Remember how Arkansas passed a law similar to Tennessee’s Butler Act in the wake of the Scopes trial? That law prohibited teaching evolutionary biology to students. In 1967, the Supreme Court struck down that Arkansas law in its Epperson v. Arkansas decision. Then, in 1981 Arkansas passed Act 590, a “balanced treatment” law that would have required teachers to present “creation science” whenever they presented evolutionary biology. A federal district court decision in McLean v. Arkansas by Judge William Overton ruled Act 590 as unconstitutional.
After the Kitzmiller v. DASD case last year, several of us who watch these things thought that “intelligent design” had had its McLean case in KvD, but that it had yet to have its Edwards case, that is, a case that would take the issue of teaching “intelligent design” as science to the Supreme Court and get a ruling that was binding across the country.
The news article linked up at the top of this post shows that Arkansas is aiming to again spend more of their taxpayer dollars in litigation over religiously motivated antievolution. Both the major party candidates for governor are saying that teachers should have the “academic freedom” to teach students about “intelligent design”.
So far as I can see, these folks haven’t gotten the memo that “intelligent design” is a label past its sell-by date. If Arkansas adopts a “maybe teach ID, maybe don’t” policy, we can expect another big legal case. And it doesn’t look like a winner for Arkansas this time, either. The KvD trial and decision show exactly how this can be approached. I don’t expect the Discovery Institute’s A-team to be any more ready to testify under oath for Arkansas than they were for Dover, Pennsylvania, and I doubt that those who did show up to testify will want a second helping of cross-examination. That will leave Arkansas with calling a bunch of second-string ID advocates as experts. I think we can be confident that many of the pro-science experts from the KvD case will answer the call to appear in Arkansas if this proceeds within the next few years. The ID advocates were seriously overmatched in KvD, and I don’t see things getting any better for them in Arkansas.
There are some nice places to visit in Arkansas within a couple of hours drive from Little Rock. I think I’ll go visit my AAA office and pick up some maps and tour books.