Chapter

Outlawing Creation 1981–1990

Edward J. Larson

in Trial and Error

Third edition

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195154719
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849505 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154719.003.0007
Outlawing Creation 1981–1990

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This chapter examines the complex litigation over creation-science statutes, which culminated in the 1987 US Supreme Court decision against them in Aguillard v. Edwards. As the ultimate responsibility for resolving the dispute moved from the elected state legislators moved from the elected state legislators and judges to the appointed federal judiciary, persistent popular support for accommodating creationism in public education still influenced the law, but its impact became subtler. The ACLU moved first against the more vulnerable Arkansas law. In doing so, the ACLU generated the most dramatic creation-evolution legal confrontation since the Scopes confrontation mentioned in Chapter 3. In January 5, 1892, Judge Overton found that the new equal-time statute had an unconstitutional religious purpose and repudiated the Arkansas statute. Meanwhile, every brief opposing the Louisiana law asserted or assumed that creation science was solely religious and not scientific.

Keywords: Aguillard v. Edwards; creation-science statutes; ACLU; Arkansas creationism law; Judge Overton; William Brennan

Chapter.  10110 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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