A federal judge struck down an Arkansas law that could have led the way for schools across the nation to be compelled to teach biblical-style creation theories as science.
Judge William Overton ruled that the state's ''creation science'' law, pushed through by religious fundamentalists last summer, violated the constitutional ban on religious teaching in public schools.
The ruling, after a historic nine-day court case last month that echoed the 1925 Scopes monkey trial, dealt a blow to similar laws pending in at least 16 other states and one other already in force, in Louisiana.
The law would have required science teachers to give ''equal balance'' to evolution, the accepted view that man evolved over millions of years, and the creationist view that a supernatural being created life as recently as 6,000 years ago.
State Attorney General Steve Clark, who defended the law, said in advance he would appeal if the state lost.