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Alabama textbooks to keep evolution warning label. (Around The States).

The Alabama Board of Education has voted to add "disclaimers" on the covers of 40,000 new biology textbooks, warning public school science students about the reliability of evolution.

On Nov. 8, the board approved stickers that tell public school students that evolution is "a controversial theory.... Instructional material associated with controversy should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." The vote was unanimous despite the complaints of the Alabama Academy of Science, which told board members that evolutionary biology is not controversial among nearly all of the world's scientists.

The tactic of using disclaimers to warn students about evolution got its start in Alabama in 1995. Approved by then-Gov. Fob James (R), the policy mandated that labels tell students, "any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact." (James mimicked a monkey at the board meeting in an attempt to deride evolution.)

This year's board vote came after aggressive lobbying from opponents of evolution, including TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum

Neither side was entirely pleased with the new disclaimer. Religious Right activists applauded the fact that it tries to undermine evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, they complained that the anti-evolution language is toned down from its previous incarnation. For example, the new label tells students, "Science includes many theories and studies of scientists' work. The work of Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein, to name a few, has provided a basis of our knowledge of the world today."
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Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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