Arkansas

Susan Epperson

And finally the last installment in what proved to be a rather longer essay on Epperson v. Arkansas than I had originally anticipated. In part 1, posted on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision, I related how the state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution was enacted in the first place. In part 2, I discussed how the Arkansas Education Association engineered a challenge to the law, recruiting the Arkansas native Susan Epperson, a biology teacher at Central High School in Little Rock, to challenge its constitutionality. In part 3, I traced the legal history of the case, from the Pulaski County Chancery Court through the Arkansas Supreme Court to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down the law in a decision issued on November 12, 1968. And now I want to examine the aftermath of the Epperson decision, comparing the situation in Arkansas with that in the other two states with Scopes-era antievolution laws.

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Susan Epperson

The saga continues! In part 1, posted on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, I related how the state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution was enacted in the first place. In part 2, I discussed how the Arkansas Education Association engineered a challenge to the law, recruiting the Arkansas native Susan Epperson, a biology teacher at Central High School in Little Rock, to challenge its constitutionality. The trial, before Morris O. Reed of the Pulaski County Chancery Court, began on April 1, 1966. The date was significant, according to Edward J. Larson’s Trial and Error (third edition, 2003): “The trial judge made no secret of his contempt for the old statute—he even scheduled the trial for April Fools’ Day, allowing the case only one day rather than the two weeks requested by the state for presenting scientific arguments against evolution.”

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Susan Epperson

In part 1, posted on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, I related how the state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution (“the theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals” in Arkansas’s public schools was enacted in the first place.

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Susan Epperson

Today, November 12, 2013, is the forty-fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas, which struck down a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in Arkansas’s public schools.

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05.27.2011

The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement from the Arkansas Science Teachers Association, issued in 2008, updating its previous statement from 2006.

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03.23.2006

Jason R. Wiles's article "The missing link" -- detailing the ways in which evolution education is neglected in his home state of Arkansas -- appeared as the cover story in the weekly Arkansas Times (March 23, 2006).

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07.14.2005

At its meeting on July 11, 2005, the Beebe, Arkansas, School Board voted 3-2 to remove stickers describing evolution as "controversial" and mentioning an "intelligent designer" as a possible explanation of the origin of life from the district's science textbooks.

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03.18.2005

According to the March 17, 2005, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, House Bill 2607 died in committee. The bill, introduced by first-term legislator Mike Martin (R-District 87), would have required the state Department of Education to include "intelligent design" in its educational frameworks and also encouraged teachers in the state to include it in their lesson plans.

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03.10.2005

House Bill 2607, introduced in the Arkansas House of Representatives as a shell bill on March 4, 2005, and amended and engrossed on March 10, is intended to allow the teaching of "intelligent design" as "a parallel to evolutionary theory" in the public schools of Arkansas. If enacted, the bill would require the state Department of Education to include "intelligent design" in its educational frameworks and encourage teachers in the state to include it in their lesson plans.

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02.18.2005

On February 10, 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that the Beebe School District in Beebe, Arkansas, agreed to remove warning labels from its science textbooks which describe evolution as "a controversial theory" and refer to an "intelligent designer" as a possible explanation of the origin of life.

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