Monday, November 28, 2005


Update: Understanding Evolution Suit

Becky Bartindale and Lisa Krieger, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, have an update on the suit brought by Lititious Larry Caldwell, and his wife, Jeanne, against the UC Museum of Paleontology, which runs the Understanding Evolution Web site:

The suit, which was filed last month, specifically objects to portions of the Understanding Evolution Web site that deal with the interplay of science and religion. For example, it challenges the site's linking to doctrinal statements from a variety of religions to demonstrate that ``most Christian and Jewish religious groups have no conflict with evolution.''

That amounts to a government endorsement of certain religious groups over others, the suit contends, and is an effort ``to modify the beliefs of public school science students so they will be more willing to accept evolutionary theory as true.''

An attorney representing the Berkeley scientists said the lawsuit makes a variation on an argument that courts have repeatedly rejected -- that teaching evolution in itself is teaching a religious idea.

"The courts in many cases have said evolution is a scientific idea and there is no prohibition on the government teaching a scientific idea even if it conflicts'' with some people's religious beliefs, said university counsel Christopher Patti.

The article also gives us more insight into the science that lies behind the controversy:
"Yes, I'm a Christian,'' said [plaintiff, RSR] Jeanne Caldwell, "but I would not categorize myself as an ID proponent. I believe God created the world.''


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