The 20th Anniversary of Darwin on Trial

Darwin-as-philosophy inspired sociological jurisprudence and legal realism before mixing in the late 20th century with dissident politics and continental critical theory to form the intellectual foundation of the Critical Legal Studies (CLS) movement.

Moore v. Gaston County Board of Education: Teachers Can Say they Support Darwin, But Can They Dissent?

May a teacher answer questions from students about her personal religious beliefs or her beliefs on Darwin’s theory of evolution? That’s the issue addressed in Moore v. Gaston County Board of Education, where a lower federal court found it legal for a agnostic teacher who supported evolution to express his views in response to student questions about what he believed. Would a teacher who doubts Darwinism also be granted the academic freedom to openly answer student questions about whether she finds evolutionary biology persuasive? 1. Summary A student teacher, George Moore, sued the Gaston County School District in North Carolina after being dismissed because he supported evolution in class by giving “unorthodox answers to student questions (derived from the day’s Read More ›

Crowley v. Smithsonian Institution: The Government May Promote Scientific Theories That Touch Upon Religious Questions

Crowley v. Smithsonian Institution is another case where a federal court found that the government does not violate the Establishment clause when it advocates evolution. Yet the reasoning the court used to find it permissible to teach evolution could, if applied fairly, also validate the teaching of intelligent design as constitutional. 1. Summary Plaintiffs sued the Smithsonian Institution, arguing that displays featuring evolution at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History established secular humanism and violated the constitutional mandate requiring the government to remain neutral in matters of religion.70 Plaintiffs requested an order compelling the Smithsonian to “expend an amount equal to the amount extended in the promulgation of the evolutionary theory . . . on the Biblical account of Read More ›