Clairvoyant Judge Needs to be Benched
The phone was ringing, e-mails were piling up, radio talk-shows were requesting interviews, and even my colleagues here at the office wanted to know if I had responded to the judge’s verdict in the Cobb County case. The case before the judge was simple. The Cobb County school board had decided to put stickers in the front of their science books that stated:
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.
Simple enough. It should have been an open and shut case—especially since there was absolutely no reference to religion or creationism on the stickers. In fact, the case never should have gone to trial in the first place. The stickers merely recommended that students evaluate the evidence “with an open mind.”
Obviously, Judge (and I’m using that term loosely) Clarence Cooper is not a keen believer in our children having open minds, since he ruled that the stickers are unconstitutional. Even though the stickers did not say a word about religion, he felt that “by adopting this specific language, even if at the direction of counsel, the Cobb County School Board appears to have sided with these religiously motivated individuals.” In his ruling, Cooper noted: “Due to the manner in which the sticker refers to evolution as a theory, the sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life” (see CNN, 2005). I hate to be the one to break it to him, but evolution is a theory. In fact, had Judge Cooper taken the time to evaluate modern scientific evidence, he would realize that it is a theory with numerous serious problems. In his haste to exterminate God, Cooper observed: “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 into which it has been replaced.”
Someone needs to remind Cooper that science is all about building knowledge, and that such knowledge should include discussions of problems related to the theory, as well as discussions of alternative theories. If evolutionary theory is indeed a “fact,” as many like to call it, then it should be able to withstand scrutiny and debate. But, obviously, we can’t have that. We can’t have students evaluating the evidence on their own and deciding what theory best fits the evidence—because, after all, some of those “open-minded students” might choose a theory that possesses a supernatural Creator. Never mind that more than 2,000 Cobb County parents complained to the school board that evolution was being taught as fact, while only five parents (along with the ACLU) were involved in the lawsuit to have the stickers removed. The tragic truth is that those in the vocal minority are twisting American laws and using them against the rest of us. But no amount of legal finagling or ridiculous judgments will alter the truth—that nature displays incredible design, which necessitates an intelligent Designer.
So in answer to the e-mails, telephone calls, and letters, do I have a response to the Cobb County decision? Yes, after much thought and reflection, I do. Parents who want their children to be educated in an environment that promotes open-minded learning, and that is not going to deprive them of their moral and spiritual values, may, in certain instances, need to consider alternative schooling methods for their children. Want to know how to get the attention of activist judges like Mr. Cooper? Let him make decisions for a public school in which 2,000 students walk out (to be home-schooled or to enter private schools) while he makes ridiculous mandates for just a few.
[UPDATE: In a 5-2 vote, the Cobb County school board has decided to appeal Judge Cooper’s ruling. In a statement, the school board members stated that they believe Cooper’s decision amounts to unnecessary judicial intrusion into local control of schools. And so, the battle continues.]
CNN (2005), “Judge: Evolution Stickers Unconstitutional,” [On-line], URL: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/13/evolution.textbooks.ruling/index.html.