Statements from Scientific and Scholarly Organizations

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Statements added since the 3rd edition are denoted with a *

Alabama Academy of Science

The Executive Committee of the Alabama Academy of Science hereby records its opposition to legislation to introduce "scientific creationism" into the Alabama classroom. Furthermore, the Executive Committee of the Alabama Academy of Science believes that the introduction of classroom subject content through the political process not only violates the academic freedom of the subject specialist to determine relevant and scientifically sound concepts, but also represents an inappropriate and potentially dangerous precedent for American education.

American Academy of Religion *

Can creation science or intelligent design be taught in schools?

Yes, but not in science classes. Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. Creation science, intelligent design, and other worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature or social sciences courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others.

American Anthropological Association (1980)

Whereas evolutionary theory is the indispensable foundation for the understanding of physical anthropology and biology;

Whereas evolution is a basic component of many aspects of archeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics;

Whereas evolution is a basic component of allied disciplines such as the earth sciences and a cornerstone of 20thcentury science in general;

Whereas a century of scientific research has confirmed the reality of evolution as a historical process, and the concept of evolution, in all its diversity, has explained the scientifically known evidence and successfully predicted fruitful paths of further research; and

Whereas local and national campaigns by socalled scientific Creationists and other antievolutionists nevertheless challenge the right of public schools to teach evolutionary theory without giving scientific credence or equal time to Creationist and other antievolutionist explanations of the origin and development of life;

Be it moved that the American Anthropological Association affirms the necessity of teaching evolution as the best scientific explanation of human and nonhuman biology and the key to understanding the origin and development of life, because the principles of evolution have been tested repeatedly and found to be valid according to scientific criteria;

The Association respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those which reject evolution, as matters of theology or faith but not as tenets of secular science;

Efforts to require teaching Creationism in science classes, whether exclusively, as a component of science curricula, or in equaltime counterpoint to evolution, are not based on science but rather are attempts to promote unscientific viewpoints in the name of science without basis in the record of scientific research by generations of anthropologists and other scholars;

The subject of life origins is addressed in tremendous diversity among the world's religions, and efforts to promote particular Judeo-Christian creation accounts in public schools are ethnocentric as well as unscientific.

Be it further moved that the Association shall communicate this motion upon passage to the public news media, to commissioners of education or equivalent officials in each of the 50 states, and to other officials and organizations deemed appropriate by the Executive Board or Executive Director.

Be it further moved that members of the Association are encouraged to promote these points of professional concern in their home communities among educators, parents, and students and in appropriate public forums beyond the boundaries of traditional, professional, and academic disciplines.

American Anthropological Association (2000)

Affirmation

The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association affirms that:

Evolution is a basic component of many aspects of anthropology (including physical anthropology, archeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics) and is a cornerstone of modern science, being central to biology, geology, and astronomy.

The principles of evolution have been tested repeatedly and found to be valid according to scientific criteria. Evolution should be part of the pre-college curriculum; it is the best scientific explanation of human and nonhuman biology and the key to understanding the origin and development of life.

Religious views are an important part of human cultures, and deserve a place in the pre-college curriculum, provided that they are not presented dogmatically or in a proselytizing context. A comparative, anthropological study of religion would not violate the Constitutional requirement of religious neutrality in the classroom. An anthropological understanding of religion would beelpful in resolving some of the perceived conflict between creationism and evolution.

The Association respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those who reject evolution as matters of theology or faith. Such beliefs should not be presented as science, however.

Teachers, administrators, school board members and others involved in pre-college education are under pressure to teach creationism as science and/or eliminate or downgrade evolution, to the detriment of public scientific literacy. Many succumb to this pressure, for lack of expressed support from scientists and other community members.

Therefore anthropologists are encouraged to use their knowledge both of evolution and of human social and cultural systems to assist communities in which evolution and creationism have become contentious. Anthropologists should help the public and public officials understand that good science education requires that evolution be presented in the same manner as other well-supported scientific theories, without special qualifications or disclaimers, and that an understanding of religion and other cultural systems should be part of the education of each child.

Background Information

Anthropologists study human beings both at the present time and as they were in the past, therefore the creationism and evolution dispute is of particular interest to members of the American Anthropological Association. We are sensitive to social, cultural, religious, and political differences among citizens, and we also appreciate (and contribute to the understanding of) the long evolutionary history of our species. Anthropology's cultural, biological, linguistic, and archaeological perspectives are especially relevant for helping to understand this controversy.

Anthropologists are aware of diversity within cultures, including our own. It is empirically incorrect to describe creation and evolution controversies as simplistic dramas of fundamentalism versus atheism. Evolution is not equivalent to atheism; studies demonstrate that those who accept evolution hold a variety of religious beliefs. Similarly, Christian creationist thought spans a range of positions, from biblical literalism to progressive creationism - and many non-Christian forms of creationism exist among the world's peoples.

In contrast to this diversity of religious views, the single general idea of biological evolution is that species share common ancestors from which they have diverged. There is much debate over the details, but descent with modification itself is no longer debated by scholars. As the National Academy of Sciences has said,
The scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming. Those opposed to the teaching of evolution sometimes use quotations from prominent scientists out of context to claim that scientists do not support evolution. However, examination of the quotations reveals that the scientists are actually disputing some aspect of how evolution occurs, not whether evolution occurred.1
Such debates about the mechanisms and details of evolution are a normal part of the scientific process, and gradually have led to a consensus about the history of life on Earth. The ability to alter explanations when new evidence or theory is encountered is one of the strengths of a scientific way of knowing. Religious or philosophical interpretations should be distinguished from scientific knowledge per se, to the extent that it is possible to delineate such distinctions. Science describes and explains the natural world: it does not prove or disprove beliefs about the supernatural.

The study of the evolution of humans is a scientific enterprise. Good scientific knowledge possesses these features.
  1. it explains natural phenomena in terms of natural laws and processes, without reference to overt or covert supernatural causation;
  2. it is empirically grounded in evidence from observations and experiments; and
  3. it is subject to change as new empirical evidence arises.
Because humans are part of nature, the study of human evolution can be conducted within these parameters.

With these thoughts in mind, the following summarizes a consensus of anthropological judgments regarding human evolution.
  1. The ancestors of humans extend back in time for several million years. This consensus of anthropological judgment is derived from reliable scientific methods that are well accepted in geology, paleontology and archaeology, including (a) a series of absolute dating methods based on radiometric techniques that independently affirm the dates of hominid fossils, plus (b) the stratigraphy-based principles of relative chronology, including superposition, association, and cross-dating. Together these methods constitute our best indicators of the ages of past events.
  2. Human anatomy has changed over time in response to natural selection and other evolutionary processes. This consensus of anthropological judgment is derived from anatomy, paleoanthropology, paleoecology, taphonomy, paleoethnobotany, and related fields.
  3. Human evolution is an on-going process. Our species remains subject to evolutionary mechanisms, including natural selection and non-Darwinian evolution. This consensus is derived from functional anatomical studies as well as discoveries in medicine and medical anthropology.
  4. Humans are more closely related to primates than to other mammals, and within the primates, are more closely related to the African great apes. Our species shares some common ancestors with other primates and mammals. This consensus is derived from primatology, the fossil record, comparative anatomy, and genetics.
  5. Evolutionary assumptions and methods provide persuasive explanations for the great variety of Earth's living things, including human beings. Evolutionary concepts tie together such natural phenomena as genetic diversity, environmental change, adaptation, differential reproductive success, and speciation, thereby making evolution the central organizing principle of the life sciences. This consensus of scientific opinion is derived from biology, geology, paleontology, primatology, and archaeology. As is the case with other scholars, our goals in teaching evolution are to instruct, not to indoctrinate. Anthropologists seek to inculcate a critical understanding of how scientists and other scholars think and work, so that our students will be able to employ anthropological reasoning and methods in their own thinking and research. All students, regardless of religious belief, as a matter of scientific literacy should understand basic principles of anthropology and other sciences relevant to evolution.

References

1. 1999 Science and Creationism. National Academy Press, "Frequently Asked Questions"

Submitted April 29, 2000, by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Evolution:

Francis Harrold, harrold@uta.edu
Eugenie C. Scott, scott@NCSEweb.org
Chris Toumey, toumey@pop.uky.edu
Linda Wolfe, WOLFEL@MAIL.ECU.EDU

American Association for the Advancement of Science (1922)

Inasmuch as the attempt has been made in several states to prohibit in tax-supported institutions the teaching of evolution as applied to man, and

Since it has been asserted that there is not a fact in the universe in support of this theory, that it is a "mere guess" which leading scientists are now abandoning, and that even the American Association for the Advancement of Science at its last meeting in Toronto, Canada, approved this revolt against evolution, and

Inasmuch as such statements have been given wide publicity through the press and are misleading public opinion on this subject,

Therefore, the council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has thought it advisable to take formal action upon this matter, in order that there may be no ground for misunderstanding of the attitude of the association, which is one of the largest scientific bodies in the world, with a membership of more than 11,000 persons, including the American authorities in all branches of science. The following statements represent the position of the council with regard to the theory of evolution.

(1) The council of the association affirms that, so far as the scientific evidences of the evolution of plants and animals and man are concerned, there is no ground whatever for the assertion that these evidences constitute a "mere guess." No scientific generalization is more strongly supported by thoroughly tested evidences than is that of organic evolution.

(2) The council of the association affirms that the evidences in favor of the evolution of man are sufficient to convince every scientist of note in the world, and that these evidences are increasing in number and importance very year.

(3) The council of the association also affirms that the theory of evolution is one of the most potent of the great influences for good that have thus far entered into human experience; it has promoted the progress of knowledge, it has fostered unprejudiced inquiry, and it has served as an invaluable aid in humanity's search for truth in many fields.

4) The council of the association is convinced that any legislation attempting to limit the teaching of any scientific doctrine so well established and so widely accepted by specialists as is the doctrine of evolution would be a profound mistake, which could not fail to injure and retard the advancement of knowledge and of human welfare by denying the freedom of teaching and inquiry which is essential to all progress.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (1972)

Whereas the new Science Framework for California Public Schools prepared by the California State Advisory Committee on Science Education has been revised by the California State Board of Education to include the theory of creation as an alternative to evolutionary theory in discussions of the origins of life, and

Whereas the theory of creation is neither scientifically grounded nor capable of performing the roles required of scientific theories, and

Whereas the requirement that it be included in textbooks as an alternative to evolutionary theory represents a constraint upon the freedom of the science teacher in the classroom, and

Whereas its inclusion also represents dictation by a lay body of what shall be considered within the corpus of a science,

Therefore we, the members of the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, present at the quarterly meeting of October 1972, strongly urge that the California State Board of Education not include reference to the theory of creation in the new Science Framework for California Public Schools and that it adopt the original version prepared by the California State Advisory Committee on Science Education.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (1982)

Whereas it is the responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to preserve the integrity of science, and

Whereas science is a systematic method of investigation based on continuous experimentation, observation, and measurement leading to evolving explanations of natural phenomena, explanations which are continuously open to further testing, and

Whereas evolution fully satisfies these criteria, irrespective of remaining debates concerning its detailed mechanisms, and

Whereas the Association respects the right of people to hold diverse beliefs about creation that do not come within the definitions of science, and

Whereas Creationist groups are imposing beliefs disguised as science upon teachers and students to the detriment and distortion of public education in the United States

Therefore be it resolved that because "Creationist Science" has no scientific validity it should not be taught as science, and further, that the AAAS views legislation requiring "Creationist Science" to be taught in public schools as a real and present threat to the integrity of education and the teaching of science, and

Be it further resolved that the AAAS urges citizens, educational authorities, and legislators to oppose the compulsory inclusion in science education curricula of beliefs that are not amenable to the process of scrutiny, testing, and revision that is indispensable to science.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002)

The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry. It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education. To become informed and responsible citizens in our contemporary technological world, students need to study the theories and empirical evidence central to current scientific understanding.

Over the past several years proponents of so-called "intelligent design theory," also known as ID, have challenged the accepted scientific theory of biological evolution. As part of this effort they have sought to introduce the teaching of "intelligent design theory" into the science curricula of the public schools. The movement presents "intelligent design theory" to the public as a theoretical innovation, supported by scientific evidence, that offers a more adequate explanation for the origin of the diversity of living organisms than the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution. In response to this effort, individual scientists and philosophers of science have provided substantive critiques of "intelligent design," demonstrating significant conceptual flaws in its formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentations of scientific facts.

Recognizing that the "intelligent design theory" represents a challenge to the quality of science education, the Board of Directors of the AAAS unanimously adopts the following resolution:

Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;

Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution;

Whereas, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called "intelligent design theory" makes it improper to include as a part of science education;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of "intelligent design theory" as a part of the science curricula of the public schools;

Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that AAAS calls upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of "intelligent design theory" as subject matter for science education;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government.

American Association for the Advancement of Science Commission on Science Education

The Commission on Science Education of the American Association for the Advancement of Science is vigorously opposed to attempts by some boards of education and other groups to require that religious accounts of creation be taught in science classes.

During the past century and a half, the earth's crust and the fossils preserved in it have been intensively studied by geologists and paleontologists. Biologists have intensively studied the origin, structure, physiology, and genetics of living organisms. The conclusion of these studies is that the living species of animals and plants have evolved from different species that lived in the past. The scientists involved in these studies have built up the body of knowledge known as the biological theory of the origin and evolution of life. There is no currently acceptable alternative scientific theory to explain the phenomena.

The various accounts of creation that are part of the religious heritage of many people are not scientific statements or theories. They are statements that one may choose to believe, but if he does, this is a matter of faith, because such statements are not subject to study or verification by the procedures of science. A scientific statement must be capable of test by observation and experiment. It is acceptable only if, after repeated testing, it is found to account satisfactorily for the phenomena to which it is applied.

Thus the statements about creation that are part of many religions have no place in the domain of science and should not be regarded as reasonable alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin and evolution of life.

American Association of Physical Anthropologists

1. Be it resolved that the American Association of Physical Anthropologists strongly endorses the recent resolution of the American Association for the Advancement of Science condemning the concepts of and teaching of, at public expense, so-called scientific creationism.

2. Whereas the American Association of Physical Anthropologists recognizes the advantages to any society which accrue when its members accept some moral code of behavior, and

Whereas the Association supports the Constitutional provision separating church and state,

Therefore be it resolved that the Association condemns any effort by the state to dictate specific religious instruction to the people, and

Be it further resolved that the Association condemns any effort by the state or any group within the state to restrict the right of all individuals to freedom of religious expression by advancing one religious viewpoint.

3. Whereas the American Association of Physical Anthropologists recognizes that our modern society is based on a high degree of technological and scientific sophistication, and

Whereas the Association realizes that such technology and science can only be sustained if there is continuous advancement in our knowledge of and control over natural phenomena, and

Whereas such continuous advancement can only be sustained if instruction in the current state of knowledge be available to all our citizens, and

Whereas public understanding of our technological society, which will promote the individual's ability to cope and serve, can only be achieved if instruction in the sciences reflects the current content of scientific research,

Be it resolved that the American Association of Physical Anthropologists charges the state with the duty of providing, through the public education system, the people with instruction in the current state of objective knowledge concerning our natural universe.

4. Be it resolved that the Secretary is directed to communicate these three resolutions to as many individuals or organizations as possible who may be concerned with these issues.

American Astronomical Society (2000)

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the largest organization of professional astronomers in the United States. Its 6,000 members are men and women of all convictions and a variety of religious faiths. They work in ALL fields of astronomy, including the study of planets, of stars and of the Universe as a whole. Research in each of these areas, and in many other areas of astronomy, has produced clear, compelling and widely accepted evidence that astronomical objects and systems evolve. That is, their properties change with time, often over very long time scales.

Specifically, the scientific evidence clearly indicates that the Universe is 10 to 15 billion years old, and began in a hot, dense state we call the Big Bang.

Given the ample evidence that change over time is a crucial property of planets, including our own, of stars, of galaxies and of the Universe as a whole, it is important for the nation's school children to learn about the great age of, and changes in, astronomical systems, as well as their present properties.

More generally we believe that it is important to teach students the nature of the scientific method. Scientific inquiry involves the development and testing of hypotheses based on a systematic collection and analysis of data acquired through observations, experiments, and computer simulations. Science is not a collection of facts but an ongoing process, with continual revisions and refinements of concepts necessary in order to arrive at the best current views of the Universe. Science is unified; it is not possible to make use of scientific laws in one context, and then deny them in another. The same laws of science that govern &mash; or empower &mash; our advanced technology also underlie changes in time of astronomical systems. Science is not based on faith, nor does it preclude faith. Whatever personal beliefs teachers, students, parents or administrators may hold, the teaching of important scientific concepts, such as the formation and aging of planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe, should not be altered or constrained in response to demands external to the scientific disciplines.

The astronomical discoveries of the past century, many made by American scientists, are among the great triumphs of the human intellect, and we deeply regret any attempt to ignore them or deny them.

Children whose education is denied the benefits of this expansion of our understanding of the world around us are being deprived of part of their intellectual heritage. They may also be at a competitive disadvantage in a world where scientific and technological literacy is becoming more and more important economically and culturally.

American Astronomical Society (2005)

The American Astronomical Society supports teaching evolution in our nation's K-12 science classes. Evolution is a valid scientific theory for the origin of species that has been repeatedly tested and verified through observation, formulation of testable statements to explain those observations, and controlled experiments or additional observations to find out whether these ideas are right or wrong. A scientific theory is not speculation or a guess — scientific theories are unifying concepts that explain the physical universe.

Astronomical observations show that the Universe is many billions of years old (see the AAS publication, An Ancient Universe), that nuclear reactions in stars have produced the chemical elements over time, and recent observations show that gravity has led to the formation of many planets in our Galaxy. The early history of the solar system is being explored by astronomical observation and by direct visits to solar system objects. Fossils, radiological measurements, and changes in DNA trace the growth of the tree of life on Earth. The theory of evolution, like the theories of gravity, plate tectonics, and Big Bang cosmology, explains, unifies, and predicts natural phenomena. Scientific theories provide a proven framework for improving our understanding of the world.

In recent years, advocates of "Intelligent Design," have proposed teaching "Intelligent Design" as a valid alternative theory for the history of life. Although scientists have vigorous discussions on interpretations for some aspects of evolution, there is widespread agreement on the power of natural selection to shape the emergence of new species. Even if there were no such agreement, "Intelligent Design" fails to meet the basic definition of a scientific idea: its proponents do not present testable hypotheses and do not provide evidence for their views that can be verified or duplicated by subsequent researchers.

Since "Intelligent Design" is not science, it does not belong in the science curriculum of the nation's primary and secondary schools.

The AAS supports the positions taken by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Teachers' Association, the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers on the teaching of evolution. The AAS also supports the National Science Education Standards: they emphasize the importance of scientific methods as well as articulating well-established scientific theories.

A PDF version of this statement with additional resources is available for printing and distribution.

American Astronomical Society

During the past year, religious fundamentalists have intensified their effort to force public school science classes to include instruction in "creationism." As defined in publications of the Institute for Creation Research and in laws passed or under consideration by several state legislatures, this doctrine includes the statement that the entire universe was created relatively recently, i.e. less than 10,000 years ago. This statement contradicts results of astronomical research during the past two centuries indicating that some stars now visible to us were in existence millions or billions of years ago, as well as the results of radiometric dating indicating that the age of the earth is about 4.5 billion years.

The American Astronomical Society does not regard any scientific theory as capable of rigorous proof or immune to possible revision in the light of new evidence. Such evidence should be presented for critical review and confirmation in the appropriate scientific journals. In this case, no such evidence for recent creation of the earth and universe has survived critical scrutiny by the scientific community. It would therefore be most inappropriate to demand that any science teacher present it as a credible hypothesis.

We agree with the findings of Judge William Overton that the Arkansas creationism law represents an unconstitutional intrusion of religious doctrine into the public schools, that "creation science" is not science, and that its advocates have followed the unscientific procedure of starting from a dogmatically held conclusion and looking only for evidence to support that conclusion.

