Cobb County, GA Removing Evolution Stickers

After losing a court case over the stickers noting that evolution is “just a theory”, the stickers are now being removed.

MARIETTA, Ga. — Workers in Cobb County have begun removing controversial evolution disclaimer stickers from science textbooks to comply with a judge’s order.

By the end of the day Monday, several thousand stickers, which said evolution was a theory and not a fact, had been scraped off. The school district had put 34,452 stickers on textbooks across the county.

The evolution disclaimers read: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

Actually the stickers were also scientifically inaccurate. Evolution is a fact. Organisms change over time (mutations). Further, evolution and evolutionary theory is about diversity of life, not its origins. Shame on the school system, which appealing the earlier ruling, for promoting such junk science.

FILED UNDER: Education
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. whatever says:

    Since evolution is a fact, that is why scientists have created new species in the lab with organisms that have quick reproductive cycles.

    Oh wait, they haven’t done that have they? Just created the same species with different variations (mutations). But not new species.

    And since science has not been able to reproduce new species, Evolution is a theory, even if I happen to agree with you on it use in speciation, if not origin. But since science has not proven it, then theory has problems and cannot be positioned as “fact”.

  2. Hal says:

    WTF?

  3. melvin toast says:

    Uh no. The darwin theory of evolution asserts that new species come about when a mutation results in some advantage that natural selection favors.
    This has never been observed.

    Mutations are a fact I’ll grant you that. But that’s not the same thing as saying the diversity of living things is a result of mutations.

    If you’re still reading, here’s a question. One of the things that distinguishes two species is the fact that they do not naturally reproduce, i.e. cats and dogs don’t reproduce. If mutations cause new species to be created, how does the new specie reproduce? Or if it can reproduce with the old specie for a time, what causes it to break off at some point? Mutations don’t generally occur in pairs.

  4. Cornfields says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for standing up on this one. It used to be that there were many vocal Republicans at the annual meetings of the Optical Society of America… (one of the leading Physics gatherings in the world) this past year, it was practically like going to the Democratic convention… they are still basically conservative… its not the people who changed… this is not the so-called liberal academy… its just that many cannot stomach this anti-evolution ignorance. It has absolutely nothing to do with God. Darwin was a Christian. The entire science field absolutely believes in evolution. There is no debate. And by the way, the Earth is more than 4000 years old, and the Grand Canyon was created by erosion over millions of years. Really, its not so much a biology class that these people need, it’s a math class. They simply do not understand the implications of very large numbers, and I am afraid that they wont be taught, so the only thing to do is speak up. We cannot abandon the Republican Party to the ignorant.

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Hal,

    I’m hoping that WTF is in regards to ‘whatever’ and not me.

    whatever,

    Sorry, new species have been observed in the field and in the lab.

    Melvin Toast,

    Species is a man-made term. As such it is not perfect and it shouldn’t be surprising that there is “fuzziness’ at the borders. Oh, and there is more than one definition of species. For example there is a definition that relies on the morphology of fossils, IIRC.

    Cornfield,

    I know what how you feel. This is a weird issue. Basically many see me as conservative, but on this issue I find myself lined up with many liberals. Oh well, my view is “follow the science” not the ideology.

  6. If you broadly define “evolution” then, yes, it’s a fact. But that is not what the disclaimer was referring to and any moron would know that.

    If you broadly define “species” then speciation happens all the time, yet any moron would know that defining it the way evolutionists do to squeeze in their rationalizations is neither scientific nor logical. Evolutionists define virtually identical animals separated by geographic boundaries as separate species. A very convenient way of then claiming “speciation” has occured.

  7. Anderson says:

    This country has very little hope if morons like these commenters are remotely representative of our educated class.

    We have got to break the grip of local know-nothing schoolboards & get a national curriculum written by experts in the various disciplines, so that 4th-graders on up are learning about natural selection, etc.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    If you broadly define “evolution” then, yes, it’s a fact. But that is not what the disclaimer was referring to and any moron would know that.

    I beg to differ. We are talking about high school students not college graduates.

    If you broadly define “species” then speciation happens all the time, yet any moron would know that defining it the way evolutionists do to squeeze in their rationalizations is neither scientific nor logical.

    Can you elaborate on this? I doubt you can, but I have my hopes.

    Evolutionists define virtually identical animals separated by geographic boundaries as separate species. A very convenient way of then claiming “speciation” has occured.

    Can you cite at least one example of this? More would be better, but one would at least get the ball rolling.

  9. melvin toast says:

    Steve, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. “Species is man-made term” ? Cite me a term that isn’t man made. Is evolution a term whose origins are in the creator?

