Textbook Evolution Disclaimers Under Scrutiny

Montgomery, AL – Governor Riley says he sees no problem with an evolution disclaimer used in Alabama science textbooks. The issue came to the attention of state education officials after a federal judge in Georgia ruled against a similar disclaimer in textbooks in that state. But State Schools Superintendent Joe Morton agrees with the Governor that the ruling will not affect Alabama's disclaimer. Morton says Alabama's nine-paragraph disclaimer is much broader than the three-sentence statement used in Georgia. He says Alabama's disclaimer has been in textbooks since 1995 without being challenged in court. The Alabama disclaimer describes evolution as a controversial theory in the first paragraph. It says in the second paragraph that any statement about the origin of life is not fact. In his ruling earlier this week, Federal Judge Clarence Cooper ordered Cobb County officials to immediately remove stickers that call evolution a theory, not a fact. The judge said the sticker is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.