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Scientific Creationism

In the 1970’s, creationists renewed efforts to find a place for creationism in public education.  Their answer to the legal problems posed by excluding evolution was to counter it with equal time spent on “scientific creationism”.  Scientific creationism seeks to use scientific evidence to prove that the universe was created suddenly, and not too long ago.  Arkansas and Louisiana passed laws requiring equal time for instruction of evolution and scientific creationism.  These laws, however, were determined to be unconstitutional by the Supreme CourtScientific CreationismIn Edwards v. Aguillard, the Supreme Court determined that scientific creationism was religious by nature and that its instruction in public schools constituted government sponsorship of a religion.  Such advocacy is constitutionally forbidden under the First Amendment, making it unlawful for school districts to allow scientific creationism instruction.

Ironically, the loopholes creationists are using today with scientific creationism were created by the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard decision.  Justice Brennan wrote in the majority opinion that, “teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of scientific instruction”.  Further, Judge Scalia offered in the dissenting opinion that school districts should be allowed, “as a secular matter, to have whatever scientific evidence there may be against evolution presented in their schools”.

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