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An important article by Cornelia Dean in the Science section of the February 1, 2005, issue of The New York Times details a common, but rarely recognized, form of evolution censorship in the United States: self-censorship. In her article, "Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S.
House Bill 179, introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives on January 27, 2005, would require "Whenever any theory of the origin of human beings or other living things is included in a course of study offered by a local unit of administration, factual scientific evidence supporting or consistent with evolution theory and factual scientific evidence inconsistent with or not supporting the theory shall be included in the course of study." NCSE's executive director Eugenie C.
A trio of op-ed columns greeted the January 13, 2005, ruling in Selman et al. v. Cobb County School District et al., in which U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper deemed that the evolution disclaimer required in the Cobb County School District violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Although the board decided (on January 17) to appeal the decision to the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals, the discussions in these columns are still worthwhile and timely. And a humor column in Scientific American looks on the lighter side.
On January 17, 2005, the Cobb County School Board voted 5-2 to appeal the ruling in Selman et al. v. Cobb County School District et al., which ordered the removal of evolution disclaimers from the school district's textbooks. Announcing the decision, Kathie Johnstone, chair of the board, described Judge Clarence Cooper's ruling as an "unnecessary judicial intrusion into local control of schools."
Two excellent opinion columns about evolution education appeared on January 19, 2005, on opposite sides of the country.
"[T]he Sticker adopted by the Cobb County Board of Education violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," declared U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper, in a forty-four-page ruling issued on January 13, 2005. Cooper's ruling requires the Cobb County School District to remove the disclaimers immediately and not to disseminate them again in any form. NCSE Executive Director Eugenie C. Scott commented, "This is another win for good science and good science education.
Following last year's debate over evolution education in the small Montana town of Darby, two bills have been proposed in the Montana legislature which take diametrically opposed stands on the place of evolution in the science classrooms of the state's public schools.
A bill calling for "balanced treatment to the theory of scientific creationism and the theory of evolution" was introduced in the Mississippi Senate and referred to the Committee on Education on January 10, 2005.
by Nick Matzke