The American Astronomical Society deplores the attempt to force creationism into public schools and urges Congress, all state legislatures, local school boards and textbook publishers to resist such attempts.

American Chemical Society (1981)

There is increased pressure on boards of education to mandate the teaching of biblical creationism in the nation's public school science classes. As recent examples of this pressure, the state legislatures of Arkansas and Louisiana have passed measures requiring that such creationism be taught whenever biological (Darwinian) evolution is taught.

The Board of Directors of the American Chemical Society reaffirms its statement of December 2, 1972 that creationism theories, often mistermed "scientific creationism," should not be taught as science in the nation's science classes. These theories were not derived from scientific data and are not amenable to scientific test. Any implication that such theories are within the framework of science would confuse students about the nature of both religion and science.

American Chemical Society (2005)

The American Chemical Society (ACS) strongly supports the inclusion of evolution in K-12 science curricula, at an age-appropriate level, because evolution is central to our modern understanding of science. Evolutionary theory is not a hypothesis, but is the scientifically accepted explanation for the origin of species, and explains significant observations in chemistry, biology, geology, and other disciplines.

Because of the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, it has been recognized and endorsed as a key component of science education by all major scientific societies including the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). The ACS joins these prestigious organizations in recognizing the critical importance of the scientific principles embodied in evolutionary theory.

Science is a human activity that uses the observation of natural phenomena and systems, and the study of modifications to these systems, to develop models that explain the order and function of the universe. The theory of biological evolution is based on hundreds of years of scientific observation and experimentation and tens of thousands of scientific publications. It provides students with a unifying concept that explains the incredibly rich diversity of living things and their capacity to change and evolve over time to adapt to changing environments. It is a central component of modern biology and biotechnology. Evolution is an active field of research in which new discoveries continue to increase our knowledge and understanding of the specific processes and paths that biological evolution has followed over the millions of years that life has existed on earth.

Evolution cannot be dismissed or diminished by characterizing it as mere conjecture or speculation. Scientific explanations of the natural world have been reached through observation and experimentation, are testable through observation and manipulation of natural systems, and can be modified as a result of new information. The inclusion of non-scientific explanations in science curricula misrepresents the nature and processes of science and compromises a central purpose of public education: the preparation of a scientifically literate workforce.

The American Chemical Society urges
  • State and local education authorities to support high-quality science standards and curricula that affirm evolution as the only scientifically accepted explanation for the origin and diversity of species.
  • Administrators and curriculum supervisors to ensure that evolution is taught in their classrooms, accurately represented in their science textbooks, and assessed on local and state science tests.

American Fisheries Society *

WHEREAS, the mission of the American Fisheries Society is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals; and

WHEREAS, effective conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources must be based on sound scientific principles that incorporate physical, biological and ecological processes; and

WHEREAS, science is a systematic method of continuing investigation based on observation, measurement, hypothesis testing, experimentation, and theory building; and

WHEREAS, the body of knowledge encompassed by the theory of evolution is the foundation and unifying principle of the biological and ecological sciences and is supported by a vast body of interdisciplinary evidence; and

WHEREAS, the theory of evolution satisfies the scientific criteria of being understood through scientific scrutiny, revision and evaluation through testable hypotheses; and

WHEREAS, many local, state and national organizations continue to argue for inclusion of creationism, intelligent design or other political or faith-based doctrines alongside evolution in the science curricula of public schools; and

WHEREAS, none of the various faith-based doctrines have proposed scientifically testable hypotheses or rest upon a credible foundation of scientific evidence; and WHEREAS, the lack of scientific foundation or scientifically testable structure of faithbased doctrines make them improper for inclusion in scientific curricula; and

WHEREAS, scientific organizations have a duty to demand and ensure scientific principles in research and education,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The American Fisheries Society, in accordance with more than 70 other scientific societies, affirms that the theory of evolution is the only current scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth for inclusion in the science curricula of public schools.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the American Fisheries Society opposes policies that would allow the teaching of creationism, intelligent design or other political or faithbased doctrines in public school science classes and encourages citizens, educational authorities and legislators to oppose such policies at the appropriate federal, state and local levels of government.

American Geological Institute

Scientific evidence indicates beyond any doubt that life has existed on Earth for billions of years. This life has evolved through time producing vast numbers of species of plants and animals, most of which are extinct. Although scientists debate the mechanism that produced this change, the evidence for the change is undeniable. Therefore, in the teaching of science we oppose any position that ignores this scientific reality, or that gives equal time to interpretations based on religious beliefs only.

American Geophysical Union (1981)

The Council of the American Geophysical Union notes with concern the continuing efforts by creationists for administrative, legislative, and juridical actions designed to require the teaching of creationism as a scientific theory.

The American Geophysical Union is opposed to all efforts to require the teaching of creationism or any other religious tenets as science.

American Geophysical Union (2003)

The American Geophysical Union affirms the central importance of scientific theories of Earth history and organic evolution in science education. An educated citizenry must understand these theories in order to comprehend the dynamic world in which we live and nature's complex balance that sustains us.

Science employs a logical and empirical methodology to understand the natural world. Scientific research entails observation of natural phenomena, formulation of hypotheses as tentative, testable statements to explain these phenomena, and experiments or observations to test these hypotheses. Scientific theories, like evolution and relativity and plate tectonics, are hypotheses that have survived extensive testing and repeated verification. Scientific theories are therefore the best-substantiated statements that scientists can make to explain the organization and operation of the natural world. Thus, a scientific theory is not equal to a belief, a hunch, or an untested hypothesis. Our understanding of Earth's development over its 4.5 billion-year history and of life's gradual evolution has achieved the status of scientific theory.

"Creation science" is based on faith and is not supported by scientific observations of the natural world. Creationism is not science and does not have a legitimate place in any science curriculum.

AGU opposes all efforts to require or promote teaching creationism or any other religious tenets as science. AGU supports the National Science Education Standards, which incorporate well-established scientific theories including the origin of the universe, the age of Earth, and the evolution of life.

American Geophysical Union (2007) *

AGU affirms the central importance of including scientific theories of Earth history and biological evolution in science education. Within the scientific community, the theory of biological evolution is not controversial, nor have "alternative explanations" been found. This is why no competing theories are required by the U.S. National Science Education Standards. Explanations of natural phenomena that appeal to the supernatural or are based on religious doctrine — and therefore cannot be tested through scientific inquiry — are not scientific, and have no place in the science classroom.

Evolution through natural selection is one of the great unifying theories of biology. It explains the myriad forms of life — including human — that have originated from simple beginnings early in Earth’s four and a half billion year history, and it emphasizes the interrelatedness of all living things. It is a theory in the scientific sense — a body of knowledge that has accumulated through testing of hypotheses, by observation and by experiment over a long period, so as to become accepted by the scientific community as an explanation of natural phenomena. Although there is broad agreement within the scientific community, the theory of evolution, like any scientific theory, is subject to revision as our understanding improves. Indeed, science seeks to unravel innumerable unsolved problems in the natural world, including the evolution of the universe itself.

An increasingly complex and competitive international economy calls for a scientifically literate public. The theory of biological evolution is one of the most important foundations of the science enterprise, and therefore education of the future workforce in evolution and other pillars of science is essential.

In addition to the practical benefits of understanding evolution, there is an aesthetic one: the gaining of a sense of awe and wonder at the beautiful complexity of our dynamic planet and the integral role of its evolving biological component throughout much of its history. To deny students a full understanding of the theory of evolution in the context of Earth history is to deprive them of an important part of their intellectual heritage.

AGU urges its members to help the public better understand the scientific process, including biological evolution and the history of the Earth, as foundations of science.

American Institute of Biological Sciences

The AIBS Executive Committee passed a resolution in 1972 deploring efforts by Biblical literalists to interject creationism and religion into science courses. It is very troubling that more than 20 years later, there is an urgent need to reaffirm AIBS's earlier position. Despite rulings by the Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional to promote a religious perspective in public school education, such attempts by creationists continue in a variety of guises.

The theory of evolution is the only scientifically defensible explanation for the origin of life and development of species. A theory in science, such as the atomic theory in chemistry and the Newtonian and relativity theories in physics, is not a speculative hypothesis, but a coherent body of explanatory statements supported by evidence. The theory of evolution has this status. The body of knowledge that supports the theory of evolution is ever growing: fossils continue to be discovered that fill gaps in the evolutionary tree and recent DNA sequence data provide evidence that all living organisms are related to each other and to extinct species. These data, consistent with evolution, imply a common chemical and biological heritage for all living organisms and allow scientists to map branch points in the evolutionary tree.

Biologists may disagree about the details of the history and mechanisms of evolution. Such debate is a normal, healthy, and necessary part of scientific discourse and in no way negates the theory of evolution. As a community, biologists agree that evolution occurred and that the forces driving the evolutionary process are still active today. This consensus is based on more than a century of scientific data gathering and analysis.

Because creationism is based almost solely on religious dogma stemming from faith rather than demonstrable facts, it does not lend itself to the scientific process. As a result, creationism should not be taught in any science classroom.

Therefore, AIBS reaffirms its 1972 resolution that explanations for the origin of life and the development of species that are not supportable on scientific grounds should not be taught as science.

American Physical Society

The Council of the American Physical Society opposes proposals to require "equal time" for presentation in public school science classes of the biblical story of creation and the scientific theory of evolution. The issues raised by such proposals, while mainly focused on evolution, have important implications for the entire spectrum of scientific inquiry, including geology, physics, and astronomy.

In contrast to "Creationism," the systematic application of scientific principles has led to a current picture of life, of the nature of our planet, and of the universe which, while incomplete, is constantly being tested and refined by observation and analysis. This ability to construct critical experiments, whose results can require rejection of a theory, is fundamental to the scientific method.

While our society must constantly guard against oversimplified or dogmatic descriptions of science in the education process, we must also resist attempts to interfere with the presentation of properly developed scientific principles in establishing guidelines for classroom instruction or in the development of scientific textbooks.

We therefore strongly oppose any requirement for parallel treatment of scientific and nonscientific discussions in science classes. Scientific inquiry and religious beliefs are two distinct elements of the human experience. Attempts to present them in the same context can only lead to misunderstandings of both.

American Psychological Association (1982)

Principles of evolution are an essential part of the knowledge base of psychology. Any attempt to limit or exclude the teaching of evolution from the science curriculum would deprive psychology students of a significant part of their education.

Currently, groups identifying themselves as "creationists" are proposing legislation to require teaching of "creation science" as part of the science curriculum of public schools.

The American Psychological Association, without questioning the right of any individual to hold "creationist" beliefs, views "creationism" as a set of religious doctrines that do not conform to criteria of science. Scientific views are empirically testable, continually open to the processes of scrutiny and experimentation that are the essence of science.

The American Psychological Association believes that "creationism" does not meet the criteria of science and should not be taught as part of the public school science curriculum. Further, the American Psychological Association is opposed to any attempts to require by statute or other means the inclusion of "creationism" within the science curriculum of the public schools.

American Psychological Association (2007)

In March, 2007, the APA adopted a resolution opposing the teaching of intelligent design. The full text of the resolution is available online at http://www.apa.org/releases/IntelligentDesign.pdf.

American Society for Microbiology (2006)

Knowledge of the microbial world is essential to understanding the evolution of life on Earth. The characteristics of microorganisms — small size, rapid reproduction, mobility, and facility in exchanging genetic information — allow them to adapt rapidly to environmental influences. In microbiology, the validity of evolutionary principles is supported by [1] readily demonstrated mutation, recombination and selection, which are the fundamental mechanisms of evolution; [2] comparisons based on genomic data that support a common ancestry of life; and [3] observable rates of genetic change and the extent of genomic diversity which indicate that divergence has occurred over a very long scale of geologic time, and testify to the great antiquity of life on Earth. Thus, microorganisms illustrate evolution in action, and microbiologists have been able to make use of the microbes' evolutionary capacity in the development of life-improving and life-saving innovations in medicine, agriculture, and for the environment. By contrast, proposed alternatives to evolution, such as intelligent design and other forms of creationism, are not scientific, in part because they fail to provide a framework for useful, testable predictions. The use of the supposed "irreducible complexity" of the bacterial flagellum as an argument to endow nonscientific concepts with what appears to be legitimacy, is spurious and not based on fact. Evolution is not mere conjecture, but a conclusive discovery supported by a coherent body of integrated evidence. Overwhelmingly, the scientific community, regardless of religious belief, accepts evolution as central to an understanding of life and the life sciences. A fundamental aspect of the practice of science is to separate one's personal beliefs from the pursuit of understanding of the natural world. It is important that society and future generations recognize the legitimacy of testable, verified, fact-based learning about the origins and diversity of life.

American Society of Biological Chemists

Evolutionary theory is concerned with certain past, present, and future biological events. Like other scientific hypotheses, it leads to predictions, many but not all of which are subject to experimental observation and scientific tests. Evolutionary theory is compatible with many, but not all, religious beliefs; by itself it is not, was not meant to be, and should never be presented as a religious belief. Its proper forum is the science classroom.

The term "Creation Science" obscures the profound differences between religious beliefs and scientific theory. The proper education of the nation's youth for citizenship in a technological age demands that the distinction between these two major currents in human affairs be maintained in keeping with the precepts of our Constitution.

American Society of Naturalists *

Darwin’s great insight that the vast diversity of life on earth arose over time from a common ancestor revolutionized scientific understanding, with substantial benefit to our economy and our well being. Today, evolutionary principles are the foundation of all of modern biology and have led to major advances in fields as diverse as molecular biology, developmental biology, genetics, behavior, and paleontology. Understanding evolution also allows us to identify genes underlying human illness, combat infectious diseases, mitigate impacts of invasive species, and control pathogens and pests of our crops and livestock.

The importance of evolution to science and society is outlined in “Evolution, Science, and Society,” a document representing the broad consensus of eight major scientific societies, in which the American Society of Naturalists played an important role. Evolution is at the heart of the mission of the American Society of Naturalists to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

Evolution is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence from many disciplines. Like all scientific theories, evolutionary theory generates explicit hypotheses about the world around us, and these hypotheses are then tested against the facts through observation and experimentation. Hypotheses supported by results from multiple lines of inquiry are used to extend the theory, whereas hypotheses not supported by facts are discarded. This scientific process has yielded a robust, empirically supported theory of evolution, which continues to be developed and rigorously tested.

Science is only science when it can empirically test hypotheses and discover whether the facts support or refute them. Science cannot refute or support hypotheses concerning the existence, actions, or methods of God or any other intelligent designer. Such articles of faith should not be part of the science curriculum in public schools simply because they cannot be empirically tested and thus they fall outside the purview of science. In contrast, evolution is a rigorously tested and ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge that underlies and integrates our understanding of all areas of the biological world — from our cells and DNA to our lakes and forests. As such, evolution must be an integral part of any science curriculum.

With a solid science education that includes evolutionary biology, today’s students will find better solutions to tomorrow’s problems.

American Society of Parasitologists

The American Society of Parasitologists — a national membership organization of 1500 professional scientists — vigorously opposes any state or federal law or any public school board policy that would diminish public education on the principle of evolution, or that would demand comparable funding or treatment of creationism. Some of the society's grounds for this opposition are:

1. Creationism is not a science and cannot become a science

Science is a disciplined method of obtaining naturalistic explanations of the world and universe. God is believed to exist outside the domain of natural law and to transcend its limitations. Creationism inherently rests on belief in this supernatural Creator, and no supernatural premise can ever be correctly considered a science.

2. Evolution is not anti-Christian or anti-religious

Science makes no pretense of judging whether or not God exists or why He works as He does; science has always acknowledged these questions as being outside the domain of its authority. In their private beliefs, many, perhaps the majority, of scientists who believe the principle of evolution are also Godbelieving Christians, Jews, Moslems, or other theists, and see no contradiction between these beliefs. Many, for example, see evolution as God's mechanism of ongoing creation. Furthermore, the official positions enunciated by American and world leaders of Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and other churches are that evolution is not a contradiction of Biblical religion. They opine that the JudeoChristian creation story is "a religious myth system ... neither empirical science nor recorded history, [but] a religious interpretation divinely inspired in a prescientific age."

3.Fundamentalist religion is the sole reason for the creationist casue

When the U.S. Supr, em, e Court struck down Arkansas' creationist law in 1968, Justice Fortas ruled that the Arkansas law could not be justified on the grounds of any state policy "other than the religious views of some of its citizens. It is clear that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the law's reason for existence." This is equally true today and the appellation "scientific creationism" cannot disguise that basic intent (see also the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton, in the recent Arkansas trial on creationism in schools published in Science 215:934-943, 1982). Neither science nor public education has any interest in or potential benefit from the passage of such laws, which exist only to benefit a certain denomination of Christians. The 123year history of creationism clearly shows it to be tied to no other cause but this, and to be overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of Christian denominations and by scientists of all faiths.

4. Creationism infringes on the Unites States Constitution

Because creationism is linked solely with fundamentalist Christianity, all creationist laws infringe on the First Amendment clause prohibiting the establishment of religion. Current creationist bills also infringe on the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which has been judged to imply that no law is constitutional which is too vague or ambiguous to be reasonably obeyable. Creationist bills require instruction in creationism yet, prohibit instruction in any religious doctrine. Creationism necessarily implies a supernatural creator, and this is necessarily a religious concept. Creationist laws are therefore unconstitutionally ambiguous or selfcontradictory. Instruction in evolution is not unconstitutional despite the claims of creationists that it is so. Evolution has a scientific not a religious basis and is believed by nearly all professional life scientists regardless of their religious beliefs. Evolution does not violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, for scientific education in evolution does not prohibit the student from being taught otherwise in the home and church.

5. The business of the science curriculum is only to teach prevailing scientific viewpoints.

Any public school science course must cover a large body of knowledge in a short academic term, and is necessarily limited to teaching only those views which are well established and widely accepted by the scientific community. The fact that some scientists reject evolution does not warrant inclusion of their views in lowerlevel science curricula. There are many minority beliefs in science besides creationism that are excluded from consideration or from presentation as valid scientific fact or theory. The scientific community is inherently and traditionally vigorous in its criticism of established beliefs and introduction of new concepts. If the antiDarwinian views of fundamentalists have any validity as science, they will eventually become widely accepted. If so it will be on their scientific and not their religious merit. Only then will they warrant treatment in the public school curriculum.

6. Creationism is an infringement of academic freedom

Science teachers are already free to mention or discuss creationism in the classroom if they wish, so long as they do not materially compromise the educational objective of the schools to cover the major areas of scientific information. To legislate creationism infringes on the rights of those teachers, students, and parents who believe the curriculum must be religiously neutral and that nonscience does not belong in the science class.

7. Evolution is factual and essential to biological education The word "theory" has different meanings to the scientist and layman. Virtually all scientists accept the evolution of current species from fewer, simpler, ancestral ones as undisputed fact. The "theory" of evolution pertains merely to the mechanisms by which this occurs, and the muchtouted arguments among scientists about evolution are over details of these mechanisms, not about the factuality of evolution itself. To call evolution a theory implies no more doubt about its factuality than referring to atomic theory or the theory of gravitation means we doubt the existence of atoms or gravity. To excise evolution from the biology curriculum would reduce biology courses to a series of disconnected facts and severely inhibit those aspects of the discipline which contribute to creative scholarship.

American Society of Plant Taxonomists *

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists fully endorses the use of evolution in the scholarship of its members and supports teaching this theory in schools, colleges and universities. Evolution includes both statements of fact and evidence to support these statements. Evolution has been variously defined as changes in gene frequencies over time, descent with modification and the existence of a common ancestor from which all life descends. Much of the evidence for these definitions is found in the universality of the genetic code, homologous structures within groups of related taxa, and the fossil record.

