1974 April 14

Texas Labels Evolution a Theory, Not a Fact


As the largest single purchaser of textbooks in the nation, Texas strongly influences the content of all textbooks. From 1974 to 1984, every Texas textbook that covered evolution was required to include a disclaimer, identifying evolution “as only one of several explanations of the origin of humankind … [Evolution must be treated] … as a theory rather than fact [and] … in a manner which is not detrimental to other theories of origin.”

In March 1984, Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox declared the 1974 rule unconstitutional.

The battle over teaching evolution in the public schools began in 1925 with the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial, in which Biology teacher John T. Scopes was prosecuted for violating a new Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution. It has continued in recent years with battles over “balanced treatment” of evolution and creationism and the idea of “scientific creationism.”

Learn more about evolution and public education at the National Center for Science Educationhttp://ncse.com/

Learn more about Charles Darwin and evolution: http://darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk/pages/

Read: Ashley Montgue and Isaac Asimov, Science and Creationism (1984)

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