Deconstructing the Alabama disclaimer with students: A powerful lesson in evolution, politics, and persuasion

Patricia H. Hawley, Rachael K. Phillips

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The present chapter deconstructs the disclaimers-warning the reader about evolution-pasted into the front covers of science textbooks in Alabama. By now one might think that the disclaimer rhetoric should fall on deaf ears. However, such depictions have worked their way into the national psyche and that the misconceptions contained within them are commonly held by university biology majors. We deconstruct the rhetoric in such a way that presents the exercise as a useful pedagogical tool for changing attitudes about evolution, increasing knowledge about the nature of science, and enhancing understanding the anti-evolutionist “movements” singular by dropping the final ‘s’. We close by summarizing the present state of affairs in Alabama regarding disclaimers and issuing a call to action. A warning label may not seem like much … What it does do is damage a child's perception of a widely accepted explanation for the diversity of life on this planet. Unfortunately, even getting rid of the sticker will not cure the internal problems exposed by this debate. And we all know that stickers are never easy to remove entirely.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolution Education in the American South
Subtitle of host publicationCulture, Politics, and Resources in and around Alabama
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781349951390
ISBN (Print)9781349951383
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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