As scholars, many members of ASPT study evolution in order to shed light on how the evolutionary process works. Others use the scientific basis of evolution to define historical relationships among taxa, to understand how certain characters have evolved within a group of taxa, and to study coevolutionary relationships such as those between plants and their pollinators or plants and seed dispersers. As educators, we believe that evolution is an essential component of science education. In the absence of an evolutionary context, our understanding of the origin and complexity of the earth’s biodiversity and our ability to realize critical advances in medicine and agriculture would not be possible. Acknowledging our obligations as scientists and educators, we join the many other scientific societies that have endorsed the role of evolution as a unifying principle both in scientific scholarship and science curricula at all educational levels.

American Sociological Association

The American Sociological Association (ASA) supports the teaching of science methods and content in U.S. public school curricula, and affirms the integrity of science education to include the teaching of evolution, a central organizing principle of the biological sciences that is based upon overwhelming empirical evidence from various scientific disciplines. ASA opposes proposals that promote, support, or advocate religious doctrines or ideologies in science education curricula. Religious doctrines and ideology include, but are not limited to, the non-scientific notion of "creationism," including "intelligent design." In two decades of careful peer-reviewed research, sociologists such as Francis B. Harrold and Raymond A. Eve have documented the relationships among popular cult beliefs, pseudoscientific ideas, and creationism. Creationism, in all its forms, has also been recognized as a religious doctrine by the U.S. federal courts.

ASA respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those that reject evolution and related principles of science, as a matter of faith. Such beliefs, however, should not be promulgated by science educators in the classroom because it would be a disservice to students to present such views as having a basis in science. The United States Constitution articulates the principle of separation of church and state as a means to prevent the government (including public schools) from advocating or imposing specific religious beliefs on our citizens.

Science is an objectively accountable endeavor. It requires systematic, empirical measurements that are intended to be replicated in order to rigorously test the accuracy of observations, concepts, hypotheses, and theories and to encourage further exploration and refinement. The goal of scientists is to determine whether propositions are empirically verifiable using transparent, objective methods of measurement. When scientifically proposed and testable ideas are found not to coincide with objective measures, they are rejected as scientifically unsuitable to explain observations. Creationism includes claims that are empirically un-testable and, therefore, not subjects for examination in the study of the natural and biological sciences.

By contrast, biological evolution is a scientifically developed and well-established principle supported by accumulated scientific knowledge in many fields. Efforts to qualify, limit, or exclude the teaching of biological evolution in U.S. public science curricula would adversely affect national science literacy, academic achievement, and technological and scientific advancement. Such efforts would deprive U.S. public school students of their right to genuine and coherent science education, which they need in a world where science and technology are socially and economically vital areas of knowledge. Similarly, constraints on science curricula addressing theories of the evolution of the universe, the evolution of stars and galaxies, plate tectonics, and the biological development of life would also be detrimental to education and advances in U.S. scientific achievement and literacy.

Creationism, as a social movement and pseudoscientific cognitive process, is a legitimate topic for scientific examination (e.g., exploring social factors that influence social movements or documenting the social and behavioral correlates of cult beliefs). There are suitable curricular venues for teaching about these topics (e.g., contemporary social issues, sociology of religion, other behavioral science courses).

Natural and biological science curricula, however, are not the appropriate place. There are recognized authorities and respected educational standards and frameworks for teaching natural and biological science content. These standards are provided by organizations such as the National Academies of Science, National Science Teachers Association, and National Association of Biology Teachers.

American Statistical Association *

It is the mission of the American Statistical Association to promote excellence in statistical practice and to work for the improvement of statistical education at all levels. Statistics, as the science of data, is embedded within the broader scientific enterprise, and as statisticians, we have a responsibility to help safeguard its integrity and that of science education generally.

ASA takes no position on whether intelligent design is right or wrong. Nevertheless, it is clear that intelligent design is not a scientific theory subject to empirical testing, and thus has no place in science education.

Therefore, the Board of Directors of ASA adopts the following resolution:

Intelligent design should not be taught as part of any science curriculum. Further, the Association urges its members to continue to support vigorously those principles of inquiry and verification that characterize sound scientific practice.

Association for Women Geoscientists

The Association for Women Geoscientists supports the teaching of evolution in the science curriculum and urges the separation of science from religious teaching in public school's science curricula. We believe that all students should be taught the method and principles of modern science, including the method of hypothesis testing by observation, data collection, experimentation, and the difference between scientific theory and hypothesis. Any hypothesis that is not subject to testing, or does not arise from observation and repeatable data, cannot be considered science.

To do otherwise puts students at a disadvantage in understanding and appreciating the wonder of our Earth, as well as in their pursuit of higher education and careers in science.

Association of Southeastern Biologists

Whereas many states have recently considered deleting the word "evolution" in their public school science curricula, and

Whereas other states have considered including the teaching of creationism and/or intelligent design in their public school science curricula, and

Whereas many local school boards have considered the same actions, and

Whereas, as scientists, we are concerned that such actions teach non-scientific explanations of the formation of the universe and the development of life on Earth,

Therefore, be it resolved that the membership of the Association of Southeastern Biologists adopt the position set forth herein as the official position of the Association on these matters, and be it further resolved that this position statement shall be sent to the education commissioners of the several states in which we are well represented and such teaching organizations in those states as approved by the executive committee of the Association, as well as any appropriate state officials when the need arises.

Statement of the Position of the Association of Southeastern Biologists Regarding the Teaching of Evolution in the Classroom

The Association of Southeastern Biologists is a regional association devoted to the promulgation of biology in all its myriad forms to scientists, students, and the general public. As part of its duties, the Association represents biological scientists from throughout the southeastern region of the United States on various issues of concern. This statement contains the Association's recommendations concerning the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

Evolution is the only currently acceptable scientific theory for the development of life on earth, and is supported by an enormous body of evidence from a wide variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Across all of these scientific disciplines, the data are in congruence with regards to the theory of evolution, and there are no data that contradict the fundamental truth of evolution. Such consilience gives credence and support to the concept that all life is related and that it has evolved over time primarily through the process of natural selection. The Association believes that the study of evolution is crucial if students are to gain a proper understanding of life on earth.

In recent years, the public schools have been pressured to teach "alternative" theories to evolution, most notably, creationism and intelligent design. However, both creationism and intelligent design are based in faith and do not follow acceptable scientific principles. Both movements are rooted in preconceived notions about the development of life and its origins, yet fail to present any credible scientific evidence to support those claims. In contrast, the evidence in support for evolution is being added to on a daily basis, and is now so overwhelmingly strong that we can state with certainty that evolution occurs.

Because creationism and intelligent design do not operate within the definitional limits of science, they cannot and should not be treated as such. Neither movement can satisfy the aims of science, which are to make observations and develop questions to explain natural phenomena, to design tests of those hypotheses, and then to either accept or reject those hypotheses based on a fair and objective evaluation of the evidence accumulated. Creationism and intelligent design offer a mixture of empirically untestable and empirically non-scientific hypotheses, which their proponents fail to retract or modify in the light of contrary evidence. Thus, they do not conform to accepted scientific protocols.

Therefore, since neither creationism nor intelligent design is a scientific endeavor, we oppose any attempts to insert them into the science curricula of any public schools. While religion has played and continues to play a significant role in many people's lives, and in schools' curricula, we object to any attempts to insert religious dogma, such as creationism or intelligent design, into science classes.

Furthermore, we strongly oppose attempts to undermine or compromise the teaching of evolution, whether by eliminating the word 'evolution' from state science standards, requiring textbook disclaimers that misleadingly describe evolution as "merely" a theory, or by encouraging scientifically unwarranted criticism of evolution under the guise of "analysis," "objectivity," "balance," or "teaching the controversy." Such tactics are clearly intended to leave the false impression that evolution is scientifically precarious and will thus deprive students of a sound scientific education.

In conclusion, the Association of Southeastern Biologists strongly opposes the teaching of any alternative non-scientific theories to evolution that are not based on established scientific concepts, endorses the meaningful teaching of evolution in science classrooms, and opposes any attempts to water down the teaching of evolution by singling out the subject for special treatment not given any other sciences.

Australian Academy of Science

One of the fiercest moral debates witnessed in Europe in the second half of the 19th century was raised by the theory of the evolution of species set out by Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species. The theory challenged most established views on the place of humans in the cosmos, on three fundamental points:
  • It suggested that Homo sapiens, in common with all extant species, arose not by special creation but by evolutionary development from simpler forms of life.
  • It suggested that evolution was not guided by some divinity or purpose, but by rules which govern the inheritance of physical characteristics. These rules were not seen as having any moral content, and the theory of evolution did not therefore acknowledge a moral component to the pattern of life.
  • The theory of evolution therefore questioned whether Homo sapiens holds a supreme place in nature.
In Western countries, the debate persisted longest in the United States of America where the theory of evolution clashed with widely held fundamentalist religious views, and in many centres within the US the value of the theory has never been acknowledged. The explanatory power of the theory of evolution has been recognised, however, by all biologists, and their work has expanded and developed it. In Australia, as in all Western countries, the theory of evolution has for many years been taught as the most powerful theory available of the origins of the diversity of biology.

Over the last 10-20 years, the fundamentalist rejection of the theory has gained momentum in the United States, and the same thrust has been evident in parts of Australia. The anti-evolution thrust argues two major points:
  • that the theory of evolution is flawed; and
  • that a sense of balance in the teaching of the scientific basis of life requires that equal consideration be given to the creationist view, that sees the origin of the diversity of life in the specific intention of the Deity.
The following points summarize the view of the Australian Academy of Science on this issue:
  • All scientific ideas are theories, imperfect and subject to test. That the theory of evolution is imperfect, and still the subject of study and modification, affirms that the theory is part of science. Many attempts to modify and expand the theory have been successful, showing (since Darwin's day) the gene-basis of inheritance, the basis of gene-reproduction in the double helix structure of DNA, the "genetic drift" basis of the origin of breeds, and so on. Many challenges to the fundamentals of the theory have failed empirical test. The theory has attracted enormous empirical testing and remains one of the most powerful of scientific ideas.
  • The creationist account of the origin of life has been and remains an important idea in human culture. However it is not a scientific idea. That is, it is not open to empirical test. It is an article of religious faith.
  • The creationist account of the origin of life is not therefore appropriate to a course in the science of biology, and the claim that it is a viable scientific explanation of the diversity of life does not warrant support.
  • The Academy sees no objection to the teaching of creationism in schools as part of a course in dogmatic or comparative religion, or in some other non-scientific context. There are no grounds, however, for requiring that creationism be taught as part of a science course.

Biophysical Society

The Biophysical Society is deeply troubled by attempts in the United States to suppress the teaching of evolution in K-12 public schools, or to temper the teaching with disclaimers, or to present evolution as only one of several alternative theories about the origin of human life on earth.

As biophysicists, we are engaged in studying the structure and function of living organisms at a molecular level. Such studies have demonstrated that all life forms on earth obey the laws of chemistry and physics, and that these life forms are built from molecules that show common origins. The hypothesis that binds all these studies, built upon an immense body of evidence accumulated from geology, paleontology, biochemistry and molecular biology, is the theory of evolution. The main mechanism for evolutionary change is genetic variation. Scientists have demonstrated how at the molecular level, imperfections in DNA replication and damage to DNA caused by sunlight and radiation can contribute to genetic variability. One need only look at the progression of influenza to see evolution in action today.

In contrast to the scientific picture of evolution that has emerged from field observations and laboratories, there are some today who argue that alternative views, such as Biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design, should be taught instead of evolution, or alongside evolution in K-12 science classrooms. What distinguishes scientific theories from these theological beliefs is the scientific method, which is driven by observations and deductions, leads to testable predictions, and involves the formulation of hypotheses that can be refuted This process results in a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed by experiments, which in turn result in a theory. Scientific theories are therefore not "guesses," but fact-supported, self-consistent, reliable accounts of the world. The alternative theological explanations for origins are not based on the scientific method, and are, therefore, not in the realm of science. They are in the realm of faith.

The Biophysical Society is strongly opposed to any effort to blur the distinction between science and theology by teaching or presenting non-scientific beliefs in science classrooms. Accepting the evidence that evolution has and continues to take place does not preclude one from believing in theologies, but those beliefs have no place in a science curriculum. Attempts to suppress or compromise the teaching of evolutionary science in the United States are misguided actions that will deprive our youth of a clear understanding of the scientific process, and of the scientific skills that they need to compete in a global economy: one that is increasingly driven by science and technology. Moreover, current efforts to disguise theology as science do a severe disservice to the scientific profession and to the people of the United States.

Botanical Society of America

The Botanical Society of America has as its members professional scientists, scholars, and educators from across the United States and Canada, and from over 50 other countries. Most of us call ourselves botanists, plant biologists, or plant scientists, and members of our profession teach and learn about botanical organisms using well established principles and practices of science.

Evolution represents one of the broadest, most inclusive theories used in pursuit of and in teaching this knowledge, but it is by no means the only theory involved. Scientific theories are used in two ways: to explain what we know, and to pursue new knowledge. Evolution explains observations of shared characteristics (the result of common ancestry and descent with modification) and adaptations (the result of natural selection acting to maximize reproductive success), as well as explaining pollen:ovule ratios, weeds, deceptive pollination strategies, differences in sexual expression, dioecy, and a myriad of other biological phenomena. Far from being merely a speculative notion, as implied when someone says, "evolution is just a theory," the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed. Natural selection has been repeatedly demonstrated in both field and laboratory, and descent with modification is so well documented that scientists are justified in saying that evolution is true.

Some people contend that creationism and its surrogate, "intelligent design," offers an alternative explanation: that organisms are well adapted and have common characteristics because they were created just so, and they exhibit the hallmarks of intelligent design. As such, creationism is an all inclusive explanation for every biological phenomenon. So why do we support and teach evolution and not creationism/"intelligent design" if both explain the same phenomena? Are botanists just dogmatic, atheistic materialists, as some critics of science imply? Hardly, although scientists are routinely portrayed by creationists as dogmatic. We are asked, "Why, in all fairness, don't we teach both explanations and let students decide?"

The fairness argument implies that creationism is a scientifically valid alternative to evolution, and that is not true. Science is not about fairness, and all explanations are not equal. Some scientific explanations are highly speculative with little in the way of supporting evidence, and they will stand or fall based upon rigorous testing. The history of science is littered with discarded explanations, but they weren't discarded because of public opinion or general popularity; each one earned that distinction by being scientifically falsified. Scientists may jump on a "band wagon" for some new explanation, particularly if it has tremendous explanatory power, something that makes sense out of previously unexplained phenomena. But for an explanation to become a mainstream component of a theory, it must be tested and found useful in doing science.

To make progress, to learn more about botanical organisms, hypotheses, the subcomponents of theories, are tested by attempting to falsify logically derived predictions. This is why scientists use and teach evolution; evolution offers testable explanations of observed biological phenomena. Evolution continues to be of paramount usefulness, and so, based on simple pragmatism, scientists use this theory to improve our understanding of the biology of organisms. Over and over again, evolutionary theory has generated predictions that have proven to be true. Any hypothesis that doesn't prove true is discarded in favor of a new one, and so the component hypotheses of evolutionary theory change as knowledge and understanding grow. Phylogenetic hypotheses, patterns of ancestral relatedness, based on one set of data, for example, base sequences in DNA, are generated, and when the results make logical sense out of formerly disparate observations, confidence in the truth of the hypothesis increases. The theory of evolution so permeates botany that frequently it is not mentioned explicitly, but the overwhelming majority of published studies are based upon evolutionary hypotheses, each of which constitutes a test of an hypothesis. Evolution has been very successful as a scientific explanation because it has been useful in advancing our understanding of organisms and applying that knowledge to the solution of many human problems, e.g., host-pathogen interactions, origin of crop plants, herbicide resistance, disease susceptibility of crops, and invasive plants.

For example, plant biologists have long been interested in the origins of crop plants. Wheat is an ancient crop of the Middle East. Three species exist both as wild and domesticated wheats, einkorn, emmer, and breadwheat. Archeological studies have demonstrated that einkorn is the most ancient and breadwheat appeared most recently. To plant biologists this suggested that somehow einkorn gave rise to emmer, and emmer gave rise to breadwheat (an hypothesis). Further evidence was obtained from chromosome numbers that showed einkorn with 14, emmer with 28, and breadwheat with 42. Further, the chromosomes in einkorn consisted of two sets of 7 chromosomes, designated AA. Emmer had 14 chromosomes similar in shape and size, but 14 more, so they were designated AABB. Breadwheat had chromosomes similar to emmer, but 14 more, so they were designated AABBCC. To plant biologists familiar with mechanisms of speciation, these data, the chromosome numbers and sets, suggested that the emmer and breadwheat species arose via hybridization and polyploidy (an hypothesis). The Middle Eastern flora was studied to find native grasses with a chromosome number of 14, and several goatgrasses were discovered that could be the predicted parents, the sources of the BB and CC chromosomes. To test these hypotheses, plant biologists crossed einkorn and emmer wheats with goatgrasses, which produced sterile hybrids. These were treated to produce a spontaneous doubling of the chromosome number, and as predicted, the correct crosses artificially produced both the emmer and breadwheat species. No one saw the evolution of these wheat species, but logical predictions about what happened were tested by recreating likely circumstances. Grasses are wind-pollinated, so cross-pollination between wild and cultivated grasses happens all the time. Frosts and other natural events are known to cause a doubling of chromosomes. And the hypothesized sequence of speciation matches their observed appearance in the archeological record. Farmers would notice and keep new wheats, and the chromosome doubling and hybrid vigor made both emmer and breadwheat larger, more vigorous wheats. Lastly, a genetic change in breadwheat from the wild goatgrass chromosomes allowed for the chaff to be removed from the grain without heating, so glutin was not denatured, and a sourdough (yeast infected) culture of the sticky breadwheat flour would inflate (rise) from the trapped carbon dioxide.

The actual work was done by many plant biologists over many years, little by little, gathering data and testing ideas, until these evolutionary events were understood as generally described above. The hypothesized speciation events were actually recreated, an accomplishment that allows plant biologists to breed new varieties of emmer and breadwheats, and in one instance, create a new cereal grain species, Triticale, by hybridizing wheat and rye and generating a polyploid offspring.

What would the creationist paradigm have done? No telling. Perhaps nothing, because observing three wheat species specially created to feed humans would not have generated any questions that needed answering. No predictions are made, so there is no reason or direction for seeking further knowledge. This demonstrates the scientific uselessness of creationism. While creationism explains everything, it offers no understanding beyond, "that's the way it was created." No testable predictions can be derived from the creationist explanation. Creationism has not made a single contribution to agriculture, medicine, conservation, forestry, pathology, or any other applied area of biology. Creationism has yielded no classifications, no biogeographies, no underlying mechanisms, no unifying concepts with which to study organisms or life. In those few instances where predictions can be inferred from Biblical passages (e.g., groups of related organisms, migration of all animals from the resting place of the ark on Mt. Ararat to their present locations, genetic diversity derived from small founder populations, dispersal ability of organisms in direct proportion to their distance from eastern Turkey), creationism has been scientifically falsified.

Is it fair or good science education to teach about an unsuccessful, scientifically useless explanation just because it pleases people with a particular religious belief? Is it unfair to ignore scientifically useless explanations, particularly if they have played no role in the development of modern scientific concepts? Science education is about teaching valid concepts and those that led to the development of new explanations, e.g., inheritance of acquired characters.

Creationism is the modern manifestation of a long-standing conflict between science and religion in Western Civilization. Prior to science, and in all non-scientific cultures, myths were the only viable explanations for a myriad of natural phenomena, and these myths became incorporated into diverse religious beliefs. Following the rise and spread of science, where ideas are tested against nature rather than being decided by religious authority and sacred texts, many phenomena previously attributed to the supernatural (disease, genetic defects, lightening, blights and plagues, epilepsy, eclipses, comets, mental illness, etc.) became known to have natural causes and explanations. Recognizing this, the Catholic Church finally admitted, after 451 years, that Galileo was correct; the Earth was not the unmoving center of the Universe. Mental illness, birth defects, and disease are no longer considered the mark of evil or of God's displeasure or punishment. Epileptics and people intoxicated by ergot-infected rye are no longer burned at the stake as witches. As natural causes were discovered and understood, religious authorities were forced to alter long-held positions in the face of growing scientific knowledge. This does not mean science has disproven the existence of the supernatural. The methodology of science only deals with the material world.

