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Academic Freedom Essay Contest

December 5, 2008

Academic Freedom on Evolution Student Video and Essay Contest

Click here to download entry form
What this Is
A student video and essay contest inspired by Charles Darwin’s comment that “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” The contest seeks the best student-created videos and essays that  communicate support for academic freedom to explore the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution  (for example, an entry might defend the right of teachers to present scientific evidence that challenges Darwinian evolution, or the right of scientists to conduct research about the theory of intelligent design). Entries will be judged based on their creativity, their accuracy, and their persuasiveness. The contest is sponsored by the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute.

Entry Rules
Essays submitted should be authored by a single student and should be no longer than 2,000 words. They should be formatted as a MS Word file, double-spaced, and in a 12-point font. Essays must be submitted electronically along with the official entry form to by no later than 5:00 pm Pacific Coast time on January 23, 2009. Additional contest rules are posted below.

Videos submitted can be authored by up to 5 students and should be no longer than 5 minutes. Videos can use drama, comedy, satire, animation, and other methods to communicates their message.

youtube.comHow to submit videos:
Via Youtube: Contestants can join the YouTube Group “Academic Freedom Day Video Contest” by going to  Once there you can join the group to upload a video.  Videos will appear on the YouTube  Group “Academic Freedom Day Video Contest” page if they meet the contest requirements.  Additional contest rules are posted below.

Who Is Eligible
Students currently enrolled in high school (grades 9-12) or as a college undergraduate may enter the contest. (High school students include those attending private, public, or home schools.) Essays must be submitted by an individual student, but videos may be submitted by a group of up to 5 students.


The Prizes
One grand-prize winner will be announced and have his or her entry officially unveiled at on Academic Freedom Day, February 12th 2009. The grand-prize winner will be awarded $500, and one essay runner-up and one video runner-up will receive $250. Up to 10 finalists will receive their choice of a free book or DVD.

The Deadline
Entries must be submitted to the YouTube Group “Academic Freedom Day Video Contest” at, by the end of business on January 23, 2009.

The Judges
Finalists will be selected by the staff of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Selection of the grand prize winner and two runners-up will be by a distinguished panel of judges that includes biochemist Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution; mathematician and philosopher William Dembski, author of The Design Inference and The Design Revolution; astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, co-author of The Privileged Planet; biologist Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design; and law professor Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance.

Additional Contest Rules

  1. A student may submit only one entry (a video or an essay).
  2. All entries must include an official contest entry form, signed and dated.
  3. All student entrants under 18 must have their parents sign the permission section of the entry form. All onscreen participants in videos must sign (or have their parents sign) the permission section of the entry form.
  4. By submitting an entry, students (and/or their parents) are giving permission for their entry and their names to be publicized by Discovery Institute, including the posting of winning entries on the website, the YouTube “Academic Freedom Day Video Contest” page, and the public recognition of winning entrants on Discovery Institute-related blogs and websites.
  5. Essays and videos submitted for the contest must be the original work of the student(s) entering the contest. Furthermore, video entries must not violate applicable copyright laws and only use images and audio that are in the public domain (or images and audio that the student has the legal right to use).
  6. Entries cannot be returned.

Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to

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