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Mclean vs. Arkansas Board of Education. What is it? Arkansas approved a statute that required creation science to be taught if evolution was taught. Reverend.

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Presentation on theme: "Mclean vs. Arkansas Board of Education. What is it? Arkansas approved a statute that required creation science to be taught if evolution was taught. Reverend."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mclean vs. Arkansas Board of Education

2 What is it? Arkansas approved a statute that required creation science to be taught if evolution was taught. Reverend William McLean and others took offense to the law and sued the Arkansas Board of Education. The trial ignited opinions of Christians, scientists, and others alike.

3 Background In 1981, the Governor of Arkansas signed into law a statue called the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution Science Act (Act 590). It stated, “Public schools within this State shall give balanced treatment to creation-science and to evolution science.” This act essentially said that in public schools, if evolution was taught so must creation science be taught. If teachers just taught evolution in public schools they would be in violation of the law, because they would have to dedicate equal time to teaching Creation Science.

4 Background On May 27, 1981, a suit was filed against the 590 law. The suit filed stated three pronged problem: it violated the establishment clause, violated the teachers’ free speech, and violated the Due Process Clause.

5 Background The plaintiff consisted to of several different church representatives such as resident Arkansas Bishops of the United Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and African Methodist Episcopal Churches, the principal official of the Presbyterian Churches in Arkansas, other United Methodist, Southern Baptist and Presbyterian clergy. There were also parents and friends of parents who were plaintiffs. There was also one biology teacher represented. Different organizations were also listed as plaintiffs such as American Jewish Congress, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the American Jewish Committee, the Arkansas Education Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers and the national Coalition for Public Education and Religious Liberty, all of which sue on behalf of members living in Arkansas. Last but not least, there were some plaintiffs that were Arkansas taxpayers who opposed this law.

6 Background The defendants consisted of the Arkansas Board of Education and its members, the Director of the Department of Education, and the State Textbooks and Instructional materials selecting committee. Ultimately, the Pulaski County Special School District, its directors, and Superintendent were dismissed from the trial.

7 What were they really opposing? Creation science was defined as: "Creation science means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those evidences. Creation science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: Sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing.. The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds of a single organisms. Changes only with fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals. Separate ancestry for man and apes. Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of worldwide flood. A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.”

8 Plaintiffs’ Testimony The trial was another monumental religious debate. This attracted attention from various people of all backgrounds. There was testimony from : Rev. Kenneth W. Hicks Fr. Francis Bruce Vawter Dr. George Marsden Professor Dorothy Nelkin Dr. Langdon Gikey Dr. Michael Ruse Dr. Francisco Ayala Senator James Holsted Dr G Brent Dalrymple Dr. Harold Morowitz Dr. Stephen Jay Gould Dennis Glasgow Ronald W. Coward William C. Wood Ed Bullington Marianne Wilson Dr. William Vernon Mayer

9 Defendants’ Testimony There was testimony from: Dr. Norman Geisler Dr. Larry Parker Dr. W. Scot Morrow Jim Townley Dr. Wayne A. Frair Dr. Margaret Helder Dr. Donald Chittick Dr. Ariel Roth Dr. Harold Coffin Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe Robert V. Gentry

10 Ruling On January 5, 1982, the ruling was in. Judge William Overton concluded that Arkansas Act 590 was not constitutional. One of the major conclusions he came to was that Creation Science was not truly a science for the following reasons: Science is 1.I t is guided by natural law 2. It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law; 3. It is testable against the empirical world; 4. Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and 5. It is falsifiable.

11 Ruling In contrast, creation science is 1. Sudden creation "from nothing" is not science because it depends upon a supernatural intervention which is not guided by natural law, is not explanatory by reference to natural law, is not testable and is not falsifiable. 2. "insufficiency of mutation and natural selection" is an incomplete negative generalization. 3. "changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds" fails as there is no scientific definition of "kinds", the assertion appears to be an effort to establish outer limits of changes within species but there is no scientific explanation for these limits which is guided by natural law and the limitations, whatever they are, cannot be explained by natural law. 4. "separate ancestry of man and apes" is a bald assertion which explains nothing and refers to no scientific fact or theory. 5. Catastrophism and any kind of Genesis Flood depend upon supernatural intervention, and cannot be explained by natural law.

