HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Fake Evidence: A Look at Evolutionary Evidence for Over 90 Years in the Court Cases from Scopes to Kitzmiller
Author: Ron Milliner
Publisher: Elm Hill, 2019
Related website(s): http://www.elmhillbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Milliner, Ron. Fake Evidence: A Look at Evolutionary Evidence for Over 90 Years in the Court Cases from Scopes to Kitzmiller (Published in 2019 by Elm Hill Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc.). This book examines the scientific evidence offered in evolution-creation court cases from the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes in 1925 to Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in 2005. The validity of the different types of evidence is tested against the current ideas in the scientific literature. Much of the evidence offered in the past would not be offered in such a case if held today. There are six chapters. The first chapter looks at court evidence in light of the nature of science. Chapter two discusses the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, the first evolution-creation case, in which a hoax like the Piltdown Man was offered as evidence for the proof of evolution. Chapter three moves ahead to the 1960s and considers Epperson v. Arkansas that declared laws forbidding the teaching of evolution as unconstitutional in light of two other court cases decided that decade–Engel v. Vitale that removed state-initiated prayers in the classroom and Abington School District v. Schempp that ruled against a daily Bible reading in school.
Chapters four and five deal with two later court cases–McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education about an Arkansas law that was decided in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas and was limited to that region, and Edwards v. Aguillard which was a similar law passed in Louisiana appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court where the justices declared the teaching of scientific creationism was religious teaching and thus unconstitutional. The final case that is examined in chapter five is Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, where the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania, wanted to see its students become aware of intelligent design, but the judge ruled against it based on the earlier court cases opposing a religious view being taught in public schools. Chapter six closes with a look at some of the views expressed against religion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District and the dangers found in those views. The book also contains four appendices, including one on “The Fruits of Evolution.”
How were these cases similar? Why are evolution cases allowed to stand when the evidence used in the trial is no longer valid? I have known the author, Ron Milliner, since were in college together over forty years ago. He has labored both in the preaching of the gospel and in the public education system, so he is well qualified to deal with these issues. I was especially struck by an observation from Justice Potter Stewart’s ringing dissent in Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), in which he rightfully stated, “A refusal to permit religious exercises thus is seen, not as the realization of state neutrality, but rather as the establishment of a religion of secularism.” With all the facts marshaled by Ron just in Fake Evidence , one would think that even the proponents of evolution could see the fairness of presenting both sides. But as Ron says, “Don’t hold your breath.” And concerning the fruits of evolution, he concludes this book by noting that “Righteous exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).