January 13, 2005

Federal judge rules Cobb schools' "evolution disclaimer" stickers unconstitutional

My children attend schools in Cobb County, GA (makes sense, since I live in Cobb), and have been affected (for what it's worth) by the stickers placed in science textbooks. The stickers have a single paragraph on them: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

A federal judge in Atlanta has ordered the stickers to be removed from the textbooks, indicating that they are unconstitutional.

In a ruling issued today, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said the stickers violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"Adopted by the school board, funded by the money of taxpayers, and inserted by school personnel, the sticker conveys an impermissible message of endorsement and tells some citizens that they are political outsiders while telling others they are political insiders," Cooper wrote in a 44-page decision.

The stickers send "a message that the school board agrees with the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists and creationists," Cooper said. "The school board has effectively improperly entangled itself with religion by appearing to take a position. Therefore, the sticker must be removed from all of the textbooks into which it has been placed."

The lawsuit challenging the disclaimers, which call evolution a "theory, not a fact," was brought by six parents who believed the disclaimers violated the principle of separation between church and state. Cooper heard three days of testimony, plus closing arguments, last November.

My big problem with the whole thing is the tax money spent first putting the stickers in all of the books in the county, and now that even more of my tax dollars will be wasted snatching the stickers OUT of all of the books in the county.

There are far better things that my tax dollars should be spent on in the Cobb County schools than slapping in or yanking out stickers to satisfy the whims of overzealous school board members or judges.

Posted by mhking at January 13, 2005 11:49 AM

Open mindedness, studying things carefully and critical thinking are now unconstitutional?

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at January 13, 2005 01:25 PM

I don't get it. Evolution is a theory since there are not any good ways to prove it inconclusively. However, it's a pretty damn good theory. I don't get how rejecting the theory of evolution means you believe in creationism.

disclaimer: I believe in G-d, but there are obvious similarities among species which cannot be ignored. I do not believe that Genesis is the be all and end all of the emergence of humanity.

Posted by: david at January 14, 2005 06:36 AM

Uh, David. Everything was created by the same Guy dude.

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at January 14, 2005 07:10 AM

Why'd they need a sticker? My textbook called it the "theory of evolution". And it's never going to go beyond that, especially since we've found all sorts of kinks in the process.

It's kinda like Newton's law of gravity. Sure, it's not the "entire truth", but you can teach Newtonion physics to grade schoolers, while the theory of relativity is quite a bit more complicated.

And I think the whole argument moot, because I consider evolution to be a statement of the current operation of the world, not the start.

There are all sorts (scientific) theories for the creation of life, but nothing conclusive.

Steven - The stickers were a "Wink Wink Nudge Nudge Know what I mean". I can see teaching the theory of evolution in that it explains animal breeding programs, optimization in nature.

My short evolution statement: Parents pass characteristics on to their offspring. Those with superior survival & breeding characteristics tend to be the ones to survive & breed, therefore those characteristics tend to survive in a species, while characteristics negative to breeding & survival tend to die off. When a new characteristic is introduced through whatever means, it is weighed the same as existing ones. If it is good, it will tend to spread through the generations, if it is bad it will tend to be eliminated.

Now, does that say anything about the creation of life?

Uh, dude, how did the one guy do it? How much of genisis is a metaphor? I don't think that the dinosaurs were a joke.

Posted by: Firethorn at January 14, 2005 11:00 AM

Might I suggest an economical solution to your sticker problem. Perhaps you could gather the students who do not want the evolution theory in there text book and tear out the pages? Perhaps in front a few cameras (might I suggest FOX news?)A political protest that saves the taxpayers money...

Posted by: Kathy at January 14, 2005 04:16 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?