Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Caldwell Loses Suit

The endlessly litigious Larry Caldwell has lost his lawsuit against the Roseville school district in California. Caldwell’s suit claimed that the school board violated his constitutional rights by not giving due consideration to his proposals to put anti-evolution material into science classes. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the school district, which is pretty much a thorough smackdown.

Here are the basic facts: Caldwell wanted the board to use a bunch of supplemental materials – do I really need to point out that those materials were all of the standard anti-evolution arguments that creationists/IDers have been peddling all along? – in their classes along with the usual biology textbooks. He absolutely bombarded the school board with emails, phone calls, written requests and other contacts over the course of several months.

Caldwell filed complaint after complaint about the school board not putting his demands on the agenda for a vote. On June 1, 2004, the school board considered the proposal, took a vote and rejected it 3-2. As far as the court was concerned, that was the end of it. Caldwell filed suit anyway, as if he had some right to be agreed with by the school board.

He also tried the same thing the state board of education in Texas tried, claiming that there were errors of fact in the Holt biology textbook that the school adopted for use in biology classes in 2003. He sent the board a report written by Cornelius Hunter detailing what he claimed were inaccuracies – again, the same long-discredited arguments used by creationists/IDers for years – in that textbook. The school rejected his analysis.

The school went through all the supplemental material Caldwell proposed, had actual scientists review them and find them to be nonsense. The science teachers at the school voted unanimously not to use them. The school board rejected it. End of discussion. Caldwell had every chance to make his case and they didn’t buy it. The bottom line is this: Caldwell made himself a huge pain in the ass and didn’t get his way, so he threw a hissy fit and filed a lawsuit that the court rightly dismissed.


  1. #1 Joshua Zelinsky
    September 11, 2007

    There’s an error on the Panda’s Thumb summary. It says “by giving due consideration to his proposals” which should be “by not giving giving” as it is here.

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