is a wide variety of views on the topic.

First, creationism has no place in science class because the Constitution designates the separation of church and state. Many creationists refute this by asserting that its teaching is protected under freedom of religion, academic freedom, and freedom of speech.

Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives. Creationism vs. Evolution: 6 Big Battles. By Stephanie Tennessee schoolteacher John Scopes incriminated himself for teaching evolution in a classroom, purposefully challenging a state law.

Letters: Creationism in the classroom | Science | The Guardian