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Discovery Institute Press Release on Cobb County Case

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Discovery Institute Applauds Federal U.S. Appeals Court Decision To Throw Out Judge’s Ruling Against Evolution Disclaimers on Textbooks

Atlanta – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has thrown out the trial court decision ruling that evolution disclaimers on science textbooks were unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision the federal three-judge panel –including both Democratic and Republican appointees— stopped short of deciding the constitutionality of the stickers, and instead sent the case back to the trial court judge with instructions to hold more evidentiary hearings on the issue.

“This decision is a victory as it throws out the problematic ruling from the trial court,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney with the Discovery Institute. “Essentially, the appellate judges found that some of the findings of the lower court were not substantiated by the evidence in the record, so now new evidentiary hearings must be held, which could completely change the trial court’s original ruling against the school district.”

“This is a major step towards a bigger victory for students, school districts, and objective science education,” added Luskin.

The Cobb County School District had placed a sticker into biology textbooks explaining that the material on evolution “should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

“A final ruling in this case will be at least as important, if not more important, than the Dover school district case last year,” added Luskin, a co-author of “Traipsing Into Evolution Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision”. “Eventually it’s likely that a decision will be handed down from this federal appellate court governing legal decisions in multiple states, whereas the Kitzmiller decision was from a trial court with no legal force outside of the parties in that local case.”

Discovery Institute believes that school districts should have the right to require science teachers to inform students about both scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolution. The Institute does not favor the mandatory inclusion of alternative scientific theories, such as intelligent design, and also does not favor the use of disclaimers, but instead recommends that school districts require teaching critical analysis of evolution.

For more information on the law and evolution read “Traipsing Into Evolution” or visit discovery.org/csc.


The discovery institute applauds the decision; what say you, ACLU? I wonder why it should take 16 months to come to a logical conclusion? Judge Cooper made some interesting, but not necessarily cogent statements: His conclusion, he said, "is not that the school board should not have called evolution a theory, or that the school board should have called evolution a fact. Rather, the distinction of evolution as a theory rather than a fact is the distinction that religiously motivated individuals have specifically asked school boards to make in the most recent anti-evolution movement, and that was exactly what parents in Cobb County did in this case," he wrote. In other words, it was not that they misstated facts, but that religiously motivated individuals has made similar statements. He went on to say: "By adopting this specific language … the Cobb County School Board appears to have sided with these religiously motivated individuals." How's that for circular logic? Not that different from some of the reasoning invoked by Judge Jones in the Kitzmiller case. Judge cooper as much as agreed with the school district's assertion that evolution should be "critically considered", by agreeing that it is subject to criticism, alluding to lack of a proven mechanism. He prattled on … "While evolution is subject to criticism, particularly with respect to the mechanism by which it occurred, the sticker misleads students regarding the significance and value of evolution in the scientific community." Why then could he not even agree with himself in the matter, rather rendering the untenable conclusion that 'since someone else said what you said, you must be promoting their cause'. Furthermore, why do these federal judges continue to go along with the idea that rather than promoting objective thought, students need to be coddled and guided (more like cajoled) in their thinking. Yesterday's decision reopens the case. More testimony will be admitted. Is there anything we can do to admit evidence into the case to get that decision reversed?? leebowman

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