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UGA law professor Ed Larson available to comment on judge’s ruling regarding Cobb County evolution disclaimer

Abstract

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Media advisory

UGA law professor Ed Larson available to comment on judge’s ruling regarding Cobb County evolution disclaimer

Earlier today, a U.S. District judge ruled that a disclaimer referring to evolution as simply a theory and not fact and placed inside Cobb County science textbooks is unconstitutional. In 2002, Cobb County officials placed the disclaimers in three biology textbooks as a result of parents’ complaints that the books provided a view of evolution as fact rather than including it as one of a variety of theories on life’s origins. Followed was a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and another group of Cobb parents. The judge heard the case in November and issued his ruling today.

University of Georgia School of Law professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward J. Larson has commented frequently on this case and in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times predicted this very outcome. “Mixing scientific and religious explanations for origins in a classroom is a bit like mixing apples and oranges in a bowl. It can be done, but they’re still different fruits,” Larson wrote. “A federal judge will decide this . . . for Cobb County. My theory is that the disclaimer will fall – but that’s only my educated guess, not a scientific conclusion.”

Larson is the Talmadge Chair of Law and Russell Professor of American History at UGA and received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. He can be reached via e-mail at edlarson@uga.edu or 310/506-6208.

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