In a somewhat bizarre ruling, the judge found that the stickers “fostering critical thinking” about evolution “is a clearly secular purpose.” And, the judge also found that the Cobb County school district had secular, not religious reasons for adopting a textbook sticker dealing with evolution. Yet, he somehow concludes that the “effect” of the sticker would be to advance religion.
CSC associate director John West summed it up this way:
“The judge rules, and repeatedly states, that there is a clear secular purpose to the sticker, and it has a legitimate secular purpose to promote critical discussion of Darwinian evolution. Furthermore, he acknowledges that there are scientists who are critical of Darwin’s theory on a scientific basis.”
Still, the judge explicitly made clear that this ruling is not about whether it is constitutionally permissible for public school teachers to teach intelligent design. And, the judge acknowledges that there are scientists who are critical of Darwin’s theory on a scientific basis.
The ACLU’s focus on the whole theory vs. fact issue was just a side-show. The real issue is whether or not students should learn about both the evidence for Darwin’s theory, as well as that which challenges it. And the answer is yes, they should. Additionally students also should learn about the growing number of scientists the judge referenced who think that the evidence does not adequately support Darwin’s theory.
We’re not surprised at the ruling because the defense attorney mounted a weak defense — which we noted (here and here) during the trial in November. Although the plaintiff’s attorney called scientists to testify, the defense never called a scientist to rebut that testimony, even though there are over 300 — many of them right in Georgia — who have questions about the scientific validity of parts of Darwin’s theory.
Our position on how to teach evolution is constitutional, and educationally sound, as shown by the success of similar policies, standards and lessons adopted in such places as Ohio and Minnesota, neither of which were challenged in court.
The bottom line is that what matters in science is evidence, not motives. In science you follow the evidence where it leads no matter the presumed motives of the scientists. There are more than 300 scientists who doubt Darwinism, that’s evidence that proves this is a scientific debate.