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At issue in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) was whether a Louisiana statute titled “Balanced Treatment Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Institutions Act” was unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from making laws respecting an establishment of religion. This “Creationism Act,” as it was called, was a mandate forbidding the teaching of the theory of evolution in public schools unless accompanied by the teaching of creation science.

The legislative purpose of Louisiana's Creationism Act was to focus attention on certain areas of science instruction related to the creation of mankind. The U.S. Supreme Court examined whether this statute advanced academic freedom, provided teachers with new authority, promoted fairness, or maximized the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of science ...

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