Science as a way of knowing has been extremely successful, although people may not like all the changes science and its handmaiden, technology, have wrought. But people who oppose evolution, and seek to have creationism or intelligent design included in science curricula, seek to dismiss and change the most successful way of knowing ever discovered. They wish to substitute opinion and belief for evidence and testing. The proponents of creationism/intelligent design promote scientific ignorance in the guise of learning. As professional scientists and educators, we strongly assert that such efforts are both misguided and flawed, presenting an incorrect view of science, its understandings, and its processes.

California Academy of Sciences (1994)

Evolutionary biology, like every other natural science, is a powerful expression of human curiosity and intellect. With techniques for reconstructing the history of life on Earth, Homo sapiens has become uniquely capable of knowing about its own past as well as that of other organisms on this planet. Discoveries in phylogenetics, paleontology, genetics, and developmental and molecular biology give us the capacity to test our theories and to develop new ones, using a vast store of empirical data and increasingly sophisticated methods. Continued opportunity to perform such tests has resulted in further support for descent with modification, justifying the fundamental role that evolution plays in our understanding of humanity's place in nature. It provides a rational basis for dealing with such problems as preserving the quality of our environment, and enhancing the quality of our lives.

Now, more than ever, is a time when intellectual standards need to be upheld. For example, it is crucial that we clearly distinguish between such legitimate natural sciences as astronomy and such pseudosciences as astrology. There is a fundamental difference between testing hypotheses so as to reject some in favor of alternatives, and rationalization in terms of a dogmatic belief system.

The natural sciences have a long history of weeding out notions inherited from pre-scientific culture, often in the face of determined resistance. Repeatedly, old arguments, long since refuted, have been refurbished and presented to new audiences that are ill-equipped to evaluate them. Lately, creationist pseudoscience has been attempting to insinuate itself into the curriculum under the rubric of "intelligent design." Prior to the fundamental contribution of Darwin in 1859, there seemed to be no way to explain the remarkable adaptations of organisms except in terms of a miracle. With the discovery and recognition of natural selection, this argument was shown to depend upon a pre-Darwinian failure of the human imagination to find testable, scientific explanations for the origin and diversity of life. The appropriate place in the science curriculum for the notion that organisms have been designed is the same as that for the notion that the earth is located at the center of the universe.

Science and religion are concerned with different aspects of human life and are evaluated according to fundamentally different criteria. Failing to make this distinction gives the false impression that we are limited to two alternatives when faced with an apparent contradiction.

Insofar as belief in special creation is a part of many religions, it needs to be understood in the context of the comparative and historical study of culture. Religion has played and continues to play an important role in human life, and our citizens need to be well informed about it. In recognizing the rich cultural diversity of beliefs and practices both past and present, schools should teach about all religions, provided that this is done in a fair and objective manner, without proselytizing. All this can be accomplished without compromising the central role that scientific principles must take in the teaching of evolutionary biology.

California Academy of Sciences (2007) *

Evolution is a central concept in modern science, including biology, geology, and astronomy. The California Academy of Sciences, with its broad mission to explore, explain, and protect the natural world, recognizes that evolution is fundamental to understanding biological diversity and is a critical organizing principle for both scientific research and science museums.

In biology, the basic facts of evolution, including the extinction and emergence of new species over time, were understood and accepted by the end of the nineteenth century. Charles Darwin identified natural selection as a primary mechanism driving evolution (that some organisms are more likely to survive and reproduce, thus their genetic traits will be inherited by future generations while other traits will be lost). Through selection, some life-forms thrive, reproduce, and adapt as conditions change, whereas others disappear. The detailed processes that create variation and drive natural selection became evident during the twentieth century with the discoveries of DNA and molecular inheritance. Twentieth century geologists also learned to use radioactivity to determine the age of the Earth (4.5 billion years), and astronomers discovered the expansion of the universe, measuring its age as approximately 14 billion years. Change is an inherent property of stars, planets, and life.

Scientists in many fields use evolutionary concepts daily in their research. In pharmacology and agriculture, these concepts are central to efforts to overcome the evolution of harmful organisms that have become resistant to antibiotics or pesticides. Evolution as the organizing principle for science museums has transformed the eighteenth-century collections of "curiosities" into modern museums of natural history. The California Academy of Sciences recognizes the importance of understanding evolution for both scientists and the public, and we emphasize that evolution belongs in school curricula and textbooks as one of the fundamental concepts of modern science.

Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences (2008) *

Canadian media report growing public pressure to introduce Creationism and its equivalent Intelligent Design (ID) in school curricula, hinting that Creationism/ID is a ‘theory’, thus suggesting that it shares common ground with science-based theories. Such reporting ignores the fundamental difference between faith and measurable facts. CFES-FCST is extremely concerned about this trend, and not only because of the demonstrated importance of science to Canadian society.

Science progresses through the application of the scientific method in which hypotheses are supported or falsified. Hypotheses are tested through meticulous observation and experimentation. Results are reported in articles which are reviewed thoroughly by more than one expert in the field (peer review). When experts conclude that it is no longer possible to refute a hypothesis, it becomes a theory. The road from hypothesis to theory is long and arduous and may take decades, even centuries. A theory is therefore an extremely well-substantiated explanation of certain aspects of the natural world, incorporating facts and tested hypotheses. Thus, proper use of the scientific method results in the discovery of universal truths from which all of humanity, irrespective of religious leanings, may benefit. Unlike common vernacular sometimes suggests, a theory is anything but a vague, speculative idea.

The theory of plate tectonics for example explains the motion of continental plates which form the Earth’s crust. It explains why and where earthquakes occur, and why mountain chains, mineral assemblages and fossil fuels are where we find them. Similarly, the theory of evolution explains how species evolve through genetic mutation over time. Both are solid theories in the sense that that there are no measurable and observable facts that indicate that they are wrong. In addition, we know the age of the earth (ca. 4.5 billion years) and we can date events that took place between the time of origin of the earth and today by measuring the remaining amounts of naturally occurring radio-active elements of which the half lives (the time during which the element changes its properties so that half of its original mass remains) can be reliably and accurately calculated.

Creationism and ID do not qualify as science, because the scientific method is not deployed and these ideas are therefore not theories or hypotheses in universally accepted scientific sense. Hence, Creationism and ID do not belong in any K-12 science curriculum. CFES-FCST strongly recommends that science education is limited to those subjects to which the scientific method applies.

Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution *

There is overwhelming evidence that life has evolved over thousands of millions of years. The ancestors of modern organisms, as well as whole groups that are now completely extinct, have been found in great abundance as fossils. The main processes responsible for evolutionary change, such as variation and natural selection, have been repeatedly observed and verified in natural populations and in laboratory experiments. All the features of living organisms, including those discovered in the recent advances in molecular biology, are readily explained by the principles of evolution. Any scientific theory that provides a clear mechanism, offers a broad explanation of natural phenomena, receives strong support from observation and experiment and that is never refuted by careful investigation is usually called a “fact”. The cell theory of organisms, the germ theory of infection, the gene theory of inheritance and the theory of evolution are all facts. Teaching alternative theories as though they had equivalent scientific status is a perversion of education that damages children’s ability to understand the natural world. In particular, creationism is a religious doctrine long since known to be a fallacious account of Earth history that has no scientific standing and cannot be represented as a credible alternative to evolution. Evolution is the single most important principle of modern biology and the foundation of any sound biology curriculum.

Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing

As anthropologists studying science and its cultural contexts, the scholarly work of CASTAC members has often provided analyses of scientific authority in both professional and public life. Recently public schools teaching the theory of evolution have found their curricula challenged by groups who dispute evolution's scientific status, and thus attempt to censor or diminish its place in science education. From the viewpoint of our profession, all scientific theories are products of criticism, re-evaluation and revision by scientific communities. The theory of evolution is not uniquely subject to this critical process. The evidence supporting the theory of evolution is just as strong as the evidence for the existence of sub-atomic particles, the structure of the solar system, or the function of the immune system.

CASTAC encourages public education about the social dynamics of science, including scientific controversies. Many of these controversies have a legitimate role in the science education classroom: global warming, pesticide damage, genetic manipulation, and so on. All of the legitimate controversies concern testable knowledge of natural phenomena (that is, the physical and biological systems of nature as well as technology and culture). "Intelligent Design" (and ideas like it) do not contribute to legitimate scientific controversies: they fail to meet scientific standards since they posit causes that are outside the realm of natural phenomena, and attempt to substitute scientific effort and debate with asserted belief systems for which there can be no test or empirical debate. CASTAC supports the right of public school teachers to convey the scientific community's knowledge in all fields, including that of evolution, without censorship or qualification.

Ecological Society of America

The Ecological Society of America notes with serious concern the Kansas State Board of Education ruling and similar efforts in other states regarding the teaching of evolution and the teaching of religion in science classes. Efforts to weaken the quality of science education should be resisted. Science education is more important than ever before as we prepare students for our increasingly complex world of environmental challenges and technological advances.

ESA Resolution on Science of Evolution

Evolution is a widely accepted scientific theory that all living things have shared ancestors from which they have diverged. It is one of the most fundamental building blocks in science, touching nearly every other discipline including those that directly effect humans, such as medicine and agriculture. Evolutionary science allows us to determine not only how and why living things have become the way they are today, but also what processes are currently acting to change them. Thus, evolutionary biology is vital to our enhanced awareness and prediction of the future of life on earth. Understanding why and how some species change when faced with new challenges is critical to the sustainability of ecosystems upon which humans rely.

Science teaching must include evolutionary biology, which is the core of our understanding of life on Earth. Scientific disciplines such as biology, ecology, and geology cannot be taught with scientific integrity if evolution is not included. The National Science Education Standards recognize the importance of evolution in teaching students to understand the natural world.

Religion-based teachings are not scientific theory. The scientific theory of evolutionary biology has been repeatedly tested and validated. While scientists may debate the mechanisms that drive evolution, they agree that the empirical evidence for it is undeniable. Science has been greatly successful at explaining natural processes, leading to a better understanding of the universe and enormous benefits to society. Science classes should focus on science and not religion.

Entomological Society of America *

WHEREAS, entomology, the scientific study of insects and their relatives, aims to increase knowledge of the biology of this largest group of animals on Earth and apply that knowledge toward improving human health and well-being. Advances in entomology depend upon rigorous and widely accepted scientific methods that include the development of hypotheses based on observations that are tested and either falsified or incorporated into the body of knowledge that constitutes the discipline. Any hypothesis that cannot be rejected based on evidence is inherently unscientific.

AND WHEREAS, in all other sciences, the knowledge that accumulates from the testing of various hypotheses can lead to the development of scientific theories, which offer the most comprehensive explanations of natural phenomena and predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena. Evolution is one of the most robust theories in the biological sciences and has been integral to the conduct of entomological science since it was first articulated some 150 years ago. Indeed, entomologists were among the first North American scientists to incorporate evolutionary theory into their work and have successfully used its explanatory and predictive power to elucidate aspects of the systematics, ecology, physiology, and genetics of insects and their relatives.

AND WHEREAS, no meaningful or significant controversy exists within the biological sciences — entomology included — about the centrality and legitimacy of evolutionary theory. Ongoing study and refinement of evolutionary theory are reflections of the manner in which all areas of science advance.

AND WHEREAS, in contrast, intelligent design — with its central tenet of irreducible complexity (i.e., aspects of living systems are too complex to ascribe to biological processes and therefore must have been designed by some intelligent force) — is neither predictive nor falsifiable and therefore does not meet the standards of science. Accordingly, intelligent design has no utility in entomology and — for the same reason — has no legitimate place in science classrooms at any level of instruction.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that for the United States to remain intellectually and economically competitive in the 21st century, its science must be conducted according to time-tested and globally acceptable standards. Evolutionary theory meets those standards and provides the foundation on which the biological sciences can most productively continue to advance. We should expect no less in the quality of science education in this country.

Entomological Society of Canada (2005) *

Whereas, entomological science is firmly based on the theory of evolution by natural selection, which is the robust, well-proven and congruent foundation of biological science, and

Whereas, proponents of Creationism and so-called Intelligent Design have promoted the teaching in public schools of explanations of natural phenomena based on religious faith or political positions, while denying evolutionary theory, without offering evidence of convincing arguments, and

Whereas, Creationism and Intelligent Design further undermine science education in general, by presenting misleading arguments, invalid methods, and false definitions, for example regarding what constitutes theory, fact, and hypothesis, and

Whereas, scientific organizations have a duty to maintain the high quality of science in research, education and service to society,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Entomological Society of Canada, like other scientific societies and their members, affirms that the body of knowledge referred to as the theory of evolution is the foundation and unifying principle of biological sciences, and further that the Entomological Society of Canada opposes policies that would allow the teaching of Intelligent Design and other faith-based beliefs in public school sciences classes.

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Representing 22 professional societies and 84,000 scientists in disciplines that range from single molecules to public health, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) affirms that instruction in science is an essential component of education. Science education has become increasingly important in driving innovation and discovery, and in enabling citizens to make informed decisions and to compete in the 21st century workplace. For these reasons, it is critical to preserve the integrity of science education by opposing the mandatory teaching in science classes of creationism, intelligent design, and other concepts not based on sound scientific principles.

Proponents for non-scientific accounts of the development of life, including creationism and intelligent design, contend that evolution alone should not be taught in science classes. Arguing that evolution is "just a theory," rather than a fact, they insist that intelligent design should be offered as an alternative to evolution or given "equal time", and that schools should "teach the controversy" surrounding evolutionary theory.

FASEB does not support these views. We also affirm that these positions seriously undermine science education.

In science, a theory is a coherent explanation of natural phenomena based on direct observation or experimentation. Theories are logical, predictive, and testable. They are open to criticism and when shown to be false, they are modified or dismissed. Using this definition, evolution is categorized with other scientific theories such as gravity or atomic theory, which, like evolution, are universally accepted among scientists.

Evolution is among the most thoroughly tested theories in the biological sciences. It is supported by volumes of scientific evidence in numerous fields, including genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, comparative anatomy, immunology, geology, and paleontology. Moreover, evolution lays the foundation for much of what we know about genetics, immunology, antibiotic resistance, human origins, and the adaptation of species to a changing environment. Removing evolution from the classroom, or misrepresenting evolution as a flawed theory, deprives students of one of the most important tenets of science and the basis of our understanding of biology and medicine, including pandemic influenza and AIDS.

In contrast to evolution, intelligent design and creationism are not science because they fail to meet the essential and necessary requirements: they are not based on direct observation or experimentation nor do they generate testable predictions. Therefore, offering these beliefs as alternatives to evolution or giving them equal time in science classes completely misrepresents the nature of science.

Before information is presented as fact in science textbooks, it is tested, evaluated by experts, published in scientific journals, and considered credible by the broader scientific community. Even alternative ideas should have an evidentiary basis and garner at least limited support by scientists before they are incorporated into textbooks. Allowing intelligent design and creationism to circumvent this rigorous process of scientific scrutiny paves the way for other, poorly studied, pseudoscientific ideas to enter science curricula.

Proposals that call for "teaching the controversy" or singling out evolution for criticism are equally objectionable. While there may be some disagreement about the details of evolution, it is not a controversial theory among scientists. Rather, there is overwhelming scientific consensus that evolution is a valid explanation for the development of species. Although students should be encouraged to think critically about all ideas, introducing false controversy into science classes will ultimately impair science education.

FASEB considers evolution a critical topic in science education and strongly supports the teaching of evolution.

FASEB opposes mandating the introduction of creationism, intelligent design, and other non-scientific concepts into the curricula of science.

FASEB opposes introducing false controversies regarding evolution or other accepted scientific theories into the curricula of science.

FASEB calls upon the scientific community and American citizens to defend science education by opposing initiatives to teach intelligent design, creationism, and other non-scientific beliefs in science class.

Genetics Society of America

The GSA supports educating students in genetics, and consequently feels it important to express its views on the teaching of evolution in elementary and secondary schools. The GSA strongly endorses such teaching, as genetics and evolution are two very closely interwoven disciplines. In fact, evolution might be summarized as population genetics over time. Some people have been opposed to the teaching of evolution because "it is only a theory." Such opposition rests on a mistaken understanding of what defines a scientific theory.

Science operates first by observation, and then by developing a hypothesis as a preliminary explanation of the data. A theory is a hypothesis that has been subsequently confirmed by abundant, consistent data obtained from tests of the hypothesis. The theory of evolution by natural selection is exactly such a confirmed hypothesis, as developed through the ongoing investigation and understanding of many different areas of biological, chemical, physical and earth science. As such, it is modifiable and constantly refined as new research and information come to light. Without evolutionary theory, we would be forced to completely discard much of what we understand about fields such as genetics, botany, zoology, paleontology, and anthropology.

"Scientific creationism," "intelligent design," and other terms have been offered as alternate explanations for past and present biological processes. However, these represent a collection of beliefs based on a literal interpretation of religious texts, and are thus disguises for religious doctrine, and not scientific theories. They ignore the empirical data around us and fail to provide a testable hypothesis. Consequently, since no testable explanation for biological history has been provided, they cannot be considered scientific theories, and should not be part of school curricula.

As evolution is the only scientific theory to explain the biological history of life and as the GSA supports the education of students in genetics, the GSA hereby endorses the teaching of the facts and theory of evolution at all levels, including in elementary and secondary schools.

Geological Society of America (1983)

The Geological Society of America believes in the importance of using scientific documentation and reasoning. Biological evolution is a particularly impressive example of a principle derived in this way; we geologists find incontrovertible evidence in the rocks that life has existed here on Earth for several billions of years and that it has evolved through time. Although scientists debate the mechanism that produced this change, the evidence for the change itself is undeniable.

The ideas of "creationism," on the other hand, lack any similar body of supporting evidence. We oppose including creationism in science courses in public schools on the grounds that its conclusions were not obtained using scientific methods. Creationism weakens the emphasis on scientific reasoning that is essential to the continued advancement of scientific knowledge.

Geological Society of America (2001)

Contributors: Steven M. Stanley — Chair, Patricia Kelley, Richard Bambach, George Fisher, James Skehan, Don Wise, David Dunn.

The Geological Society of America recognizes that the evolution of life stands as one of the central concepts of modern science. Research in numerous fields of science during the past two centuries has produced an increasingly detailed picture of how life has evolved on Earth.

The rock record is a treasure trove of fossils, and by 1841, eighteen years before Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, geologists had not only assembled much of the geologic time scale from physical relationships among bodies of rock, but they had also recognized that fossils document profound changes in life throughout Earth's history. Darwin showed that biological evolution provides an explanation for these changes. Since the time of Darwin, geologists have continued to uncover details of life's history, and biologists have continued to elucidate the process of evolution. Thus, our understanding of life's evolution has expanded through diverse kinds of research, much of it in fields unknown to Darwin such as genetics, biochemistry, and micropaleontology. In short, the concept of organic evolution has not only withstood the test of time — the ultimate test of any scientific construct — but it has been greatly enriched.

In recent years, certain individuals motivated by religious views have mounted an attack on evolution. This group favors what it calls "creation science", which is not really science at all because it invokes supernatural phenomena. Science, in contrast, is based on observations of the natural world. All beliefs that entail supernatural creation, including the idea known as intelligent design, fall within the domain of religion rather than science. For this reason, they must be excluded from science courses in our public schools.

This separation of domains does not mean that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. Many scientists who conduct research on the evolution of life are religious, and many major religions formally accept the importance of biological evolution.

