ID in the Courts: Anti-Evolutionism for the 21st Century
54 American Journal of Legal History 147
22 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2014
This article, included in special issue - Essays in Honor of Professor Erwin C. Surrency, discusses the ongoing state of anti-evolutionism. Professor Larson identifies three phases of the creation-evolution legal controversy. The first phase was categorized by a national religious crusade to outlaw teaching the Darwinian theory of human evolution in public school. The second phase was marked by state statutes and school board regulation mandating that, to counterbalance Darwinian instruction, schools also teach the biblical account of creation or, if the bible could not be taught, then the scientific evidence alleged to support the bible be taught. Courts stuck down these efforts. Nonetheless, many Americans remain skeptical about Darwinism and reject the idea that it should be the only theory of origins taught in public schools. This skepticism spawned the intelligent design (ID) movement and ushered in the third phase of the controversy which is characterized by challenges to the adequacy of purely naturalistic theories of evolution, by programs to open science education to teaching evidence of ID, by claims that Darwinism is only a theory, and by calls to focus instruction on the controversy over evolutionary naturalism. Larson traces the origins of ID, discusses the disclaiming of Darwinism in the deep South, identifies Congressional efforts regarding ID, reviews legal challenges, and examines efforts to proclaim academic freedom for ID.
Keywords: creationism, evolution, Darwinism, anti-evolutionism, intelligent design, public schools, science, education, instruction, American South, academic freedom
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