Embedding Evolution

The Epperson case struck down Scopes-type antievolution laws partly because religious bias was indicated by the singling out of evolution among all other scientific topics. Other cases dealing with the creationism issue have similarly noted that singling out evolution implies religious purpose or endorsement of religion; as a result, creationists are experimenting with "embedding" evolution in a list of scientific topics to be treated "critically." Then, when the policy is actually implemented, only evolution among the laundry list of scientific topics is singled out for this special treatment. For example, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, an antievolution policy failed to pass the school board in 2002. The fallback policy that the majority of school board members could agree on promoted critical thinking and was not specific to evolution—but discussions at the school board as well as letters to the editor made it clear that evolution was the policy that was most likely to be treated critically (Hardy 2002).

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