12 Ruling In contrast, creation science is 6. "Relatively recent inception" has no scientific meaning, is not the product of natural law; not explainable by natural law; nor is it tentative. 7. No recognized scientific journal has published an article espousing the creation science theory as described in the Act, and through some witnesses suggested that the scientific community was “close-minded” and so had not accepted the arguments, no witness produced a scientific article for which publication has been refused, and suggestions of censorship were not credible. 8. A scientific theory must be tentative and always subject to revision or abandonment in light of facts that are inconsistent with, or falsify, the theory. A theory that is by its own terms dogmatic, absolutist, and never subject to revision is not a scientific theory. 9. While anybody is free to approach a scientific inquiry in any fashion they choose, they cannot properly describe the methodology as scientific, if they start with the conclusion and refuse to change it regardless of the evidence developed during the course the investigation. The creationists’ methods do not take data, weight it against the opposing scientific data, and thereafter reach the conclusions started in the Act instead, they take the literal wording of the book of Genesis and attempt to find scientific support for it.

13 In the end, the act 590 was unconstitutional and claimed that creation science was not a factual science free from religious grounds. William R. Overton, the judge, wrote this. The defendants presented Dr. Larry Parker, a specialist in devising curricula for public schools. He testified that the public school's curriculum should reflect the subjects the public wants in schools. The witness said that polls indicated a significant majority of the American public thought creation science should be taught if evolution was taught. The point of this testimony was never placed in a legal context. No doubt a sizeable majority of Americans believe in the concept of a Creator or, at least, are not opposed to the concept and see nothing wrong with teaching school children the idea. The application and content of First Amendment principles are not determined by public opinion polls or by a majority vote. Whether the proponents of Act 590 constitute the majority or the minority is quite irrelevant under a constitutional system of government. No group, no matter how large or small, may use the organs of government, of which the public schools are the most conspicuous and influential, to foist its religious beliefs on others. The Court closes this opinion with a thought expressed eloquently by the great Justice Frankfurter: We renew our conviction that "we have stake the very existence of our country on the faith that complete separation between the state and religion is best for the state and best for religion." Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. at 59. If nowhere else, in the relation between Church and State, "good fences make good neighbors." [McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 232 (1948)] An injunction will be entered permanently prohibiting enforcement of Act 590. It is ordered this January 5, 1982.

14 Aftermath After this trial, it revealed a precedent for creation science. However, even after this there were other trials that were about creation science. Louisiana also signed into the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution Science Act. Other trials raged on and will continue to rage on about religious theories or ideas being in the public eye.

15 Quiz 1.What belief was questioned throughout the trial? a.Science b.Intelligent Design c.Creationist d.Creation Science-

16 Quiz 2. What was the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution Science Act also called? a.Act 850 b.Act 750 c.Act 680 d.Act 590-

17 Quiz 3. Who were the plaintiffs of this case? a.A biology teacher b.A reverend c.Various religious representative and figures d.Parents e.Friends of parents f.Arkansas’ taxpayers g.All of the Above- h.None of the Above

18 Quiz 4. True or False. In creation science’s definition at the time included believing that there was a worldwide flood. A.True – B.False

19 Quiz 5. True or False. For the plaintiffs’ testimony, it included people with doctorates, reverends, and others. A.False B.True-

20 Quiz 6. True or False. The defendants’ testimony did not use any people with doctorates to testify. A.True B.False -

21 Quiz 6. True or False. The defendants’ testimony did not use any people nationally known scientists and theologians. A.True B.False -

22 Quiz 7. True or False. In the ruling, creation science was considered not to truly be a science. A.True - B. False

23 Quiz 8. Which of the following was not considered to be science’s definition as explained by Judge William Overton? a.I t is guided by natural law b. It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law c. It is testable against the modern world – d. Its conclusions are tentative e. It is falsifiable.

24 Quiz 9. Which is not one of the reasons creation science was ruled not to be used in public schools? a.Sudden creation "from nothing" is not science because it depends upon a supernatural intervention which is not guided by natural law, is not explanatory by reference to natural law, is not testable and is not falsifiable. b. "insufficiency of mutation and natural selection" is an incomplete negative generalization. c. "separate ancestry of man and apes" is a bald assertion which explains nothing and refers to no scientific fact or theory. d. Catastrophism and any kind of Genesis Flood depend upon supernatural intervention, and cannot be explained by natural law. e. Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word – f. All of the above

25 Quiz 10. True or false. This case ended the debate and no cases after it ever consisted of creation science references. A.False – B.True

26 Resources m kansas.htm


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