Last month, we marked the 50th anniversary of Epperson v. Arkansas, an important Supreme Court ruling dealing with the right of students in public schools to learn modern science without interference by religious groups.
In Epperson, the high court invalidated an Arkansas law that banned the teaching of evolution in the state's public schools. Although the measure was only being sporadically enforced, biology teacher Susan Epperson didn't want to risk going to jail for teaching her pupils modern science. She challenged the law in court and won. (See "She Stood For Science," November 2018 Church & State.)
The Arkansas law had its roots in conservative religious groups that opposed evolution because, they argued, it conflicted with the Bible's account of humankind's origins.
Fifty years have passed; one would think we would be more enlightened. Sadly, that's not the case. While no state would be foolish enough to pass a law prohibiting instruction about evolution, several have tried other tactics to undermine the principle. Legislators have introduced laws demanding that the alleged "weaknesses" of...