Epperson V Arkansas

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Epperson V. Arkansas How did human beings come into this world? Did God create man and woman (creationism), as told in the Bible, or did humans evolve from apes (evolution)? The previous two questions have no bearing at all on the Supreme Court case, but some believed that was what Susan Epperson was attempting to prove. In fact, Mrs. Epperson was trying to get an antievolution law passed in 1928 changed. According to the Arkansas Statutes Annual of 1929, section 80-1627 prohibited the "Doctrine of Ascent or Descent of Man From Lower Order of Animals." The law made it illegal for any teacher: in any university, college, normal, public school, or other institution of the state, which is supported in whole or in part from public funds derived by state and local taxation, to teach the theory or doctrine that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals….

Any teacher or other instructor or textbook commissioner who is found guilty of violations of this act…shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars and upon conviction shall vacate the position thus held in any educational institution above mentioned. (32, Thorndike) In a written statement to the press, Epperson said: "I do not try to teach my students what to think, I try to teach them how to think, how to make sound judgments…It is my responsibility to expose my students to and encourage them to seek after as much of the accumulated scientific knowledge and theories as possible. To leave out evolution is really short changing your students." On December 6, 1965 Eugene R. Warren, lawyer for the Arkansas Education Association, filed in the Pulaski County Chancery Court that the Arkansas antievolution law violated state and federal constitutions. Arkansas attorney...