    When the great evolutionist DARWIN, wrote the ORIGIN of SPECIES, species referred to groups of animals capable of interbreeding. Indeed Ernst Mayr uses the same definition and stipulates that they are reproductively isolated.

    The evolution of a new specie as defined above has never been observed.

  10. Steve Verdon says:

    Melvin,

    You are begining to get a glimmering of the dishonesty of the creationists, but I’m not sure if you are willing to follow it through to the end.

    Species is a concept created by man (as is evolution and evolutionary theory). Hence it is an imprecise thing compared to what we actually observe in reality.

    The evolution of a new specie as defined above has never been observed.

    No, you are mistaken, there is more than one definition as I have already noted. This Talk Origins FAQ shows that I do indeed seem to be more up to date on the concepts of speciation than you. Note definition 2.3 The Phenetic (or Morphological) Species Concept. As for instances of speciation we have the following example:

    5.1.1.1 Evening Primrose (Oenothera gigas)

    While studying the genetics of the evening primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, de Vries (1905) found an unusual variant among his plants. O. lamarckiana has a chromosome number of 2N = 14. The variant had a chromosome number of 2N = 28. He found that he was unable to breed this variant with O. lamarckiana. He named this new species O. gigas.

    Then there is also this example,

    Three species of wildflowers called goatsbeards were introduced to the United States from Europe shortly after the turn of the century. Within a few decades their populations expanded and began to encounter one another in the American West. Whenever mixed populations occurred, the specied interbred (hybridizing) producing sterile hybrid offspring. Suddenly, in the late forties two new species of goatsbeard appeared near Pullman, Washington. Although the new species were similar in appearance to the hybrids, they produced fertile offspring. The evolutionary process had created a separate species that could reproduce but not mate with the goatsbeard plants from which it had evolved.

    Then there is also this example,

    A new species of mosquito, the molestus form isolated in London’s Underground, has speciated from Culex pipiens (Byrne and Nichols 1999; Nuttall 1998).

    Your comments are entirely without merit.

  11. Melvin, what Steve means ( assuming he forgives me for putting words in his mouth ) when he says that species is a man-made term, is that “species” really doesn’t have a single, black and white definition. There is no hard and fast boundary in nature that the term describes. Indeed, biologists actually use several varying definitions. Don’t get me started on the problems caused by the adoption of this amorphous concept by the Endangered Species Act.

    Further, nature doesn’t seem to really like black and white definitions. Some “species” do not reproduce across our artificial “species” boundary because of genetic incompatibility, some merely because of behaviorial ( e.g., wolves, dogs and coyotes ).

    So it is really not true to pretend that there is some form of natural selection of characteristics “within” a species but not one that leaps over this species boundary you have in your mind.

    Evolution through the mechanism of natural selection ( or the other mechanism of sexual selection ) operates to cause variation of genes. There is no painted line on the gym floor when that drift suddenly becomes a new species.

    Your understanding of what is a “species” is your impediment to understanding how evolution really works.

  12. melvin toast says:

    Interesting examples Steven. I admit that I was unaware of such examples. However it does not force one to say that humans and apes have a common ancestor. Evolution and creationism aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Now you can choose whatever definition you like for what a specie is, but the meat of the issue is whether human beings share a common ancestor with primates. Even if you can create a new wild flower that doesn’t breed with it’s ancestor, you haven’t shown that humans definitively share origins with apes.

  13. Bruce says:

    Quite simply natural selection is NOT evolution. Scientists will talk about micro-evolution versus macro-evolution. The term micro-evolution refers to variation within living things of the same “kind”… We can talk about what this means and what “species” means until we’re blue in the face. The deal is, a dog is a dog is a dog – whether a wolf, or Rover the poodle – these are dogs. They can lose the ability to interbreed, but that is due to loss of information…. read on.

    The bottom line is that natural selection occurs because God gave His creation in life the ability to ADAPT – and this is through genetic variation – specifically and only involving the LOSS of information – there is NEVER a GAIN of new information.

    Macro-evolution is entirely different! This is the fairy-tale process of one animal turning into another – and is quite ridiculous – you can look at fossils, viruses, etc. – there is NO PROOF of one animal morphing into another.

    Mutations can occur – yes. But these are destructive to living things… in the case of bacteria/virus strains “becoming resistant” and thereby showing evolution as fact – no; these are minute changes in the genetic sequencing that prevent whatever treatment being given from latching onto the virus/bacteria. Too much to write here but I suggest reading up on it more.

    God’s creation is awesome, and the study of it through science is wonderful!! Refrain from getting caught up in worshiping the creation and instead worship the CREATOR!!!

