Excerpts From Three of the Most Prominent Evolution Cases
Supreme Court of the United States, Epperson v. Arkansas, 1968
"Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of non-religion, and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against the militant opposite."
Supreme Court of the United States, Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987
"[The] primary purpose [of the Louisiana 'Creation Act,' which required the teaching of 'creation science' together with evolution in public schools] was to change the public school science curriculum to provide persuasive advantage to a particular religious doctrine that rejects the factual basis of evolution in its entirety. Thus, the Act is designed either to promote the theory of creation science that embodies a particular religious tenet or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects. In either case, the Act violates the First Amendment."
District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005
"[W]e find that ID [intelligent design] is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory, as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community. ID, as noted, is grounded in theology, not science…. Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID."
From Science, Evolution, and Creationism, National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. © 2008 National Academy of Sciences
Creationism and the Law
The National Center for Science Education provides an online resource with details on seventeen key cases, from Scopes to Selman, that made a difference in the evolution vs. creationism debate. Click on the name of a case to get a thorough summary; a list of source documents (typically PDFs, arranged in chronological order); and to relevant NCSE news stories, timelines, and presentations; and a selection of links to other sources. This resource is free and aimed at journalists, lawyers, school administrators, school boards, and anyone interested in the legal history of evolution, creationism, and public school science education.