The chief of science curriculum for the largest school district in Arkansas said in court today that she was forced to write a so-called "creation-science" curriculum for her district that had no scientific foundation and contained religious material.
In the last day of testimony for the plaintiffs in the Arkansas creation trial, Marianne Wilson, science coordinator for the 31,000-student Pulaski County School District, said she found it impossible to write a creation-science curriculum backed by evidence and without religious references.
"I had to come up with something. I told them I couldn't come up with a scientific unit," she said. She testified that she drew up a curriculum that would have science teachers put across just the opinions of creationists.
The plaintiffs have all but closed out their case, which has been to prove that a law passed in Arkansas in March is an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into the public schoools. The American Civil Liberties Union is arguing for the plaintiffs and against the law, which demands that creation-science be taught wherever evolution or its ideas are mentioned in public schools.
The case marks the first time that the teaching of creationism and evolution have been pitted against one another in court.
Creation-science, as defined by the law, holds that the Earth and all the creatures in it were created suddenly and fully formed a very short time ago in the Earth's history.
The state has defended the law on the grounds that creation-science has legitimate scientific evidence to support it.
In a sidelight to the trial, Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark, who is defending the law in court, said today that he has consulted his personal attorney and is now deciding whether to sue television evangelist Pat Robertson for remarks Robertson made on Wednesday morning's broadcast of the "700 Club."
Robertson reportedly called Clark "crooked" and said he was trying to lose the creation trial on purpose, citing as evidence the fact that Clark participated in an ACLU fund-raiser even after it was known that he would stand opposite it in court during the creation trial.
Clark said today that he did not attend any ACLU function, but, when asked to contribute something to an auction for the ACLU Foundation, he offered a luncheon with himself as an auction item.
"I do this kind of thing all the time," he said. "I did it for the VFW Veterans of Foreign Wars and for the American Legion. I did it last year for the ACLU . . . . There's no conflict." Clark said that the local chapter of the Moral Majority supports him in that contention.
Clark is expected to call his first defense witnesses Friday.