14 janvier 2005

Judge Rejects School Board Evolution Stand

By Paul Simao
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered a Georgia school district to remove stickers challenging the theory of evolution from its textbooks on the grounds that they violated the U.S. Constitution. In a ruling issued in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said Cobb County's school board had violated the constitutional ban on the separation of church and state when it put the disclaimers on biology books in 2002.
The stickers read: "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."
"We are pleased. The law was pretty clear," said Maggie Garrett, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the board on behalf of a group of parents who were opposed to the disclaimers. The ACLU argued that the school board had demonstrated a clear bias about the material, effectively pushing the teaching of creationism and discriminating against non-Christians and followers of a number of other religions.
Creationism refers to the belief that life was created by God. Evolution, which is accepted by most scientists, contends that life developed from more primitive forms and was dictated by natural selection. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that creationism could not be taught in public schools alongside evolution. The Georgia school board, which introduced the stickers at the behest of hundreds of parents, many of them religious conservatives, contended that the stickers only advised students to keep an open mind.
The board's lawyer was not immediately available for comment on Thursday. The federal ruling came about two months after the re-election of President Bush, who won the overwhelming support of religious conservatives with his stands against gay marriage and abortion.
The Cobb County case also evoked memories of the 1925 "Monkey Trial" of John Scopes, a Tennessee biology teacher who was found guilty of illegally teaching evolution.

Aux USA, le lobby néo-conservateur et sa base populaire chrétienne supportant une interprétation littérale de la Bible, engagent des actions pour obliger les écoles à présenter sur un pied d’égalité le créationnisme ou son équivalent en habit pseudo-scientifique, « l’Intelligent Design », et la théorie de l’Evolution. Leur argument principal est que la théorie de l’Evolution n’est… qu’une théorie.
C’est oublier bien vite qu’une théorie scientifique n’est pas qu’une suite d’affirmations sans fondement, pas plus qu’une maison n’est un tas de pierres. Une théorie scientifique ne peut pas être contredite par des faits connus, et doit au contraire en rendre compte. Elle doit aussi amener de nouvelles prédictions susceptibles de confirmer ou d’infirmer ses affirmations, sous peine d’inutilité. Ce n’est pas le cas du créationnisme ni de l’ID, qui ne peuvent pas rendre compte des mutations génétiques observables au niveau microbiologique et est dans l’incapacité totale d’apporter de nouvelles prédictions susceptibles de les contredire, tout événement pouvant être expliqué par l’intervention de « Dieu », d’une « intelligence supérieure », etc.

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