Act 590 of 1981
Wendell Bird, a graduate of Yale Law School, penned a draft resolution for
the Institute for Creation Research. The ICR printed and distributed thousands
of copies, with the advice that the resolution was intended to be used at the
level of local school boards. Paul Ellwanger (Founder of the South Carolina
group, Citizens for Fairness in Education) modified this draft resolution and
distributed it, but with the intent of having it passed as law by states.
Although Ellwanger's draft bill was proposed in many states, it only passed in
one: Arkansas. There, it followed a path from Ellwanger to a minister, W. A.
Blount, to an Arkansas state legislator, James L. Holsted. Introduced late in the
legislative session, Act 590 was quickly moved through the Senate and then the
House with little discussion. Act 590 was signed into law by Governor Frank
White about a week after its introduction in the Senate ([TAE]).
Follow this link to the
draft resolution by Wendell Bird. Note the similarities between the
"Clarifications" and "Finding of facts" sections of Act 590
to Bird's resolution.
Follow this link to an
earlier school board proposal written by Paul Ellwanger for an Anderson, South
Carolina school district (scroll down). Note that this link leads to a page that
contains several short articles written about the efforts of Mr. Ellwanger.
"AN ACT TO REQUIRE BALANCED TREATMENT OF CREATION-SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION-SCIENCE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS; TO PROTECT ACADEMIC FREEDOM BY PROVIDING STUDENT CHOICE; TO ENSURE FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS EXERCISE; TO GUARANTEE FREEDOM OF BELIEF AND SPEECH; TO PREVENT ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION; TO PROHIBIT RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION CONCERNING ORIGINS; TO BAR DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF CREATIONISTS OR EVOLUTIONIST BELIEF; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS; TO DECLARE THE LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE AND LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS OF FACT; TO PROVIDE FOR SEVERABILITY OF PROVISIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR REPEAL OF CONTRARY LAWS; AND TO SET FORTH AN EFFECTIVE DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS:
Requirement for Balanced Treatment. Public schools within this State shall give balanced treatment to creation-science and to evolution-science. Balanced treatment to these two models shall be given in classroom lectures taken as a whole for each course, in textbook materials taken as a whole for each course, in library materials taken as a whole for the sciences and taken as a whole for the humanities, and in other educational programs in public schools, to the extent that such lectures, textbooks, library materials, or educational programs
deal in any way with the subject of the origin of man, life, the earth, or the universe.
Prohibition against Religious Instruction. Treatment of either evolution-science or creation-science shall be limited to scientific evidences for each model and inferences from those scientific evidences, and must not include any religious instruction or references to religious writings.
Requirement for Nondiscrimination. Public schools within this State, or their personnel, shall not discriminate, by reducing a grade of a student or by singling out and making public criticism, against any student who demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of both evolution-science and creation-science and who accepts or rejects either model in whole or part.
Definitions. As used in this Act:
(a) "Creation-science" means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences. creation-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Sudden creation of the universe, energy, and life from nothing; (2) The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism; (3) Changes only within fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals; (4) Separate ancestry for man and apes; (5) Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of a worldwide flood; and (6) A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds.
(b) "Evolution-science" means the scientific evidences for evolution and inferences from those scientific evidences. Evolution-science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate: (1) Emergence by naturalistic processes of the
universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife; (2) The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; (3) Emergency [sic] by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds; (4) Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes; (3) Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and (6) An inception several billion years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life.
(c) "Public schools" mean public secondary and elementary schools.
Clarifications. This Act does not require or permit instruction in any religious doctrine or materials. This Act does not require any instruction in the subject of origins, but simply requires instruction in both scientific models (of evolution-science and creation-science) if public schools choose to teach either. This Act does not require each individual textbook or library book to give balanced treatment to the models of evolution-science and creation-science; it does not require any school books to be discarded. This Act does not require
each individual classroom lecture in a course to give such balanced treatment, but simply requires the lectures as a whole to give balanced treatment; it permits some lectures to present evolution-science and other lectures to present creation-science.
Legislative Declaration of Purpose. This Legislature enacts this Act for public schools with the purpose of protecting academic freedom for students' differing values and beliefs; ensuring neutrality toward students' diverse religious convictions; ensuring freedom of religious exercise for students and their parents; guaranteeing freedom of belief and speech for students; preventing establishment of Theologically Liberal, Humanist, Nontheist, or Atheist religions; preventing discrimination against students on the basis of their personal beliefs concerning creation and evolution; and assisting students in their search for truth. This Legislature does not have the purpose of causing
instruction in religious concepts or making an establishment of religion.
Legislative Findings of Fact. This Legislature finds that:
(a) The subject of the origin of the universe, earth, life, and man is treated within many public school courses, such as biology, life science, anthropology, sociology, and often also in physics, chemistry, world history, philosophy, and social studies.
(b) Only evolution-science is presented to students in virtually all of those courses that discuss the subject of origins. Public schools generally censor creation-science and evidence contrary to evolution.
(c) Evolution-science is not an unquestionable fact of science, because evolution cannot be experimentally observed, fully verified, or logically falsified, and because evolution-science is not accepted by some scientists.
(d) Evolution-science is contrary to the religious convictions or moral values or philosophical beliefs of many students and parents, including individuals of many different religious faiths and with diverse moral values and philosophical beliefs.
(e) Public school presentation of only evolution-science without any alternative model of origins abridges the United States Constitution's protections of freedom of religious exercise and of freedom of belief and speech for students and parents, because it undermines their religious convictions and moral or philosophical values, compels their unconscionable professions of belief, and hinders religious training and moral training by parents.
(f) Public school presentation of only evolution-science furthermore abridges the Constitution's prohibition against establishment of religion, because it produces hostility toward many Theistic religions and brings preference to Theological Liberalism, Humanism, Nontheistic religions, and Atheism, in that these religious faiths general include a religious belief in evolution.
(g) Public school instruction in only evolution-science also violates the principle of academic freedom, because it denies students a choice between scientific models and instead indoctrinates them in evolution-science alone.
(h) Presentation of only one model rather than alternative scientific models of origins is not required by any compelling interest of the State, and exemption of such students from a course or class presenting only evolution-science does not provide an adequate remedy because of teacher influence and student pressure to remain in that course or class.
(i) Attendance of those students who are at public schools is compelled by law, and school taxes from their parents and other citizens are mandated by law.
(j) Creation-science is an alternative scientific model of origins and can be presented from a strictly scientific standpoint without any religious doctrine just as evolution-science can, because there are scientists who conclude that scientific data best support creation-science and because scientific evidences and inferences have been presented for creation-science.
(k) Public school presentation of both evolution-science and creation-science would not violate the Constitution's prohibition against establishment of religion, because it would involve presentation of the scientific evidences and related inferences for each model rather than any religious instruction.
(l) Most citizens, whatever their religious beliefs about origins, favor balanced treatment in public schools of alternative scientific models of origins for better guiding students in their search for knowledge, and they favor a neutral approach toward subjects affecting the religious and moral and philosophical convictions of students.
Short Title. This Act shall be known as the "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act."
Severability of Provisions. If any provision of this Act is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions that can be applied in the absence of the invalidated provisions, and the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.
Repeal of Contrary Laws. All State laws or parts of State laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.
Effective Date. The requirements of the Act shall be met by and may be met before the beginning of the next school year if that is more than six months from the date of enactment, or otherwise one year after the beginning of the next school year, and in all subsequent school years.