Despite the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial,” it was not until much later that a formal approach to teaching evolution was outlined. The general rule, set down in the 1987 U.S. Supreme Court case of Edwards v. Aguillard is that evolution must only be taught as scientific fact. Creationism may not be taught as a science. Moreover, the Court struck down a law requiring both theories to be taught side by side in public schools. In Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board Of Educ. (cert. denied 2000), the appellate court struck down a Louisiana school board rule mandating that teachers read a disclaimer to students stating that the teaching of evolution was “not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation or any other concept.”
In the Aguillard case (above), the high court offered some guidance, by stating that “teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.” In the 1990s, some teachers and school boards began telling students (by presenting only scientific evidence that supported it) about the scientific theory of “Intelligent Design.” This theory, vouched for by many world-renowned scientists, does not displace Darwinism’s focus on evolution, but rather adds to it the scientific theory of an organized, planned, and designed evolution far too complex for coincidence or happenstance. Critics have belittled Intelligent Design as merely a veiled teaching of creationism, but legal scholars believe its scientific basis and arguments actually fulfill the Supreme Court’s mandate. As of2005, the constitutionality of teaching a scientific theory of Intelligent Design had not come before the high court.