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ERIC Number: EJ1098437
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Abstractor: As Provided
Darwin versus Intelligent Design in US Courts: Does Teaching Intelligent Design in Biology Classes Violate the US Constitution?
Bradt, Patricia T.
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2006 n1 Fall 2006
Darwinian evolution is accepted by the great majority of scientists as the method by which the diversity of earth's organisms, including humans, evolved. Current research continues to expand our knowledge of evolutionary mechanisms. However, certain religious groups, supporting teaching the creation of earth's species as outlined in Genesis ("Creationism"), challenge in US courts teaching only Darwinian evolution in biology classes. The Courts must decide whether teaching creationism violates the Constitution's First Amendment prohibiting government "establishment of religion". In a 2005 challenge (US District Court, Pennsylvania), a local school board mandated a disclaimer be read to biology classes stating there were gaps in Darwin's theory and that "Intelligent Design" (ID), propounded as science, provided a different explanation of life's origins. ID proposes that many living structures exhibit "irreducible complexity", could not have evolved via natural selection and, therefore, exhibit evidence of an intelligent designer. After expert testimony, the judge ruled (12/05) that ID was a form of religion, a modernized concept of creationism, and should not be taught in biology classes because it violated US and Pennsylvania Constitutions. Similar challenges to teaching Darwinian evolution are occurring in at least nine other US states.
Descriptors: Biology, Science Instruction, Evolution, Creationism, Social Influences, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, State Church Separation, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Public Schools, Legal Responsibility, Court Litigation, Biblical Literature, High Schools, Secondary School Science, Citizenship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Establishment Clause; Fourteenth Amendment
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A