For IMMEDIATE RELEASE on October 12, 2005
Contact: Larry Caldwell
Lawsuit Alleges that Federally-Funded Evolution Website Violates Separation of Church and State by Using Religion to Promote Evolution
San Francisco, CAÃ¢â‚¬â€ A California parent, Jeanne Caldwell, is filing a federal lawsuit today against officials of the National Science Foundation and the University of California at Berkeley for spending more than $500,000 of federal money on a website that encourages teachers to use religion to promote evolution in violation of the First Amendment.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In this stunning example of hypocrisy, the same people who so loudly proclaim that they oppose discussion of religion in science classes are clamoring for public school teachers to expressly use theology in order to convince students to support evolution,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Larry Caldwell, President of Quality Science Education for All, who is co-counsel in the suit with the Pacific Justice Institute.
Called “Understanding Evolution,” the website identified in the lawsuit directs teachers to doctrinal statements by seventeen religious denominations and groups endorsing evolutionary theory. A statement by the United Church of Christ, for example, declares that evolution is consistent with “the revelation and presence of… God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”
The website further suggests classroom activities that explicitly use religion to promote evolution. In one suggested activity, teachers are supposed to share with students statements by religious leaders on evolution, but only those “stress[ing] the compatibility of theology with the science of evolution.” In another activity, students are assigned to interview ministers about their views on evolution, with the purpose of showing students that “Evolution is OK!” Teachers are cautioned, however, that this particular activity may not work if they live in a community that is “conservative Christian.”
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While the government has a legitimate purpose in educating students about the science of evolution, it’s outrageous that tax dollars would be spent to indoctrinate students into a particular religious view of evolution. There are many different religious views about evolution. How dare the government tell students which religious view is correct!” said plaintiff Jeanne Caldwell. “This is propaganda, not education.”
The lawsuit alleges that the state and federal government are promoting religious beliefs to minor school children through the website in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The suit seeks injunctive relief to remove these government endorsed religious beliefs from the website.
The lawsuit also alleges that the website is being used to further the religious agenda of a private organization, the National Center for Science Education (NSCE), which has a Ã¢â‚¬Å“long history of religious advocacyÃ¢â‚¬Â on the evolution issue. According to the suit, the NCSE, which helped design the website, provides religious Ã¢â‚¬Å“outreachÃ¢â‚¬Â programs and Ã¢â‚¬Å“preachingÃ¢â‚¬Â on evolution to churches, all aimed at convincing people of faith that there is no conflict between their religious beliefs and evolution.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It turns out that the NCSE and its allies in the scientific and educational establishments donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mind having religious beliefs discussed in science class, as long as those discussions are aimed at convincing students to convert to the religious beliefs favored by the NCSEÃ¢â‚¬Â, added attorney Caldwell. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Their willingness to flagrantly violate studentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ constitutionally protected religious freedoms in order to sell evolution to our children is the height of hypocrisy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Here are some references to website links relevant to this lawsuit [Note that these links are as they were given to me; if they don’t work, it may be that the pages are being changed to protect the guilty — AKA damage control]:
San Francisco, CAÃ¢â‚¬â€ A parent, Jeanne Caldwell, is filing a federal lawsuit today against officials of the University of California at Berkeley and the National Science Foundation over religious
statements on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Understanding EvolutionÃ¢â‚¬Â website (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/), which was created with over $500,000 in federal funding. (http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0096613)
According to the lawsuit, the website, which describes itself as the Ã¢â‚¬Å“ultimate evolution resource for K-12 teachers,Ã¢â‚¬Â includes Ã¢â‚¬Å“classroom strategiesÃ¢â‚¬Â and exercises for public school teachers to use in science class to convince students of faith to change the religious convictions if students (http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/Scott1.html)
A webpage called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Misconceptions: Ã¢â‚¬ËœEvolution and religion are incompatibleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â
(http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/misconceps/IVAandreligion.shtml) makes the theological claim that Ã¢â‚¬Å“most Christian and Jewish religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution.Ã¢â‚¬Â This is illustrated by a cartoon depicting a scientist shaking hands with a pastor holding a Bible with a cross on it.
The website exclusively directs instructors to statements by seventeen religious denominations and groups that adhere to the doctrine that there is no conflict between their religious beliefs and evolution. (http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/5025_statements_from_religious_orga_12_19_2002.asp)
A core claim of many evolutionists is that the origin of all life forms through evolution, including humans, was Ã¢â‚¬Å“unplannedÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“undirectedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. This claim clearly contradicts the teaching of all of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, that life on earth and people were created on purpose for a purpose.
The lawsuit alleges that officials are using government funding and resources to actively promote the religious beliefs held by a private organization, the National Center for Science Education, which has a Ã¢â‚¬Å“long history of religious advocacyÃ¢â‚¬Â on the evolution issue. (http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/5025_statements_from_religious_orga_12_19_2002.asp)
Attorney Larry Caldwell, President of Quality Science Education for All, (http://www.qsea.org)
Pacific Justice Institute (http://www.pacificjustice.org/)
Here is another theological article on the website that may be of interest, since it pushes the idea that science deals with reality and religion deals with “personal preferences” and unreality: (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/resources/readings_moore.shtml)