The supervisor of science teaching for the Little Rock schools said today he could not implement the Arkansas creation law in the public schools because it would be impossible to do so without teaching religion.
Dennis Glasgow testified in the third day of testimony for the plaintiffs in the Arkansas creation trial. They are seeking to strike down a newly passed law that mandates the teaching of so-called "creation-science" in schools wherever evolution is taught.
The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, are suggesting that the law is an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into public schools.
"I don't think I can implement the teaching of Act 590 in the Little Rock school district," Glasgow said. It would require having teachers make religious references in science classes, he said, and "I object strenuously to including religion in science class."
He said that to implement the act he would have to uproot curriculum from the kindergarten level to senior high school level.
He also said the only material available for teaching creation science comes from creationist organizations and is filled with religious references.
Asked if there was curriculum material of a "science nature that would be acceptable" in the teaching of creation science, he said, "I have found none whatsoever that would be suitable."
The teaching of creation science in public school could be "very damaging" to students, especially at the lower grades, he said.
Glasgow said the law was vague on how creation science might be taught and what teachers would be allowed to say. But he said the act, as he interprets it, would not allow teachers to voice a professional judgment that creation science is not science.
"If the teacher said, 'This is science referring to evolution and this is something else, I don't agree with this'--that would not be allowed," Glasgow said.
Plaintiffs in the trial have been seeking to show through the testimony of theologians, scientists and now Arkansas educators that creation science is actually a form of religious apologetics for some fundamentalist Christians.
Teaching religion in public school has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The state's defense contends in part that the law itself prohibits teaching religious ideas or using religious writings.
The attorney general of Arkansas, Steve Clark, has said that creation science is at least as scientific as evolution and that evolution is at least as speculative as creation science.