Misinterpreting the Bible's creation narratives as scientific statements, many creationists go so far as to attack the validity of geologic time — time that extends back billions of years. "Deep time" is the foundation of modern geology. It was actually well established, though not quantified, by geologists decades before Darwin published his ideas or most scientists came to accept evolution as the explanation for the history of life. Furthermore, thousands of geologists employing many new modes of research refined the geologic time scale during the Twentieth Century. Near the start of that century, the discovery of naturally occurring radioactive substances provided clocks for measuring actual ages for segments of the geologic record. Today, some billion-year-old rocks can be dated with a precision of less than a tenth of one percent. Moreover, modern geologists can identify particular environments where sediments that are now rocks accumulated hundreds of millions of years ago: margins of ancient oceans where tides rose and fell, for example, and valley floors across which rivers meandered back and forth, and ancient reefs that grew to thicknesses of hundreds of meters but were built by organisms that could not have grown faster than a few millimeters a year. By studying the fossil record that forms part of this rich archive of Earth's history, paleontologists continue to uncover details of the long and complex history of life.

Acceptance of deep time is not confined to academic science. If commercial geologists could find more fossil fuel by interpreting the rock record as having resulted from a single flood or otherwise encompassing no more than a few thousand years, they would surely accept this unconventional view, but they do not. In fact, these profit-oriented geologists have joined with academic researchers in refining the standard geologic time scale and bringing to light the details of deep earth history.

Modern studies of the evolution of Earth and its life are not only aiding us in the search for natural resources, but also helping us to understand how the Earth-life system functions. Annual layers of ice in the Greenland glacier, for example, range back more than a hundred thousand years. These ice records warn that Earth's climate may change with devastating speed in the future. The geologic record also reveals how various forms of life have responded to past environmental change, sometimes migrating, sometimes evolving, and sometimes becoming extinct. In the present world, bacteria are now evolving rapidly in ways that render antibiotics ineffective; to respond to bacterial evolution, we must understand evolution in general.

The immensity of geologic time and the evolutionary origin of species are concepts that pervade modern geology and biology. These concepts must therefore be central themes of science courses in public schools; creationist ideas have no place in these courses because they are based on religion rather than science. Without knowledge of deep time and the evolution of life, students will not understand where they and their world have come from, and they will lack valuable insight for making decisions about the future of their species and its environment.

Geological Society of America (2009) *

Position Statement

The Geological Society of America strongly supports teaching evolution and the directly related concept of deep time as part of science curricula. GSA opposes teaching creationism alongside evolution in any science classroom. The evolution of life on Earth stands as one of the central concepts of modern science. During the past two centuries, research in geology, paleontology, and biology has produced an increasingly detailed and consistent picture of how life on Earth has evolved.

Science, by definition, is a method of learning about the natural universe by asking questions in such a way that they can be answered empirically and verifiably. If a question cannot be framed so that the answer can be tested, and the test results can be reproduced by others, then it is not science. Creationism, whether in its earlier form as creation "science" or its more recent guise of intelligent design, attempts to explain complicated phenomena of the natural world by invoking a creator or designer. Creationism is not science because it invokes supernatural phenomena that cannot be tested. It therefore has no place in a science curriculum. Because science is limited to explaining natural phenomena through the use of empirical evidence, it cannot provide religious or ultimate explanations. Science teachers should not advocate any religions interpretations of nature and should be nonjudgmental about the personal beliefs of students.

Purpose

This position statement (1) summarizes GSA's views regarding the teaching of evolution; (2) defines evolution and discusses the physical and biological evidence for evolution; (3) describes the concepts of intelligent design and creation science, and why they are not science; and (4) provides a communications tool for GSA member use.

Rationale

The rock record provides a treasure trove of fossils, and by the early 1800s, geologists had used physical relationships among rocks to establish the basis for the geologic time scale. They understood that the fossil record shows major changes in life forms over time. In 1859, Darwin's On the Origin of Species showed that these changes can be explained by natural selection operating on random variations in organisms — the process we now know as biological evolution. Since then, we have continued to uncover details of life's history, and biologists have elucidated the genetic and molecular basis for evolution. Evolution is not a static idea but a growing concept added to by scientific observation, testing, and debate. Scientific discoveries in these fields and related disciplines have progressively sharpened our understanding of evolution, which is now well established as a well-tested fact. Evolution is accepted by the scientific community because all available evidence supports the central conclusions of evolutionary science: that life on Earth has evolved and species share common ancestors and genomes.

The discovery of radioactivity in the twentieth century and its use for measuring ages of rocks has made it possible to quantify the age of Earth and to estimate rates of many geologic processes. Many rocks of over a billion years in age can now be dated with great precision. The ages of many rocks have been confirmed by repeated tests in multiple laboratories, often using different isotopic decay schemes. The results are consistent with the processes that uplift the land and cause the erosion and deposition of sediments. Geologists can now identify rocks that record hundreds of millions of years of sedimentation by the slow layer-by-layer accumulation of mud, the rhythmic rise and fall of tides on ancient continental margins, or the slow back-and-forth meandering of rivers in ancient valleys. Organisms that grow only a few millimeters each year have formed reefs hundreds of meters thick. Additionally, techniques that date more recent deposits have been repeatedly and accurately compared to known historical events.

Studies of Earth's history, including the evolution of life on Earth, aid not only in the search for natural resources, but also in the quest to understand how the Earth-life system functions. The geologic record reveals how forms of life have responded to past environmental change, sometimes migrating, sometimes evolving, and sometimes becoming extinct. Understanding evolution has made possible many of the medical advances that save human lives and has furthered agricultural developments that feed the world.

The short-term adaptive evolution demonstrated by the ability of viruses to evolve and adapt to new vaccines, or simply to new environmental conditions, is readily comparable to longer-termed evolution of more advanced species.

From before the time of Darwin, some people have objected to and challenged those findings of science that were considered to conflict with certain traditional religious beliefs about creation. Creation "science" and intelligent design have emerged from religious thought, and because they invoke supernatural phenomena, they cannot frame questions that can be tested scientifically. Therefore, by definition, the notions of creation "science" and intelligent design are not science. The immensity of geologic time and the evolutionary origin of species are concepts that pervade modern geology, biology, and other sciences that support human life. These concepts must therefore be treated as central themes of science courses. Without an adequate knowledge of geologic time and the evolutionary origin of species, students will not understand the processes that shape the natural environment in which they live. As a result, they will lack the understanding that is essential for making wise decisions regarding the environment upon which our survival depends.

Recommendations

  • The Geological Society of America encourages use of this position statement in dialogue about teaching evolution in schools. GSA members may want also want to refer to a GSA publication entitled The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method (www.geosociety.org/educate/NatureScience.pdf).
  • Evolution and the directly related concept of deep time must be part of science curricula at all levels, including K-12, college, and post-graduate education.
  • Creationism, whether in its earlier form as creation "science" or its more recent guise of intelligent design, has no place in a science curriculum and should not be taught alongside evolution in any science classroom.

Geological Society of Australia (2008) *

The Geological Society of Australia observes a basic policy of non-discrimination and affirms the right of scientists to adhere to or associate with scientific activity without restrictions based on nationality, race, colour, age, religion, political philosophy, ethnic origin, citizenship, language or sex. The Society endorses the universality of science within the natural world.

Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature. Science seeks to explain natural phenomena using natural laws, verifiable and reproducible observations and logical analysis; it reaches explanations that are always subject to amendment with new evidence.

The Geological Society of Australia considers that notions such as Fundamental Creationism, including so called "Flood Geology", which disregard scientific evidence such as that based on repeatable observations in the natural world and the geological record, are not science and cannot be taught as science.

An essential element in the teaching of science is the encouragement of students and teachers to critically appraise the evidence for notions being taught as science. The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.

In some parts of Australia, the advocacy of notions like Creationism is confronting the integrity and effectiveness of our national education system and the hard-won evidence based foundations of science. The Geological Society of Australia cannot remain silent. To do so would be a dereliction of our responsibility to intellectual freedom and to the fundamental principles of scientific thought. As a consequence, the Society dissociates itself from Creationist statements made by any member.

This Policy statement sets out the views of a learned Society dedicated to scientific investigation in earth science, including research, resources exploration, and education. It is made with the agreement of the Society's Executive Committee and the below-listed Past Presidents of the Society, which are taken collectively to reasonably represent the sustaining wisdom of the Society in this matter.

Presidential Endorsements
Prof A J Gleadow (2006-2008)
Prof A J Crawford (2004-2006)
Prof J D Foden (2002-2004)
Prof E C Leitch (2000-2002)
Prof R A Henderson (1998-2000)
Dr D Denham (1996-1998)
Prof D I Groves (1994-1996)
Mr P J Legge (1992-1994)
Prof D H Green (1990-1992)
Mr I R Johnson (1988-1990)
Prof D M Boyd (1986-1988)
Dr J B Waterhouse (1984-1986)
Dr M J Rickard (1983-1984)
Dr R D Gee (1981-1983)
Dr C D Branch (1980-1981)
Prof J F Lovering AO (1978-1980)
Prof S W Carey (1977-1978)
Dr N H Ludbrook (1968-1969)
Dr M R Banks (1966-1967)
Dr J A Dulhunty (1964-1965)
Dr N H Fisher (1959-1961)
Prof R T Prider (1958-1959)

* ‘Creationism’ includes 'Intelligent Design’.

Geological Society of Australia

The Geological Society of Australia observes a basic policy of non-discrimination and affirms the right of scientists to adhere to or associate with scientific activity without restrictions based on nationality, race, colour, age, religion, political philosophy, ethnic origin, citizenship, language or sex. The Society endorses the universality of science within the natural world.

Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature. Science seeks to explain natural phenomena using natural laws, verifiable and reproducible observations and logical analysis; it reaches explanations which are always subject to amendment with new evidence.

The Geological Society of Australia considers that notions such as Fundamental Creationism, including so called "Flood Geology", which disregard scientific evidence such as that based on repeatable observations in the natural world and the geological record, are not science and cannot be taught as science.

An essential element in the teaching of science is the encouragement of students and teachers to critically appraise the evidence for notions being taught as science. The Society states unequivocally that the dogmatic teaching of notions such as Creationism within a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of objective public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.

In some parts of Australia the advocacy of notions like Creationism are confronting the integrity and effectiveness of our national education system and the hard-won evidence-based foundations of science. The Geological Society of Australia cannot remain silent. To do so would be a dereliction of our responsibility to intellectual freedom and to the fundamental principles of scientific thought.

As a consequence, the Society dissociates itself from Creationist statements made by any member.

This Policy statement sets out the views of a learned Society dedicated to scientific investigation in earth science, including research, resources exploration, and education. It is made with the agreement of the Society's Executive Committee and the below-listed Past Presidents of the Society which are taken collectively to reasonably represent the sustaining wisdom of the Society in this matter.

Geological Society of London *

This Society upholds the right of freedom of belief for all. The freedom scientists enjoy to investigate the nature and history of the Earth is the same freedom that allows individuals to believe — or not — in a deity.

Science's business is to investigate the constitution of the universe, and cannot pronounce on any concept that lies "beyond" nature. This is the meaning of “agnostic”, the word coined by former GSL President Thomas Henry Huxley, to describe a scientist’s position of being “unable to know”. This Society has therefore long operated according to the view that religion and science only become incompatible with each other when one attempts to trespass upon the domain of the other.

The idea that the Earth was divinely created in the geologically recent past ("Young Earth Creationism"); attempts by Young Earth Creationists to gain acceptance for what they misrepresent in public as corroborative empirical evidence for this view ("Creation science"); and the allied belief that features of the universe and of living things are better explained as the direct result of action by an intelligent cause than by natural processes ("Intelligent Design"), represent such a trespass upon the domain of science.

The Geological Society of London is the oldest national learned society for the Earth sciences in the world, and embodies the collective knowledge of nearly 10,000 Earth scientists worldwide. On their behalf it wishes, during the United Nations International Year of Planet Earth, to place on record the following facts as being long established beyond doubt.

  • Planet Earth, along with the other planets in the Solar System, was formed approximately 4560 million years ago.
  • Life has existed on Earth for thousands of millions of years. It has evolved into its current form by a combination of genetic variation and natural selection — and is likely to go on doing so for as long as it continues to exist.
  • Close study of the structure and organisation of living animals and plants clearly indicates their common ancestry, and the succession of forms through the fossil record, as well as the genetic record contained in every living organism, provides powerful evidence of the reality of evolution.

Further information

  • For a statement on this subject by the Royal Society, the UK national academy of science, go to http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/news.asp?year=&id=4298
  • For a recently updated (2008) version of the US National Academy of Sciences booklet Science, Evolution and Creationism, go to: www.nap.edu/sec. This document will tell you what is and is not science, summarises the scientific evidence for evolution by natural selection, and highlights repeatedly how leading religious figures have spoken out in favour of evolution as being consistent with their world-view.
  • For a statement on Intelligent Design issued by the International Society for Science and Religion, the main academic international society dedicated to the relationship between science and religion, see www.issr.org.uk/id-statement.asp.
  • For an account of evolutionary knowledge, see vertebrate palaeontologist Prof. Kevin Padian's evidence, given in trial (Kitzmiller v Dover): http://tinyurl.com/2nlgar. This destroys the bases of young-Earth creationists' assertions regarding critical gaps in the fossil record.
  • For a clear account of evolution given by one of the world’s leading geneticists, showing how it is compatible with religious belief, see The Language of God by Francis Collins (Free Press, 2006). Francis Collins is Head of the Human Genome Project.
  • Alexander, D. & White, R. S. (2004). Beyond Belief: Science, Faith and Ethical Challenges, Lion, Oxford, 219pp. Gives an accessible account of science and its interaction with religious views, including sections on evolution (with a critique of intelligent design), the age of the Earth and global environmental issues.
  • Gould, Stephen J. 1999. Non-overlapping magisteria. A succinct and entertaining exposition of the lack of conflict between science and non-literalist religious thought. Published in: Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms. Jonathan Cape, pp269-283.
  • Pope Pius XII 1950, Papal Encyclical Humani Generis

Georgia Academy of Science (1980)

Whereas members of the Georgia Academy of Science are duly trained in their respective scientific disciplines by years of education and experience, and

Whereas members of the Georgia Academy of Science have considered creationism in light of their scientific experience and religious beliefs, and

Whereas members of the Georgia Academy of Science have the following concerns about creationism:

  1. Philosophically, "scientific creationism" or "divine creationism" is not based upon objectively gathered data and testing of the model as required by science.
  2. Legally, the required teaching of "creationism" might violate the separation of religion and state. It would definitely establish precedent for the legal inclusion of creation narratives of many religions into the science curriculum. The precedent would also be set for other groups to make demands for modifications in the curriculum of disciplines other than science.
  3. Pedagogically, problems could result by requiring science teachers to teach as science a model of divine creationism in which they have not been trained. Moreover, various local groups might demand that divine creation be taught according to their own religious beliefs.
Be it, therefore, resolved that the members of the Georgia Academy of Science oppose the teaching of "creationism" in the science curriculum.

Georgia Academy of Science (1982)

The great majority of scientists and teachers of science in the primary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities of Georgia are both evolutionists and Christians, or Jews, or adherents to some other religious preference. A few may adhere to no religion. In a pluralistic society students represent a comparable religious spectrum.

Based upon overwhelming scientifically verifiable evidence to date, most scientists, regardless of religious preference, think that the earth and all forms of life evolved over a period of several billion years. Evolution can be viewed as a creative process continuing over long periods of time. The extensive evidence of evolution is not in opposition to the variety of religious concepts or creation by a supreme being. The causative beginning of primeval appearance of matter or life in our universe is not at issue. The evidence of evolution does not claim to reveal the primal source of energy, matter, or life. The latter is a question which is addressed by the various religions outside the walls of our publicly funded educational institutions.

On January 5, 1982, U.S. Circuit Court Judge William R. Overton ruled Arkansas' "Balanced Treatment for CreationScience and EvolutionScience" Act to be a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. The Act had the advancement of religion as its primary goal, in his opinion. A month later, the attorney general of Arkansas announced his decision not to appeal Overton's opinion because the state had little chance of winning in higher federal court. The plaintiffs in this landmark case included components of the Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic churches, in addition to the American Jewish Congress, and the Union of Hebrew Congregations. Other plaintiffs included the Arkansas Education Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the National Coalition for Public Education and Religious Liberty.

The Georgia Academy of Science concurs with the following resolution adopted in January of 1982 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) pertaining to the Forced Teaching of Creationist Beliefs in Public School Science Education: AAAS 1982 Statement.

Georgia Academy of Science (2003)

Whereas, the Georgia Academy of Science, established in 1922 and affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has as its purpose "the promotion of the interests of science, particularly in Georgia";

Whereas, opponents of evolution, including proponents of so-called "intelligent design theory," have attempted to circumscribe the teaching of evolution in public schools in Georgia;

Whereas, the AAAS Board of Directors has issued a resolution on "intelligent design theory," stating that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called "intelligent design theory" makes it improper to include as a part of science education; that AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of "intelligent design theory" as a part of the science curricula of the public schools; that AAAS calls upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of "intelligent design theory" as subject matter for science education; and that AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government;

And whereas, the Georgia Academy of Science has previously addressed issues surrounding the teaching of evolution (in 1980 and in 1982);

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Georgia Academy of Science endorses the AAAS Board resolution on "intelligent design theory";

Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that the Georgia Academy of Science publishes this resolution in the Georgia Journal of Science, that it shares this resolution with members of the Georgia Junior Academy of Science, and that it communicates this resolution to appropriate parties at the state and local levels.

History of Science Society

The history of science can teach us much about the nature and development of science over time. As the National Academy of Sciences explains in its National Science Education Standards, "In learning science, students need to understand that science reflects its history and is an ongoing, changing enterprise. The standards for the history and nature of science recommend the use of history in school science programs to clarify different aspects of scientific inquiry, the human aspects of science, and the role that science has played in the development of various cultures."

The History of Science Society endorses this view, developed as part of a process that involved over 18,000 scientists and all the major scientific organizations and funding agencies. The history of science helps us understand scientific processes and is important for informing the way that science is used publicly, for example, in the courts and in the development of educational standards in those states and countries that have chosen to develop such standards for their public schools. In such cases it is important to draw on the best available understanding of science and its social context.

Recent discussions about educational standards in public schools have focused on the teaching of evolution and related issues. The history of science shows that such concepts as evolution and geological change are well established and belong in science curricula along with other basic scientific ideas. The history of science has generated a rich literature exploring the development of these concepts as well as the relationship between science and religion; this discussion is available to inform ongoing public discussion.

In view of this historical perspective, the History of Science Society disapproves of recent efforts by state school boards effectively to remove evolution as a subject from the secondary school curriculum, either through textbook disclaimers or censorship. Such efforts will only hinder students from developing a historical appreciation for science as a process of intellectual inquiry and from understanding the place of science in society, both past and present.

The History of Science Society, which explores the nature of science and scientific change, provides a valuable resource of over 2,900 members, many of whom are available to serve as consultants in public arenas. Through its publications and other activities, the Society provides scholars, decision makers, educators, and the public with historical perspectives on science policy and on the potentials, achievements, and the limitations of basic and applied science.

Idaho Scientists for Quality Science Education

As scientists, employed in the State of Idaho, we are very concerned and deeply committed to maintaining the integrity and quality of science education in Idaho. As such, we wish to advise the Legislative Committee that we strongly support the exiting standards for science in general and evolution in particular as they are presently written. We also highly commend the State Board of Education for approving these standards by a majority vote of seven to one–an endorsement for good science that few states can match.

At a time when Idaho is trying to move from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, it is imperative that the State of Idaho strive to achieve the best education possible for its students. Recently, in recognition of the importance of science, Governor Dirk Kempthorne appointed a special science adviser. As Idaho moves forward confidently to the 21st century we must ensure that our students receive the best science education possible. Teaching the theory of evolution, like teaching the theory of gravitation, is an excellent way to make that happen.

The Theory of Evolution ranks as one of the great discoveries in the intellectual history of science. Its impact on biology is analogous to that of Newton's law on physics, Copernicus' heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the universe on astronomy and the theory of plate tectonics on geology. As defined by the National Academy of Sciences (1999), "biological evolution concerns changes in living things during the history of life on Earth. It explains that living things share common ancestors. Over time, biological processes such as natural selection give rise to new species."