  14. No, Bruce, the distinction between “micro-evolution” and “macro-evolution” is a false one. “Scientists” do not have such a distinction, creationists have attempted to create this distinction in a dishonest attempt to explain away evolution.

    Evolution is just the change in alleles in a population over time. Large time scales result in large changes, small time scales smaller ones. There is no wall of “species” to leap over and make one kind of change qualitatively different than another.

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    Bruce,

    Robin is correct (and not problem with the words you put on my keyboard Robin). The same processes are at work for both macro and micro evolution. It is up to those that think there is an “importance” to this distinction to come up with a reason why the processes in question stop at the species “boundary”. Until then and given all the examples of speciation, I am going to go with the view that the distinction is basically irrelevant (save for perhaps expository purposes) and go with the mainstream view.

  16. Herman Cummings says:

    Pulling the Covers off Cobb County(GA)!!

    The general public thinks that the Cobb County School Board truly tried
    to uphold the opinion of the 2300+ signatures within the county to have
    evolution disclaimer stickers put on their science books, gathered
    by Ms. Marjorie Rogers. However, that is not true. The board agreed to
    exclude expert testimony that would have proven that there is another
    plausible explanation for the 600 million year fossil record.

    Ms. Rogers, and the general public, are also under the impression that
    the defense for the board used all available legal recourses in an
    attempt to win the case. However, the defense agreed to not use
    the line of questioning that would have proven that the exclusive
    teaching of evolution in public school is unconstitutional.

    Why did the board pay the Brock Clay law firm $74,000? Did they
    want to win the case, or just put on a good show? Why did the board
    choose to “close their ears” to expert testimony, not knowing if it would
    help them or not? How much is the board now paying to remove those
    stickers?

    Can evolution be defeated in a court of law? Have certain ethics been
    violated? Consider the below letter, in which no response has been
    received after more than twelve days:

    Forwarded Message:
    Subj: Why didn’t the defense do a better job?
    Date: 5/13/2005 9:57:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time
    From: Ephraim7
    To: lgunn@brockclay.com
    CC: gbrock@brockclay.com, ccallaway@brockclay.com, cclay@brockclay.com, seaves@brockclay.com, kpearson@brockclay.com, ksherrill@brockclay.com, swilcox@brockclay.com

    To: The Brock Clay Law firm
    Attn: Atty. Linwood Gunn

    Dear Sirs:

    At this point, proper introductions are in order. My name is Herman
    Cummings. I am the foremost terrestrial authority on the book of Genesis.
    Until you can disprove that claim, accept it as fact.

    I am the person Atty. Gunn refused to talk to, concerning my contribution
    to the Cobb County “sticker” trial last November. I had earlier sent an
    email predicting how the plaintiff would try the case, and how to avoid
    their pitfalls. I also called twice, offering my testimony, which would
    have swung the judge’s decision in favor of the defense.

    However, both the school board and Atty. Gunn ignored me. I wrote the
    board after the trial predicting (correctly) the outcome weeks before it
    was made known. They were told (as I remember) how foolish they were
    for not supporting a more formidable defense.

    But enough of that. The appeal is now the focal point, and the reputation
    of your law firm is at stake. As reported in the news, the firm was paid
    $74,000 to “lose” the case. Did they “tie your hands”? Or was the
    “game plan” so poorly formulated that it couldn’t win “an easy case”?

    Why was the case “easy”? Because all the defense had to do was two things,
    which were 1) prove that the exclusive teaching of evolution in public
    schools is unconstitutional, and 2) that another plausible explanation exists
    for the 600 million year fossil record. There was also a third object to convey
    to the court (smoking gun), but it would be better to save it for a subsequent
    trial (appeal).

    My point is this. If a person outside the law profession can demonstrate
    to the lower court (using past U.S. Supreme decisions) that evolution is
    unconstitutional, and fails the “Lemon Test”, where is the professionalism
    to be expected for $74,000?

    Did the School board want to lose the case? What was the reason for not having
    the leading expert on the book of Genesis testify? Those “creationist comments”
    made by the supporting witnesses for the defense were both shallow, and harmful.
    Proving that evolution WAS a theory, would have solidified the case for the
    defense.

    So, why did it cost $74,000 to lose the case? Why does the board subject
    itself to paying an additional $200,000 in reimbursement for the plaintiff? Does
    your law firm plan to lose the appeal, using an even weaker argument than what
    was attempted in the original trial? Or shall you hire me as a court consultant
    and retain me as an expert witness?

    Herman Cummings
    Ephraim7@aol.com
    Columbus GA
    (706) 662-2893