The documents and essays in this book portray the Arkansas creation-science case, emphasizing its implications for our understanding of the proper relationship between science and society.
The documents include the original "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act" of 1981, the initial briefs of the plaintiffs and defendants in the case that challenged the Act, the opinion of the court written by Judge William Overton, and several pieces of followup legislation and legal opinion.
Essayists include attorneys from the New York firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, who describe why they volunteered their services to the plaintiffs and what special problems they encountered in working with scientists, and several of the expert witnesses and advisors who organized the probing of the nature of science that lay at the heart of the trial.
Sociologist Dorothy Nelkin explores the evolution of creationism from the time of the Scopes trial to the present; theologian Langdon Gilkey examines the interrelation of inquiry and belief; anatomist Joel Cracraft describes the scientific response to creationism; philosophers Michael Ruse and Larry Laudan debate the implications of the definition of science finally adopted by the court; and historian Stephen Brush assesses the possible impact of creationism on education in the physical sciences.
Marcel Chotkowski La Follette - editor of the journal Science, Technology, & Human Values, where much of this material was first collected - has rounded out this case book by adding an introduction, an extensive bibliography, and a review of the media coverage of the trial.
The essays in this volume offer a wide variety of fresh perspectives on the assessment of quality in science and technology. They proceed from the premise that while quantitative measures may be useful for gross assessments, a rounded picture of scientific activity requires qualitative measures that are sensitive to the ethical, conceptual, social, and historical contexts of science. Among the questions they explore are: How do we develop such qualitative measures? Are different measures needed for different groups involved in and affected by scientific work? What are the constraints on quality?
Overall, the book provides a solid base on which the debate over public assessments of science and the development of indicators of quality may proceed.
Contributors include Sissela Bok, Lewis Branscomb, Harvey Brooks, George E. Brown, Jr., Don Fuqua, Orrin G. Hatch, Donald Hornig, Roy MacLeod, Bruce Mazlish, Robert S. Morison, Kenneth Prewitt, Doug Walgren, Peter Weingart, and Daniel Yankelovich.
Marcel Chotkowski La Follette is editor of the journal Science, Technology, & Human Values, in which most of these essays first appeared.