The National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, has noted that "the teaching science in the nation's public schools often is marred by a serious omission. Many students receive little or no exposure to the most important concept in modern biology, a concept essential to understanding key aspects of living things – biological evolution."

Understanding the theory of evolution is crucial in the development of new drugs to fight microbial infections. The theory of evolution, in its broadest sense, unites such disparate disciplines as cosmology, astronomy, anthropology, biology, physics, chemistry, and geology. The fossil evidence alone supports the theory that life has evolved over billions of years from simpler to more complex organisms. Mainstream American religious organizations spanning Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have supported the teaching of evolution in science classes. These religious organizations see in evolution the wonder of their Creator's work. U.S. courts have consistently ruled that teaching creationism amounts to inflicting a narrow, unscientific religious dogma into the public schools, which is contrary to the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions.

Biological evolution accounts for three of the most fundamental features of the world around us: the similarities among living things, the diversity of life, and many features of the physical world we inhabit. Evidence for biological evolution comes from all parts of biology (molecular biology, comparative anatomy, biodiversity, and embryology), geology, paleontology, biochemistry, and physics. Thus, evolution is the central organizing principle that biologists use to understand the natural world. As Time magazine (12/31/99) recently said, "Yet Darwinism remains one of the most successful scientific theories ever promulgated. There is hardly an element of humanity–not capitalism, not gender relations, certainly not biology–that can be fully understood without its help."

In conclusion, we heartily support the teaching of scientifically accepted concepts in science, including the theory of evolution in Idaho's public schools.

Indiana Academy of Science (2006)*

Whereas science is defined as and limited to explanations based on natural, observable and testable phenomena and, therefore, is explicitly distinguished from other types of explanations that depend on concepts relating to the supernatural (for example,” intelligent design”, “creation science", and” informed debate” paradigms); and

Whereas, learning and inquiry are severely inhibited if teachers are placed in a position where they may feel pressured to alter their teaching of the fundamental concepts of science in response to demands external to scientific disciplines; and,

Whereas, evolution theory is fundamental to a thorough understanding of biological concepts as reflected in the Indiana teaching standards,

Therefore be it resolved that the Indiana Academy of Science, as a part of its commitment to educational excellence in science instruction, opposes any restriction or imposition on the teaching of biological and cosmic evolution in the curricula of Indiana's educational institutions.

Explanation:

Indiana scientists and educators recognize the critical importance of a strong grounding in the fundamental principles of science for all of Indiana's youths. The extensive reasoning and consideration that has gone into the official position of the Indiana Academy of Science on this issue (described in the resolution above) parallels that of all significant scientific and science education organizations across North America. If you are interested in more details on the justification for this important and unanimous stance across these institutions, we strongly recommend that you go to the WWW links provided below for the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Teachers Association and the National Center for Science Education.

These organizations provide helpful background information on science, science education, and the distinction between scientific and supernatural explanations of life. The fact that this information is typically highlighted on the front pages of their web sites is an indication of the importance placed on this issue. The Indiana Academy of Science fully endorses the resolutions and policies of these prominent institutions in order to promote instruction in science unencumbered by non-scientific explanations of life and the cosmos.

http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/#statements

http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/evolution/

http://www.natcenscied.org/

InterAcademy Panel

We, the undersigned Academies of Sciences, have learned that in various parts of the world, within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science. We urge decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature. Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet.

We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

2. Since its formation, the Earth – its geology and its environments – has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen that we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.

We also subscribe to the following statement regarding the nature of science in relation to the teaching of evolution and, more generally, of any field of scientific knowledge:

Scientific knowledge derives from a mode of inquiry into the nature of the universe that has been successful and of great consequence. Science focuses on (i) observing the natural world and (ii) formulating testable and refutable hypotheses to derive deeper explanations for observable phenomena. When evidence is sufficiently compelling, scientific theories are developed that account for and explain that evidence, and predict the likely structure or process of still unobserved phenomena.

Human understanding of value and purpose are outside of natural science’s scope. However, a number of components – scientific, social, philosophical, religious, cultural and political – contribute to it. These different fields owe each other mutual consideration, while being fully aware of their own areas of action and their limitations.

While acknowledging current limitations, science is open ended, and subject to correction and expansion as new theoretical and empirical understanding emerges.

1. Albanian Academy of Sciences
2. National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, Argentina
3. Australian Academy of Science
4. Austrian Academy of Sciences
5. Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
6. The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium
7. Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina
8. Brazilian Academy of Sciences
9. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
10. RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada
11. Academia Chilena de Ciencias
12. Chinese Academy of Sciences
13. Academia Sinica, China, Taiwan
14. Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences
15. Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences
16. Cuban Academy of Sciences
17. Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
18. Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
19. Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt
20. Académie des Sciences, France
21. Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities
22. The Academy of Athens, Greece
23. Hungarian Academy of Sciences
24. Indian National Science Academy
25. Indonesian Academy of Sciences
26. Academy of Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran
27. Royal Irish Academy
28. Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
29. Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy
30. Science Council of Japan
31. Kenya National Academy of Sciences
32. National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic
33. Latvian Academy of Sciences
34. Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
35. Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
36. Academia Mexicana de Ciencias
37. Mongolian Academy of Sciences
38. Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco
39. The Royal Netherlands, Academy of Arts and Sciences
40. Academy Council of th, e Royal Society of New Zealand
41. Nigerian Academy of Sciences
42. Pakistan Academy of Sciences
43. Palestine Academy for Science and Technology
44. Academia Nacional de Ciencias del Peru
45. National Academy of Science and Technology, The Philippines
46. Polish Academy of Sciences
47. Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal
48. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
49. Singapore National Academy of Sciences
50. Slovak Academy of Sciences
51. Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
52. Academy of Science of South Africa
53. Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain
54. National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka
55. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
56. Council of the Swiss Scientific Academies
57. Academy of Sciences, Republic of Tajikistan
58. The Caribbean Academy of Sciences
59. Turkish Academy of Sciences
60. The Uganda National Academy of Sciences
61. The Royal Society, UK
62. US National Academy of Sciences
63. Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences
64. Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales de Venezuela
65. Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences
66. African Academy of Sciences
67. The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
68. The Executive Board of the International Council for Science (ICSU)

Iowa Academy of Science (1981)

Current attempts to introduce "scientific creationism" into the science classroom are strongly opposed by The Iowa Academy of Science on the grounds that creationism when called "scientific" is a religious doctrine posed as science. It is contrary to the nature of science to propose supernatural explanations of natural events or their origins. With its appeal to the supernatural, creationism is outside the realm of science.

Creationist organizations that are advocating the teaching of "scientific creationism" in science classrooms include members purported to be scientists who have examined the evidence and have found creationism to be a superior alternative to evolution. They claim to know of evidence that supports the idea of a young earth and that shows evolution to be impossible. Much of this "evidence" is inaccurate, out of date, and not accepted by recognized paleontologists and biologists. The total membership of these "scientific" creationist groups constitutes only a fraction of one percent of the scientific personnel in this country. Most of them are not trained in biology or geology, the areas in which professional judgments are made in the field of evolutionary theory. They often misrepresent the positions of respected scientists and quote them out of context to support their own views before audiences and government bodies. They are driven by the notion that all explanations of natural events must conform to their preconceived creationist views. These tactics are used to give the uninformed public the false impression that science itself is confused. Then a supernatural explanation is proposed to bring order out of apparent chaos.

The Iowa Academy of Science urges legislators, school administrators, and the general public not to be misled by the tactics of these socalled "scientific creationists." The Academy respects the right of persons to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those which reject evolution, but only as matters of theology or faith, not as secular science. Creationism is not science and the Academy deplores and opposes any attempt to disguise it as science. Most recognized scientists find no conflict between religious faith and acceptance of evolution. They do not view evolution as being antireligious. They have no vested interest in supporting evolution as do the "scientific creationists" in supporting creationism, but merely consider evolution as being most consistent with the best evidence.

The Iowa Academy of Science feels strongly that the distinction between science and religion must be maintained. A state with one of the highest literacy rates and with the highest scientific literacy scores in the nation, and one which prides itself on the individuality of its citizens, should discriminate in its public education system between what is science and what is not science.

Iowa Academy of Science (1986)

The Iowa Academy of Science strongly opposes the public promotion of pseudoscience, whether through the media, the legislature, or classrooms of accredited educational institutions of Iowa.

"Pseudoscience" is a catch-all term for any mistaken or unsupported beliefs that are cloaked in the disguise of scientific credibility. Examples include ass, er, tions of scientific creationism, the control of ac,, tion, s at a distance through meditation, and the belief in levitation, astrology, or UFO visitors. While the IAS opposes the promotion of such beliefs, it does not oppose critical examination of them, either in the public media or in classrooms. Indeed, there is much to be learned from critical examination of pseudoscience.

One main concern is public confusion over what science is and what it is not. This cannot be resolved merely by contriving tighter definitions of science or its methods. In fact, authoritative definitions inadvertently provide a model that counterfeiters need in order to better fashion their "cloaks of scientific credibility". To clear up the confusion between real and bogus science we must focus not on their definitions, but on their differences.

In contrast to pseudoscientists, scientists seek out, expose, and correct any logical fallacies or others errors which could weaken their theories or interpretations. To assure complete scrutiny, open criticism is not only tolerated but often rewarded, particularly when it results in significant revisions of established views. The debate is held in refereed scientific journals and in meetings, and anyone, well-known or not, can submit pro or con arguments for publication or presentation before peers.

By contrast, open criticism is not welcomed by pseudoscientists. They usually avoid publishing in refereed scientific journals, and subsequently their theories are not self-correcting; thus they fail to experience the progressive changes characteristic of science. Astrology and creationism, for example, have experienced nothing comparable to Copernican or Darwinian revolutions (paradigm shifts) which have occurred in astronomy and biology.

The Iowa Academy of Science is prepared to assist citizens, teachers, public officials and the media who seek information on issues involving science and pseudoscience.

Iowa Academy of Science (2000)

Current attempts to introduce "scientific creationism", "creationism", or the Judeo-Christian biblical account of creation, as well as to reframe the discussion around terms such as "abrupt appearance theory", "intelligent design theory", or other disguised forms of creationism into the science classroom along with or instead of evolutionary science are strongly opposed by The Iowa Academy of Science on the grounds that creationism, in whatever form, is a religious doctrine and not science.

Creationist organizations that are advocating the teaching of "scientific creationism" or equal time for creationism along with evolution in the science classrooms include members purported to be scientists who have examined the evidence and have found creationism to be a superior alternative to evolution. They claim to know of evidence that supports the idea of a young earth and that shows evolution to be impossible. Much of this "evidence" is inaccurate, out of date, and not accepted by recognized paleontologists, geologists, astronomers, and biologists. The total membership of these "scientific" creationist groups constitutes only a fraction of one percent of the scientific personnel in this country, and the major scientific organizations of this country all support evolutionary concepts as valid. Most "scientific creationists", are not trained in biology or geology, the area in which professional judgments are made in the field of evolutionary theory. The "scientific creationists" often misrepresent the positions of respected scientists and quote them out of context to support their own views before audiences and government bodies. They are driven by the notion that all explanations of natural events must conform to their preconceived views. These tactics are used to give the uninformed public the false impression that science itself is confused. Then a supernatural explanation is proposed to bring order out of apparent chaos. Not only are the arguments offered by creationists misrepresentations, they also include distortions and misconception of scientific facts and concepts. This includes the meaning of the word "theory" which scientists use to describe the integrating group of fundamental principles underlying a science. The evidence in support of evolutionary science has accumulated for over one hundred years, and the evidence has been strengthened further by molecular techniques developed since the 1970s. While science continually reexamines and reevaluates theory as new evidence is presented, the basic tenets of evolutionary theory have never been in doubt.

The Iowa Academy of Science urges legislators, school administrators, educators, and the general public not be misled by the tactics of these so-called "scientific creationists." The Academy respects the right of persons to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those that reject evolution, but only as matters of theology or faith, not as secular science. Creationism is not science and the Academy deplores and opposes any attempt to disguise it as science. Most recognized scientists find no conflict between religious faith and the acceptance of evolution. They do not view evolution as being anti-religious. They have no vested interest in supporting evolution as do the "scientific creationists" in supporting creationism, but merely consider evolution as being most consistent with the best evidence.

The Iowa Academy of Science feels strongly that the distinction between science and religion must be maintained. A state with one of the highest literacy rates and with the highest scientific literacy scores in the nation, and one which prides itself on the individuality of its citizens, should discriminate in its public education system between what is science and what is not science.

Kansas Academy of Science

Gregory A. Liggett
Northern California Natural History Museum, College of Natural Sciences, California State University, Chico, Chico, California 95929-0555 and Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas 67601

The Kansas Academy of Sciences, like all scientific organizations, continues to be deeply concerned about an assault against the teaching of science in public schools, particularly the principles of biological evolution. Several years ago Kansas became a national lighting rod of controversy when the State Board of Education voted to approve science standards that deemphasized the teaching of evolution. The whole debate continues to rear its ugly head across the nation.

Over the last year or more, members of the Executive Committee and science supporters of all stripes have offered testimony at public hearings, written letters, and done all the usual time-consuming steps necessary in our democracy to ensure that science education is strong in Kansas. This position statement is just one small part of that ongoing effort.

This paper includes the position statement of the Kansas Academy of Sciences on the teaching of evolution in public schools and two additional parts. The two additional sections move beyond simply stating a position. The first additional section is for school boards at the local, state, and national levels, and was written to provide a non-emotional argument for why this debate should not be happening in a public school forum at the expense of our public school students. Perhaps it will provide school board members some ammunition to defeat measures designed to undermine science education.

The last part is aimed at helping the nonscientist understand the scientific process in general. There is not, of course, space in this short essay to lay out all of scientific history and philosophy, and realistically it will not likely change the minds of those who oppose the scientific understanding of evolution because of deeply held personal beliefs, whatever their origin. The section is presented in the hope of helping those who are genuinely confused by the whole issue, and are willing to be intellectually honest enough to seek a deeper understanding.

Position Statement

The Kansas Academy of Science is a professional organization of scientists representing all areas of scientific inquiry. Science is the systematic, empirical investigation of the natural world. As a group, the Academy clearly asserts that biological evolution, or descent with modification by natural processes, is a central organizing principle in modern biology. As such, the teaching of evolution should be of paramount importance to state and local boards of education to ensure a well-educated and productive citizenry. The Academy strongly supports education standards and efforts that support the teaching of the predominant scientific theories, particularly biological evolution, and opposes any changes that diminish the teaching of science in general.

Message to State and Local Boards of Education

Thank you. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the educational future of our children. Yours is the difficult task of balancing complex budgetary concerns, complying with federal, state, and local guidelines, and making sure that the curricular content offered in schools will ensure that our young people have a solid foundation for lifelong learning and will be educated citizens as adults. Agreeing to serve on a BOE is a selfless sacrifice of your time and energy.

From time to time proposals are made to change, or even eliminate, certain subjects in the school curriculum. Evolution is currently a chief example. Arguments against evolution are often made that in the interest of “fairness” we need to present a “complete” picture to our students, exposing them to “alternative” or “competing” theories to biological evolution. However, ideas that involve a supernatural agent are not scientifically testable, and therefore not scientific. Scientific ideas are complex, with technical contributions from many disciplines, and you may be presented with many scientific-sounding arguments in support of one theory over another. So how can you, as a BOE member and likely a non-scientist, choose the best course of action for the educational wellbeing of our youth?

The fact is that the answer is surprisingly simple. A science school teacher’s job is to present the consensus view of the scientific discipline to students in an age-appropriate manner. Teachers find the consensus views in the articles, text books, and other materials communicated by professional scientists. And professional scientists are united in their acceptance of biological evolution as a powerful, unifying scientific theory.

It is unfair, and even inappropriate, for the BOE or a classroom teacher to be placed in the position of having to decide which of several competing theories in science is the most “correct.” We don’t expect that teachers in other science subjects should take on this task which normally is left to the entire scientific process. Why ask biology teachers to do anything different?

The scientific process continuously tests and evaluates the current prevailing and alternative scientific theories. Every scientific theory is the best current explanation of natural phenomena, and as such is subject to further testing and refinement. That is the scientific process. Therefore, the appropriate venue for challenges and changes to any theory is within the halls of academia and the journals of science—in other words, within the dialogue that encompasses the scientific process. Those who argue that the current theory is not correct should take the discussion up in that appropriate venue, not with the local school BOE or science teacher.

So, please strive to ensure that the prevailing, widely-accepted scientific theories are taught to our children in science class so that they are properly prepared to be competitive and productive in the future. Do not be seduced by false notions of “fairness,” or weaken your resolve to provide the best science education for our children. Allow the scientific process to do its job so you can do yours. Thank you.

The Scientific Process: The Rationale for Support of Biological Evolution

Science is a process that provides for an ever-improving understanding of the physical world. A good example of this is the theory of plate tectonics. Many people living today went to school prior to the conception of plate tectonics theory. In studying the Earth they learned the then-current theory of how mountains were formed and why volcanoes erupted. However, those older ideas have since been supplanted by a new theory, plate tectonics, because it has far more explanatory power than older ideas. Now plate tectonics is a central concept in Earth science, taught at every level.

Use of the scientific method has proven to be a powerful tool in learning about and understanding the physical world around us. Every day we enjoy the fruits of scientific discovery as the basis of technology. Science classes tend to have a lot of facts about the world around us, but those facts are only the stepping stones for scientific ideas, not the process of science itself. Science is a process of discovery, a way of gathering and organizing information into coherent concepts about the world.

The steps of science are familiar, and most people have been introduced to the “scientific method.” Often the method is elucidated as containing the steps of observation, analysis, hypothesis formation, and evaluation of the hypothesis. The method is a guide for systematically framing questions and exploring ideas—a repeated cycle of discovery.

Because information gained in the hypothesis-testing stage can be added to the original data set, the scientific method is self-correcting, and this is among its most powerful attributes. Say we have made observations on a phenomenon that we wish to study. The method helps to guide our actions to form a natural explanation for what we observe, then to devise tests of that explanation. In effect, we seek to disprove our ideas.

After the experiment, if the outcome predicted by our hypothesis is observed, the hypothesis still stands as a possible explanation. If, on the other hand, the expected outcome is not observed, all is not lost. In fact, the potential is there for real progress, because new data has been acquired that did not fit the original hypothesis, allowing for a new, more inclusive hypothesis to be generated that can explain all the observations. In this way the scientific process is cumulative, always adding new bits of knowledge to the pool, and providing self-correcting course changes along our path toward understanding.

Scientists present their results to their peers and to society through a dialogue process in peer-reviewed journals. There the ideas are subjected to critique by other scientists, and suggestions are made and weaknesses and strengths of the new ideas are addressed. Only if the work is a sound contribution to the body of knowledge will it be published. If it has significant flaws, it will not. This provides a checks-and-balances system, and always keeps scientists on their toes.

It recently has been suggested that science is somehow afraid of challenges to cherished theories, that somehow scientists will not admit “alternative” views into the dialogue. Frankly, this is nonsense. Every practicing scientist would relish the chance to “turn the world upside down” with a dramatically better theory. We remember those scientific greats of the past who have done so. Names like Einstein, Newton, and Darwin are household names, all of whom have more “staying” power in our cultural consciousness than the latest pop-star gracing the covers of tabloids.

Science does not shy away from radical ideas—quite the opposite. The fact is that paradigm-altering scientific ideas do not come around often. However, when they do come, they are challenged, tested, and—if proven better than current theories—are ultimately adopted. Do not believe that alternative scientific theories to evolution would threaten a comfortable status quo. If those alternate theories were scientific and had any substance they would come to be embraced if they were better than the current theory. No such scientific theories relative to biological evolution, however, exist at present.

