Evolution Statute Law and Legal Definition

Evolution statute is a legislative enactment forbidding the teaching of evolution in schools. According to the statute it was unlawful for any teacher to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

However, these statutes were declared unconstitutional by the U.S Supreme Court in Epperson v. Ark., 393 U.S. 97, 104 (U.S. 1968) In this case the Court reviewed an Arkansas statute that made it unlawful for an instructor to teach evolution or to use a textbook that referred to this scientific theory. After reviewing the history of antievolution statutes, the Court determined that “there can be no doubt that the motivation for the Arkansas law was the same as other anti-evolution statutes: to suppress the teaching of a theory which, it was thought, 'denied' the divine creation of man”.

“There can be no legitimate state interest in protecting particular religions from scientific views "distasteful to them. The First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or Evolution statute are also referred to as Anti-evolution Statutes”. [Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 584 (U.S. 1987)].

In the state of Tennesse, ‘Tennesse Anti-evolution statute of 1925’ was enacted to prohibit teaching of the evolution theory in all the Universities. Normals and all other public schools of Tennessee, which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State must follow the directions in the Act. Penalties are provided for violation.