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Major developments during 2005:

bullet2005-JAN-13: GA: Federal court orders anti-evolution stickers removed: Jeffrey Selman, a former resident of New York state who has a 10 year old son in the Cobb County School District in Georgia, initiated a lawsuit against his public school board: Selman v. Cobb County School District. He sought to have stickers removed from science textbooks in the county. The district had adopted a policy requiring that any of its school biology textbooks which mention evolution contain a sticker reading: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." A total of 2,300 parents with children in the school district had signed a petition asking that the stickers stay. ON JAN-13, the court ruled in Selman's favor.

Selman said: "I was terrified about the future of the country I have to live in and my child has to live in. From the Bush White House to the evangelicals on the school board, they were taking away our freedoms."

Michael Manely, Sleman's lawyer said: "This is a great day in history and a great day for freedom in our nation." He added that students in Cobb County will "be permitted to learn science unadulterated by religious dogma." He expects that conservative Christians will continue the battle to introduce creation science into the science curriculum. He said: "They will definitely regroup and reload. Faith is not enough for these people. They also need power."

Judge Clarence Cooper wrote in his 44 page ruling that: "The school board has effectively improperly entangled itself with religion by appearing to take a position. Therefore, the sticker must be removed from all of the textbooks."

The school board issued a statement saying that it did not know if and when the stickers would be removed. They have not decided on whether to appeal the court's ruling. 1
bullet2005-MAR-23: USA: IMAX theatres refuse to show movie: "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" is an IMAX movie which shows a descent to 12,000 feet below the surface to a mid-ocean ridge where hydrothermal vents from active volcanoes support a wide variety of life forms. The Ontario Science Center shows a movie trailer on their web site. 2 Fifteen IMAX theatres in several Southern U.S. cities -- Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina -- have decided to not show the movie. They fear that its references to evolution will offend conservative Christians who believe in a young earth and creation science. The movie makes a connection between human DNA and microbes inside undersea volcanoes. Pietro Serapiglia, who handles distribution of IMAX films mentioned that the film boycott is "...only in the South." Joe DeAmicis, vice president for marketing at the California Science Center in Los Angeles and a former director of an IMAX theater, said: "It's going to restrain the creative approach by directors who refer to evolution. References to evolution will be dropped." 3
bullet2005-MAY-06: Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate before Kansas Board of Education: The Kansas Board of Education invited experts with different views on evolution, creation science and intelligent design to attend a discussion. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) had arranged for evolution experts to attend the meeting but cancelled their attendance. Alan Leshner, the AAAS chief executive officer, said: "We've decided not to participate in order to avoid giving the impression that intelligent design...is science." He called it "...a perfectly reasonable belief system." 4

2005-JUN-09: OK: Tulsa Zoo is to add a biblical creation exhibit: Tulsa mayor Bill LaFortue and others argued that the Tulsa Zoo should have an exhibit demonstrating creation science. They noted that the zoo already has a statue of the Hindu God Ganesh who takes the form of an elephant, and a globe with a Native American saying: "The earth is our mother; the sky is our father." They argued that to not have a creation science exhibit would be religious discrimination. But in order to meet constitutional requirements, the zoo cannot be uniquely promoting religion over secularism. It would have to have a corresponding display of evolution. Also it cannot promote one religion over all others. So it would have to have additional displays demonstrating the origin beliefs of other religions. The display will include a disclaimer stating that it represents only one view of origins. 5


2005-DEC-20: PA: Judge rules that Intelligent Design is a form of creationism: U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III delivered an unusually broad ruling that Intelligent Design was simply another form of creationism. In a 139 page ruling, he ruled that teaching ID in the Dover Area School Board's high school biology classes is a violation of the principle of separation of church and state. The decision only applies to the state of Pennsylvania. However, it is expected to have a major effect on those school boards which do not have unlimited funds to fight legal battles. More info.

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  1. "Darwin beats God in Red America," The Toronto Star, 2005-JAN-14, Page A17.

  2. "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea" trailer, Ontario Science Centre, at: http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/

  3. "IMAX theaters reject film over evolution. Some theaters in South believe 'Volcanoes' a tough sell," CNN.com, 2005-MAR-23, at: http://www.cnn.com/

  4. Steve Jordahl, "Kansas Debates Evolution," Focus on the Family, 2005-MAY-06, at: http://www.family.org/

  5. "Tulsa Zoo To Feature Display On Biblical Creation," Associated Press, 2005-JUN-10, at: http://www.wesh.com/

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Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-APR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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