Plate tectonics and biological evolution are examples of ideas that were radical when they were introduced and have come to be embraced, now forming the centers of their sciences because they are more satisfying explanations for the world around us. Tectonics comprehensively explains observed phenomena like earthquakes, volcanoes, and the shape of the continents. Likewise, the biological theory of evolution is strongly supported and robust in its power to explain of the attributes and geographic distribution of living organisms.

The observation that species change over time was not Charles Darwin’s novel concept. Observers of nature had previously noted similarities and differences in living things that suggested close relationships and diversification from common ancestors. In other words, noting that species changed over time was the observation that Darwin was working to understand. What was lacking was a clear explanation of how species could naturally diversify over time.

Darwin’s magnificent contribution was the recognition of natural selection as the process driving the change of living organisms, by which species become highly adapted to their environments. The modern theory of evolution incorporates natural selection and provides a powerful and consistent explanation that unifies all areas of the biological sciences such as ecology, anatomy, systematics, paleontology, genetics, cellular and molecular biology, and biochemistry.

Since Darwin first proposed the idea, the concept of natural selection has been rigorously tested in all the sub-disciplines of biology, and the concept has proven to be a robust unifying theory.

Theories are never complete explanations—they cannot be complete given the nature of scientific discovery. Both plate tectonics and evolution have been, and will continue to be, modified and improved upon from their original conceptions as new data are incorporated into the theories. Indeed, our modern understanding of evolution is significantly different from Darwin’s original outline. For example, because of the period in which he worked, Darwin knew little about genetics and inheritance or the fossil record and geologic time. Advances in those areas have refined the original concept, but have not fundamentally altered its grand contribution to science.

The magnificence of Darwin’s basic concept of natural selection is that it has held up well as new data are added, that it is applicable across biology as a fundamental principle, and that it is congruent with other areas of science. For example, the patterns of species distributions through space and time are consistent with the changing configuration of the continents as explained by plate tectonics. As such, the elucidation of biological evolution is among humankind’s greatest scientific achievements. Evolution should hold a central place in the teaching of biology at all levels of science education.

The fact that we as a nation are even having a debate about teaching evolution in our science classrooms is evidence of the need to strengthen the public’s understanding of science, the scientific process, and what science is not. The scientific method as described above is the tool of choice for unraveling the workings of the physical world around us. Science by definition limits itself to the empirical—that which can be tested, measured, or observed, either with the naked senses or aided by technology. Therefore, the scientific method, by design, cannot address topics which are outside the physical world, namely the religious, esthetic, ethical, and moral realms, and therefore cannot be a threat to those endeavors. Those non-empirical ways of exploring the human experience are not less significant, but we must not allow them to be taught to our children as some twisted definition of science.

Ultimately, the nation’s future economic growth and prosperity, and even our national security, depends on how well we educate our children in general, and in science in particular. We must rise to this challenge. If the United States is to remain a world leader in science and technological development our children need the best possible foundation in science. It starts in the best possible science classrooms.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the Kansas Academy of Science Executive Committee for allowing me to present the unanimous position statement on their behalf. Comments from many people helped clarify and strengthen this paper, including Mike Everhart, Kansas Academy of Science and Fort Hays State University (FHSU) Sternberg Museum of Natural History, and Richard Packauskas, FHSU Department of Biological Sciences. I especially wish to thank Cameron Liggett, FHSU Sternberg Museum of Natural History for significant editorial assistance.

Kentucky Academy of Science

At the annual business meeting of the KAS, on November 11, 2005, the KAS reviewed and reaffirmed past resolutions in support of the teaching of Evolution and unanimously endorsed the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences's "Resolution on Intelligent Design Theory".

The following resolution, already adopted by the Kentucky Academy of Science at the annual business meeting on November 12, 1983, was unanimously approved again at its annual business meeting on November 11, 2005:

Resolution In Support of Evolution

The Kentucky Academy of Science is opposed to any attempt by legislative bodies to mandate specific content of science courses. The content of science courses should be determined by the standards of the scientific community. Science involves a continuing systematic inquiry into the manifold aspects of the biological and material world. It is abased upon testable theories which may change with new data; it cannot include interpretations based on faith or religious dogma. As scientists, we object to attempts to equate "scientific creationism" or "intelligent design" with evolution as scientific explanations of events. Teaching faith-based models implies that these views are equivalent alternatives among scientists; doing so would be misleading to students. "Scientific creationism" and "intelligent design" are not equivalent to evolution. There is overwhelming acceptance by scientists of all disciplines that evolution (the descent of modern specifies of animals and plants from different ancestors that lived millions of years ago) is consistent with the weight of a vast amount of evidence. The understanding of the processes underlying evolution has provided the foundation upon which many of the tremendous advances in agriculture and medicine and theoretical biology have been built. Differences among scientists over questions of how evolution was accomplished do not obscure the basic agreement that evolution has occurred.

Most people who subscribe to religious views have developed belief systems that are compatible with evolution. There is a widespread consensus among theologians that biblical accounts of creation are misunderstood if they are treated as literal scientific explanations. We fully respect the religious views of all person but we object to attempts to require any religious teachings as science.

We join the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of science, and the academies of science in many other states in calling for the rejection of attempts to require the teaching of "scientific creationism" and "intelligent design" as a scientific theory.

It is further recommended that the Kentucky Academy of Science encourages its members and other professional scientific groups to give support and aid to those classroom teachers who present the subject matter of evolution fairly and encounter community objection. We also encourage administrators and individual teachers to oppose the inclusion of nonscientific concepts in the science classroom.

Passed KAS Annual Business Meeting, 14 November 1981.

And,

A Resolution of the Kentucky Academy of Science In Regard to Omitting Evolution Terminology and Teaching in the Public Schools" (1999)

: Whereas the Kentucky Academy of Science, founded in 1914, is an organization that encompasses all of the accepted scientific fields, and

Whereas the Scientific Method exemplifies that search for Scientific Understanding, and

Whereas this methodology has consistently provided the means of questioning dogma, authoritarianism, and deliberate deception, by championing the spirit of inquiry based on testing, analysis, honest review, criticism and counter criticism and designs for further testing, and

Whereas the advancements of our understanding of the interconnection of the physical properties of our universe coupled with the life forms which together compose our biosphere clearly support that the evolutionary process has functioned and does function in the development, control, and survival of the earth's living beings, and

Whereas to deny the concepts of the known theoretical basis of the evolutionary process to the education arena of our public schools by avoiding or eliminating from the science curriculum any mention of the term evolution and evolutionary concepts would be an affront to an objective inquiry and the understanding of science,

Thereby be it resolved that the Kentucky Academy of Science, in the strongest and most determined ways possible deplores the decision to substitute "change over time" for "evolution" in the state teaching standards, urges that the original working be reinstated, and decries any attempt to remove the teaching of basic evolutionary theory or any scientific concept that may be test and examined in concert with the basic scientific laws an principles that comprise the Scientific Method, and further more be it resolved that the public supported education systems of the Commonwealth be enhanced with complete support of seeking knowledge by every means possible commensurate with known principles of scientific theory, fact, and understanding.

Adopted by the KAS Governing Board November 6, 1999.
Passed unanimously by KAS membership November 6, 1999.

Kentucky Paleontological Society

The Kentucky Paleontological Society was founded in 1993 for the purpose of promoting interest in and knowledge of the science of paleontology. The Society is a network for the exchange of data between professionals and serious amateurs in the field. The KPS and its members have worked with world-class paleontologists on exciting projects ranging from the discovery of a new genus of extinct echinoderm, and the excavation of a rare early land vertebrate in Kentucky to helping excavate dinosaurs and other vertebrate fossils in New Mexico and Montana. Our mission is to advance science by bringing untapped talent into the field, and to help create a more scientifically literate public through our educational efforts. Correcting misunderstandings about science is clearly part of any educational mission. We think that it is vital that all scientific organizations, including the KPS, stand against pseudoscience. On October 12, 1999, the KPS issued the following statement:

The Kentucky Paleontological Society (KPS) is opposed to any attempt to teach creationism or omit mention of evolution from public school instruction. Furthermore, evolution should be called "evolution" in curriculum guidelines and other documents; euphemisms such as "change over time" are intellectually dishonest for they attempt to conceal the terminology used by scientists. Paleontology relies for its evidence on two different but historically related fields, biology and geology. Biological evolution is the central organizing principle of biology, understood as descent with modification. Evolution is equally basic to geology, because the pattern of fossil distribution in the rock record makes no sense without evolution. Evidence for the progressive replacement of fossil forms has been adequate to support the theory of evolution for over 100 years. Paleontologists may dispute, on the basis of the available evidence, the tempo and mode of evolution in a particular group at a particular time, but they do not argue about whether evolution took place. The record of the evolution of life is exciting, instructive, and enjoyable, and it is our view that everyone should have the opportunity and the privilege to understand it as paleontologists do.

Kentucky's students deserve and require a high-quality science education, grounded in scientific evidence and free of sectarian influence. The content of science courses should be determined by the standards of the scientific community.

Most people who subscribe to religious view, s have developed belief systems that are compatible with evolution. We fully respect the religious views of all persons, but we object to attempts to require any religious teachings as science.

Our Executive Committee approved this statement. We wish to make it clear that we do not restrict our membership to avowed evolutionists. We insist only that our members conduct themselves responsibly and safely when doing field work and collecting specimens.

The KPS encourages its members and other professional scientific groups to give support and aid to those classroom teachers who present the subject matter of evolution fairly and encounter community objection. We also encourage administrators and individual teachers to oppose the inclusion of nonscientific concepts in the science classroom.

Louisiana Academy of Sciences (1982)

Whereas the stated goal of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences is to encourage research in the sciences and disseminate scientific knowledge, and

Whereas such pursuits are based on the scientific method requiring the testing of hypotheses before their inclusion in the body of scientific knowledge, and

Whereas organic evolution is amenable to repeated observation and testing, and

Whereas the ideas of creation are not amenable to verification by observation and experimentation, and

Whereas the Academy respects and supports the right of people to possess beliefs in creation and other matters that are not encompassed by the subject matter of science,

Therefore be it resolved that the terms "creation science" or "scientific creationism" are artificial and have been used to refer to purported areas of knowledge that do not exist, and

Be it also resolved that the members of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences urge fellow Louisianans, political leaders, and educators to oppose the inclusion in state science programs of the socalled discipline of creation science or other similar ideas which cannot be tested, accepted, or rejected by the scientific method.

Louisiana Academy of Sciences (2006)

Whereas the stated goal of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences is to encourage research in the sciences and disseminate scientific knowledge, and

Whereas such pursuits are based on the scientific method requiring the testing of hypotheses before their inclusion in the body of scientific knowledge, and

Whereas organic evolution is amenable to repeated observation and testing, and

Whereas the ideas of Intelligent Design are not amenable to verification by observation and experimentation, and

Whereas the Academy respects and supports the right of people to possess beliefs in Intelligent Design and other matters that are not encompassed by the subject matter of science,

Therefore be it resolved that the term "Intelligent Design" does not denote a hypothesis, theory, or method of inquiry that falls within the realm of science, and

Be it further resolved that the members of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences urge fellow Louisianans, political leaders, and educators to oppose the inclusion in state science programs of Intelligent Design or other similar ideas which cannot be tested, accepted, or rejected by the scientific method.

National Academy of Sciences (1972)

Whereas we understand that the California State Board of Education is considering a requirement that textbooks for use in the public schools give parallel treatment to the theory of evolution and to belief in special creation; and

Whereas the essential procedural foundations of science exclude appeal to supernatural causes as a concept not susceptible to validation by objective criteria; and

Whereas religion and science are, therefore, separate and mutually exclusive realms of human thought whose presentation in the same context leads to misunderstanding of both scientific theory and religious belief; and

Whereas further, the proposed action would almost certainly impair the proper segregation of teaching and understanding of science and religion nationwide, therefore

We, the members of the National Academy of Sciences, assembled at the autumn 1972 meeting, urge that textbooks of the sciences, utilized in the public schools of the nation, be limited to the exposition of scientific matter.

National Academy of Sciences (1984)

State legislatures are considering, and some have passed, bills that would require the introduction of biblical creationism in science classes. Local school boards have passed ordinances to restrict the teaching of evolution or to require what is called a "balanced treatment" of creationism and evolution. Publishers of science textbooks are under pressure to deemphasize evolution while adding course material on "creation science."

The teaching of creationism as advocated by the leading proponents of "creation science" includes the following judgments: (1) the earth and universe are relatively young, perhaps only 6,000 to 10,000 years old; (2) the present form of the earth can be explained by "catastrophism," including a worldwide flood; and (3) all living things (including humans) were created miraculously, essentially in the forms we now find them. These teachings may be recognized as having been derived from the accounts of origins in the first two chapters of Genesis.

Generations of able and often devout scientists before us have sought evidence for these teachings without success. Others have given us hypotheses about the origin and history of the earth and the universe itself. These hypotheses have been tested and validated by many different lines of inquiry. With modifications to include new findings, they have become the central organizing theories that make the universe as a whole intelligible, lend coherence to all of science, and provide fruitful direction to modern research. The hypothesis of special creation has, over nearly two centuries, been repeatedly and sympathetically considered and rejected on evidential grounds by qualified observers and experimentalists. In the forms given in the first two chapters of Genesis, it is now an invalidated hypothesis. To reintroduce it into the public schools at this time as an element of science teaching would be akin to requiring the teaching of Ptolemaic astronomy or pre-Columbian geography.

Confronted by this challenge to the integrity and effectiveness of our national educational system and to the hardwon evidencebased foundations of science, the National Academy of Sciences cannot remain silent. To do so would be a dereliction of our responsibility to academic and intellectual freedom and to the fundamental principles of scientific thought. As a historic representative of the scientific profession and designated advisor to the Federal Government in matters of science, the Academy states unequivocally that the tenets of "creation science" are not supported by scientific evidence, that creationism has no place in a science curriculum at any level, that its proposed teaching would be impossible in any constructive sense for wellinformed and conscientious science teachers, and that its teaching would be contrary to the nation's need for a scientifically literate citizenry and for a large, well-informed pool of scientific and technical personnel.

The Central Scientific Issues

Five central scientific issues are critical to consideration of the treatment in school curricula of the origin and evolution of the universe and of life on earth . . . .

The Nature Of Science

It is important to clarify the nature of science and to explain why creationism cannot be regarded as a scientific pursuit. The claim that equity demands balanced treatment of the two in the same classroom reflects misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted. Scientific investigators seek to understand natural phenomena by direct observation and experimentation. Scientific interpretations of facts are always provisional and must be testable. Statements made by any authority, revelation, or appeal to the supernatural are not germane to this process in the absence of supporting evidence. In creationism, however, both authority and revelation take precedence over evidence. The conclusions of creationism do not change, nor can they be validated when subjected to test by the methods of science. Thus, there are profound differences between the religious belief in special creation and the scientific explanations embodied in evolutionary theory. Neither benefits from the confusion that results when the two are presented as equivalent approaches in the same classroom. . . .

Special creation is neither a successful theory nor a testable hypothesis for the origin of the universe, the earth, or of life thereon. Creationism reverses the scientific process. It accepts as authoritative a conclusion seen as unalterable and then seeks to support that conclusion by whatever means possible.

In contrast, science accommodates, indeed welcomes, new discoveries: its theories change and its activities broaden as new facts come to light or new potentials are recognized. Examples of events changing scientific thought are legion. Prior acceptance of the fixed ad hoc hypothesis of creationism — ideas that are certified as untestable by their most ardent advocates — would have blocked important advances that have led to the great scientific achievements of recent years. Truly scientific understanding cannot be attained or even pursued effectively when explanations not derived from or tested by the scientific method are accepted.

Scientific Evidence On The Origin Of The Universe And The Earth

The processes by which new galaxies, stars, and our own planetary system are formed are sometimes referred to as the "evolution" of the universe, the stars, and the solar system. The word evolution in this context has a very different meaning than it does when applied to the evolution of organisms.

Evidence that the evolution of the universe has taken place over at least several billion years is overwhelming. Among the most striking indications of this process are the receding velocities of distant galaxies. This general expansion of the universe was first noted in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Astronomers today estimate that the expansion probably began some 10 to 20 billion years ago.

The invariant spontaneous decay of the radioactive isotopes of some elements provides further evidence that the universe is billions of years old. Analyses of the relative abundances of radioactive isotopes and their inert decay products in the earth, meteorites, and moon rocks all lead to the conclusion that these bodies are about 4.5 billion years old.

A major assertion for the creationists' opposition to the geological record and evolution is their belief that earth is relatively young, perhaps only a few thousand years old. In rejecting evidence for the great age of the universe, creationists are in conflict with data from astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology, geochemistry, and geophysics. The creationists' conclusion that the earth is only a few thousand years old was originally reached from the timing of events in the Old Testament. . . .

The Scientific Standing Of Biological Evolution

Although it was Darwin, above all others, who first marshaled the convincing critical evidence for biological evolution, earlier alert scholars recognized that the succession of living forms on the earth had changed systematically within the passage of geological time.

As applied to biology, a distinction is to be drawn between the questions (1) whether and (2) how biological evolution happened. The first refers to the finding, now supported by an overwhelming body of evidence, that descent with modification occurred during more than 2.7 billion years of earth's history. The second refers to the theory explaining how those changes developed along the observed lineages. The mechanisms are still undergoing investigation; the currently favored theory is an extensively modified version of Darwinian natural selection.

With that proviso we will now consider three aspects of biological evolution in more detail. . . .

Relation by Common Descent: Evidence for relation by common descent has been provided by paleontology, comparative anatomy, biogeography, embryology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, and other biological disciplines. The idea first emerged from observations of systematic changes in the succession of fossil remains found in a sequence of layered rocks. . . .

In Darwin's time, however, paleontology was still a rudimentary science, and large parts of the geological succession of stratified rocks were unknown or inadequately studied. Darwin, therefore, worried about the rarity of truly intermediate forms. Creationists have then and now seized on this as a weakness in evolutionary theory. Indeed, although gaps in the paleontological record remain even now, many have been filled with the researches of paleontologists since Darwin's time. Hundreds of thousands of fossil organisms found in welldated rock sequences represent a succession of forms through time and manifest many evolutionary transitions. . . There have been so many discoveries of intermediate forms between fish and amphibians, between amphibians and reptiles, between reptiles and mammals, and even along the primate line of descent that it is often difficult to identify categorically the line to which a particular genus or species belongs.

Although creationists claim that the entire geological record, with its orderly succession of fossils, is the product of a single universal flood that lasted a little longer than a year and covered the highest mountains to a depth of some 7 meters a few thousand years ago, there is clear evidence in the form of intertidal and terrestrial deposits that at no recorded time in the past has the entire planet been under water. The belief that all this sediment with its fossils was deposited in an orderly sequence in a year's time defies all geological observations and physical principles concerning sedimentation rates and possible quantities of suspended solid matter. We do not doubt that there were periods of unusually high rainfall or that extensive flooding of inhabited areas has occurred, but there is no scientific support for the hypothesis of a universal, mountaintopping flood.

Inferences about common descent derived from paleontology have been reinforced by comparative anatomy. The skeletons of humans, dogs, whales, and bats are strikingly similar, despite the different ways of life led by these animals and the diversity of environments in which they have flourished. The correspondence, bone by bone, can be observed in every part of the body, including the limbs. Yet a person writes, a dog runs, a whale swims, and a bat flies — with structures built of the same bones. Scientists call such structures homologous and have concurred that they are best explained by common descent.

Biogeography also has contributed evidence for common descent. . . . Creationists contend that the curious facts of biogeography result from the occurrence of a special creationary event. A scientific hypothesis proposes that biological diversity results from an evolutionary process whereby the descendants of local or migrant predecessors became adapted to their diverse environments. A testable corollary of that hypothesis is that present forms and local fossils should show homologous attributes indicating how one is derived from the other. Also, there should be evidence that forms without an established local ancestry had migrated into the locality. Whenever such tests have been carried out, these conditions have been confirmed.

Embryology, the study of biological development from the time of conception, is another source of independent evidence for common descent. Barnacles, for instance, are sedentary crustaceans with little apparent similarity to such other crustaceans as lobsters, shrimps, or copepods. Yet barnacles pass through a freeswimming larval stage, in which they look unmistakably like other crustacean larvae. The similarity of larval stages supports the conclusion that all crustaceans have homologous parts and a common ancestry.

Molecular Biology and the Degree of Relationship: Very recent studies in molecular biology have independently confirmed the judgments of paleontologists and classical biologists about relationships among lineages and the order in which species appeared within lineages. They have also provided detailed information about the mechanisms of biological evolution.

DNA, the hereditary material within all cells, and the proteins encoded by the genes in the DNA both offer extensive information about the ancestry of organisms. Analysis of such information has made it possible to reconstruct evolutionary events that were previously unknown, and to confirm and date events already surmised but not precisely dated.

In unveiling the universality of the chemical basis of heredity, molecular biology has profoundly affirmed common ancestry. In all organisms — bacteria, plants, and animals, including humans — the hereditary information is encoded in DNA, which is in all instances made up of the same four subunits called nucleotides. The genetic code by which the information contained in the nuclear DNA is used to form proteins is essentially the same in all organisms. Proteins in all organisms are invariably composed of the same 20 amino acids, all having a "lefthanded" configuration, although there are amino acids in nature with both "right" and "lefthanded" configurations. The metabolic pathways through which the most diversified organisms produce energy and manufacture cell components are also essentially the same. This unity reveals the genetic continuity of living organisms, thereby giving independent confirmation of descent from a common ancestry. There is no other way consistent with the laws of nature and probability to account for such uniformity. . . .

Human Evolution

Studies in evolutionary biology have led to the conclusion that mankind arose from ancestral primates. This association was hotly debated among scientists in Darwin's day, before molecular biology and the discovery of the now abundant connecting links. Today, however, there is no significant scientific doubt about the close evolutionary relationships among all primates or between apes and humans. The "missing links" that troubled Darwin and his followers are no longer missing. Today, not one but many such connecting links, intermediate between various branches of the primate family tree, have been found as fossils. These linking fossils are intermediate in form and occur in geological deposits of intermediate age. They thus document the time and rate at which primate and human evolution occurred.

The Origin Of Life

Scientific research on the origin of life is in an exploratory phase, and all its conclusions are tentative. We know that the organisms that lived on earth 2 billion or more years ago were simply microbial forms. . . . Experiments conducted under plausible primitiveearth conditions have resulted in the production of amino acids, large protein-like molecules made from long chains of amino acids, the nucleotide components of DNA, and DNA-like chains of these nucleotides. Many biologically interesting molecules have also been detected by astronomers using radiotelescopes. We can, therefore, explain how the early oxygen-free earth provided a hospitable site for the accumulation of molecules suitable for the construction of living systems.

For those who are studying aspects of the origin of life, the question no longer seems to be whether life could have originated by chemical processes involving nonbiological components but, rather,what pathway might have been followed. The data accumulated thus far imply selective processes. Prebiological chemical evolution is seen as a trial-and-error process leading to the success of one or more systems built from the many possible chemical components. The system that evolved with the capability of self-replication and mutation led to what we now define as a living system.

Conclusion

Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature. Religion provides one way for human beings to be comfortable with these marvels. However, the goal of science is to seek naturalistic explanations for phenomena — and the origins of life, the earth, and the universe are, to scientists, such phenomena — within the framework of natural laws and principles and the operational rule of testability.

It is, therefore, our unequivocal conclusion that creationism, with its account of the origin of life by supernatural means, is not science. It subordinates evidence to statements based on authority and revelation. Its documentation is almost entirely limited to the special publications of its advocates. And its central hypothesis is not subject to change in light of new data or demonstration of error. Moreover, when the evidence for creationism has been subjected to the tests of the scientific method, it has been found invalid.

No body of beliefs that has its origin in doctrinal material rather than scientific observation should be admissible as science in any science course. Incorporating the teaching of such doctrines into a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations.

National Academy of Sciences (2007)

In 2007 the NAS released Science, Evolution, and Creationism, a revision and update of the 1999 Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences. This 88-page booklet is available to read or purchase on the National Academy Press website.

New Mexico Academy of Science

For more than 100 years the New Mexico Academy of Science has been a strong voice for the teaching of sound science, both in New Mexico's schools and to the general public. This specifically includes the understanding of what science is, and how science is used to learn about the natural world using natural causality. In this spirit, the Academy adopts the following resolution:

Whereas the Theory of Evolution is one of the most thoroughly tested and confirmed scientific theories in existence, and

Whereas the Theory of Evolution has been derived from sound experimental methods and discovery of natural data and is based on natural laws of causality, and

Whereas the process of science requires that only natural causality be considered in science, and

Whereas the natural mechanistic explanations incorporated into the Theory of Evolution are sufficient to explain the presence of the diversity of life on earth, both past and present, and

Whereas the Theory of Evolution has proven to be predictive and evolution, itself, is observed in both nature and in the laboratory, and

Whereas other explanations of the diversity of life known by such names as creationism, intelligent design, and further expressions such as evidence against evolution, alternate interpretations of the data, and so forth, are based not in science but rather in a belief in supernatural causality, unsupported by scientific data, and in opposition to the use of established scientific methods,

Therefore be it resolved that the New Mexico Academy of Science supports all state and national leaders and public officials in their efforts to stop any attempt at replacing or supplementing the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in public education science class venues with any of the above named unscientific beliefs of how life on earth has come to be as it is over several billions of years.

Furthermore be it known that the New Mexico Academy of Science does not present this resolution so as to oppose the practice or beliefs in any religion; the intent of this resolution is to assure that science teaching remains independent of religious, social, and political pressures.

New Orleans Geological Society

The New Orleans Geological Society, an organization of professional earth scientists, takes the position that science classes in Louisiana public schools should teach scientifically accurate and scientifically relevant material. The Society, therefore, disagrees with Louisiana Act 685 of 1981, the law for "Balanced Treatment of CreationScience and EvolutionScience in Public School Instruction."

"Science" generally is defined as the systematic study of the activities of nature by accumulation of evidence that allows people to understand natural processes. A scientific theory is an idea, based upon a wealth of evidence, that describes and predicts conditions in nature. "Theory" — to a scientist — is a concept firmly grounded in and based upon facts, contrary to the popular conception that it is a hazy notion or undocumented hypothesis. Theories do not become facts; they explain facts. A theory must be verifiable; if evidence is found that contradicts the stated theory, the theory must be modified or discarded. In this manner, general knowledge is advanced. Scientific theories must provide new avenues for investigation and cannot be accepted on faith. Scientific facts supporting theories are presented to the scientific community in the form of published literature for examination by peers and by anyone else interested in the subject. In summary, science is not a belief system. It is simply a method for studying and accumulating knowledge about nature.

Louisiana Act 685 defines "creationscience" as ". . .the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those scientific evidences." However, creationscience does not meet the foregoing rigorous standards. Creationscience data almost invariably are of questionable quality, obsolete, or taken out of context from the scientific literature. Even wellknown creation scientists such as Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation Research have readily admitted that creationscience is not at all scientific.

Documentation refuting scientific creationism has been presented by the National Academy of Sciences, the Geological Society of America and by members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the United States Geological Survey. Their findings and the findings of this Society are:

The bulk of creationscience literature is not devoted to the presentation of any positive evidence for creationism. Most of its material is an attempt to refute the evidence for the age of the Earth and organic evolution as documented by the geologic record and detailed biological studies, as if such a refutation would, by itself, leave creationism as the only logical alternative.

It is easily demonstrable that fossils are the remains of once living organisms that can be placed in a taxonomic hierarchy supporting evolution. It is also proved that strata of a given geological age contain certain fossil types that are of distinctive character and that over a wide geographical area occur in the same sequences. These are observable facts despite creationist claims that paleontological data do not support evolution.

The age of the Earth as determined by various methods including radiometric dating of meteorites and of the Earth's rocks is approximately 4.6 billion years. Creationist criticisms of that age are based upon misinterpretation of valid data and upon obsolete data. Creationists have failed to produce one single reliable dating technique that supports their idea of a young (6,000yearold) Earth.

Creationists, in their charge that the "gaps" in the fossil record refute evolution, ignore the hundreds of identifiable transition species that have been catalogued. Concentrating their criticism only on vertebrate fossil finds, creationists neglect the detailed fossil record of invertebrates, microfauna, and microflora whose evolutionary change over time is well documented. That evolution has occurred is a documented fact, not disputed within the scientific community.

Creationist statistics "proving" that the origin of life from inanimate matter is impossible are inaccurate. Such statistical calculations do not take into account laboratory evidence showing that organic matter does organize itself, and that organic molecules can carry on processes similar to lifesustaining biochemical actions outside the cell. Also omitted are astronomical observations that demonstrate the ubiquitous nature of organic matter throughout the solar system and the galaxy.

Arguments stating that thermodynamics precludes the evolution of life because evolution would run against the trend of order to disorder in nature misrepresent the science of thermodynamics. Such arguments are not based on any mathematical calculations. Thermodynamics does in fact show that entropy reversals can and do occur in a biological system that is open with respect to energy input, which is the case for the biosphere of the Earth.

Creationism, as a scientific concept, was dismissed over a century ago and subsequent research has only confirmed that conclusion. Scientific creationism threatens to do great damage to the credibility of legitimate scientific research and to data accumulated from the many varied and unrelated scientific disciplines that independently support organic evolution as a verifiable scientific concept because of its misuse of those data.

The Society, as stated in the introduction to this document, is against the teaching of creationism in our public schools as science along with evolution on an equal basis. The creationist concept of "equal time" has no place in the advancement of science. If an idea can be shown to have no scientific merit, it must either be modified in light of available facts or new data or discarded regardless of how much its proponents believe in it. Creationism is such an idea. It is based on a preconceived notion, not upon any observations of nature and the world around us. The Society has no objection to people wanting to believe that the universe, the Earth, and its residents were created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago. However, those people must realize that such ideas are religious in nature and cannot be called scientific.

By advocating this position, the Society is not taking a stand against any particular religious belief. Science and religion are two different disciplines that are not in conflict with one another. Science is not atheistic; it is nontheistic, and it makes no judgment of religion. The Society feels that religious views have no place in the science classroom.

At the same time, the Society supports the teaching of evolution in science classes precisely because it is legitimate science. As a nation, we live in a society heavily influenced by science and technology. Evolution is a basic scientific concept. People do not have to "believe" in it, but they should understand evolution and how and why it came about.

At the same time, the Society supports the teaching of evolution in science classes precisely because it is legitimate science. As a nation, we live in a society heavily influenced by science and technology. Evolution is a basic scientific concept. People do not have to "believe" in it, but they should understand evolution and how and why it came about.

It is because the system of scientific education in this country has declined in recent years that laws such as Act 685 became possible. Legislation such as this Act, that attempts to legislate what should be taught as science in public schools, ignore one simple fact: scientific finding cannot be altered by public opinion. It is irrelevant that some public opinion polls show approval of creationism being taught alongside evolution. Laws that require non-scientific ideas such as creationism to be taught as current scientific taught alongside established scientific principles such as evolution, or teach neither, do not promote free inquiry — they stifle it. Scientific research and education cannot take place in such a coercive atmosphere.

New York Academy of Sciences

Mandating the study of scientific creationism in the public schools of New York State, as embodied in New York State Assembly Bill 8569 and New York State Senate Bill 8473, by legislative mandate is viewed by the New York Academy of Sciences as an attempt to introduce, by fiat, religious dogma into an arena where verifiability is paramount to the subject matter. It would constitute a very serious breach of the concept of the separation of Church and State. Scientific Creationism is a religious concept masquerading as a scientific one.

Science attempts to explain the physical world through verifiable and repeatable data. Through its rigorous application of inductive and deductive logic, science asks how physical phenomena occur. It attempts to explain the processes that bring about the phenomena that exist now or have existed in the past.

The concept of evolution in biology is an attempt to ascertain how life may have originated, developed and diversified on the planet Earth. Concepts such as that of evolution are developed within the framework of natural laws. The methodology of science aims to ascertain these laws from experimental data. Science accepts the theories or hypotheses that best "fit" these data.

Science modifies established theories in the light of new experimental data. It is receptive to new theories, if they withstand the tests of scientific methodology.

The concept of evolution is incorporated within many scientific disciplines. Scientific data supplied from these many disciplines have contributed to a more thorough understanding of the m, echanism of evolution. The theory itself does not rest on any single branch of science.

Because of inherently different methodologies of science and of religion, there is no overlapping area where the methods of science can be applied to religion or vice versa. There is no way for science to test the various accounts of creation held by the world's religions. These accounts depend upon the acceptance of supernatural phenomena and are not subject to scientific investigation. Their proponents demand that these accounts be accepted on faith, and are properly the province of religion. The methodologies of science cannot be used for their evaluation.

The subject known as "Scientific Creationism" is lacking in scientific substance; we reject it for inclusion in science curricula.

For these reasons, the New York Academy of Sciences strongly opposes the introduction of "Scientific Creationism" into any science curricula of the public schools of New York State.

North American Benthological Society

The North American Benthological Society recognizes Biological Evolution, including common ancestry of life of earth, descent with modification, speciation through lineage splitting, and the mechanism of natural selection as facts supported by empirical evidence. Moreover, since evolution by natural selection is the central unifying theory of biology, we recognize the importance of incorporating evolution into ultimate causal explanations of ecological, biogeographical and physiological phenomena within aquatic ecosystems. We strongly endorse the teaching of evolution as science in schools.

North Carolina Academy of Science (1982)

Intellectual freedom and the quality of science education in North Carolina, and the competency of future generations of North Carolinians to make wise decisions concerning science and technology, are being threatened by groups pressuring educators to present creationism as a scientifically viable alternative to evolution. Textbooks are being censored; authors, science teachers, and school boards are being intimidated; and science curricula are being modified in ways that accommodate nonscientific points of view and reject principles accepted by the scientific community.

The North Carolina Academy of Science strongly opposes any measure requiring or coercing public school educators either to include creationism in science curricula or to limit the inclusion of evolution in those same curricula. Principles and concepts of biological evolution are basic to the understanding of science. Students who are not taught these principles, or who hear creationism presented as a scientific alternative to them, will not be receiving an education based on modern scientific knowledge. Their ignorance about evolution will seriously undermine their understanding of the world and the natural laws governing it, and their introduction to creationism as "scientific" will give them false ideas about scientific methods and criteria. Yet we must give students who will face the problems of the 20th and 21st centuries the best possible education.

Creationists claim that biological evolution is a religious tenet; in fact it is one of the cornerstones of modern science. More than 50 years ago the North Carolina Academy of Science adopted a resolution declaring evolution an established law of nature, and since then extensive data have accumulated which further reinforce the confidence of the scientific community in the validity of evolution and help clarify the mechanisms through which evolution operates. Scientists agree that organisms now living on the earth are derived from preexisting organisms which, over long periods of time measured in billions of years, have changed from the simplest ancestors to the diverse and complex biota now in existence. Scientists further agree that there was a time when the earth was devoid of life, and that life developed through natural processes. The evidences supporting these conclusions are extensive, are drawn from many disciplines of science, and are mutually corroborative. They have withstood tests and searching criticism as rigorous as that to which any scientific principles have been subjected. No scientific hypothesis suggested as an alternative to evolution has succeeded in explaining relevant natural phenomena. Moreover, insights provided by evolutionary principles have been the basis for progress in the biological and biomedical sciences which has benefited mankind in many ways.

There are important questions remaining, of course, about how evolution operates. We have made progress in this area during the past century, but debates about evolutionary mechanisms still go on today. Some creationists, in an attempt to discredit the principles of evolution, have emphasized these disagreements between scientists about how evolution takes place. But such discussion is a normal part of how science works; fruitful controversy plays an important role in stimulating scientific investigation and furthering scientific knowledge. Debate about evolutionary mechanisms in no way undermines scientists' confidence in the reality of evolution, any more than disagreement about the behavior of subatomic particles would lead scientists to doubt the existence of atoms.

Creationists contend that creationism is a scientific theory and therefore a valid alternative to evolution. But to quote from a statement by the National Science Teachers Association, "The true test of a theory in science is threefold: (1) its ability to explain what has been observed; (2) its ability to predict what has not been observed; and (3) its ability to be tested by further experimentation and to be modified by the acquisition of new data." Viewed in the context of these criteria, creationism is not scientific. There should be opportunity for full discussion of such nonscientific ideas in appropriate forums, but they have no place in science classes. The content of science courses must meet scientific criteria; to require equal time for discussion of nonscience topics would destroy the integrity of science education.

Therefore, we the members of the North Carolina Academy of Science declare the following to be the position of the Academy on this issue:

The North Carolina Academy of Science strongly opposes the mandated inclusion of creationist views of origins in public school science classes. Furthermore, the Academy is strongly opposed to any mandated exclusion of the principles of evolution from public school instruction. We totally reject the concept, put forth by certain pressure groups, that evolution is itself a tenet of religion. And we assert that evolution is the only strictly scientific explanation for changes in the biota of the earth over time and for the existence and diversity of living organisms.

North Carolina Academy of Science (1997)

This booklet, prepared by the North Carolina Academy of Science (NCAS), is a compilation of statements concerning evolution by scientists from across the state of North Carolina. The impetus for preparation of the booklet was Rep. Russell Capps' (R-Wake) submission to the North Carolina General Assembly (March, 1997) of House Bill 511, entitled "An Act to Amend the Public School Laws to Ensure that Evolution is Not Taught as Fact in North Carolina Public Schools." The accompanying anti-evolution document, "An Evaluation of NC Approved Biology Textbooks," distributed by the office of Rep. Capps, contained material many scientists consider misleading and inaccurate. This booklet attempts to give a more accurate perspective.

The North Carolina Academy of Science sees the theory of evolution as the cornerstone of modern biology. We think that passage of a bill restricting the teaching of evolution would, at best, stifle free exchange of scientific information, establishing an atmosphere that is the antithesis of that required to teach and learn science.

Although the playing field is North Carolina, this bill is part of a creationist effort across the country that has been successful in some states and has been turned back by a narrow margin in others. According to a recent article in Science (Schmidt, K., 1996. Creationists evolve new strategy. Science 237: 420), "In the past 6 months, creationists have mounted a surge of assaults on science education around the United States. In Alabama, when school opens this fall, every biology textbook will carry a paste-in warning stating that evolution is a controversial theory that shouldn't be considered fact. In Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, creationist bills reached state legislatures for the first time."

House Bill 511 was not brought to the floor of the Senate in this past legislative session. Michael G. Kinnaird, who seems to be coordinating support for the bill for Rep. Capps, has stated, however, that the bill will probably be re-introduced in another form in the next session. Thus it appears that we may be in for a long and arduous task if we are to prevent the passage of a bill restricting the teaching of evolution.

A firm understanding of the theory of and knowledge of scientific evidence that supports the theory are strong tools for combating religious/political efforts to legislate the teaching of science. This booklet attempts to give its readers some of that information in a readily referenced form. The intended readership is all citizens of North Carolina who consider the term "creation science" an oxymoron, but who are not familiar enough with the arguments of creationists or the specific scientific evidence to evaluate the materials creationists provide.

We have attempted to compile a uniquely "North Carolina" compendium of material designed to enable teachers and citizens in North Carolina to "speak out on evolution" more effectively. At the heart of the booklet are several refutations of specific arguments found in the anti-evolution document, "An Evaluation of NC Approved Biology Textbooks." The refutations were prepared by North Carolina scientists doing research or teaching in areas that deal with the scientific evidence that has been called into question. We have certainly not attempted to refute all known creationist arguments; rather, we have selected some that can be used to illustrate most clearly the most common fallacies of the arguments against evolution.

The North Carolina Academy of Science thanks those scientists who have contributed their time and expertise to address specific creationists' arguments. Special thanks go to Nancy Edwards, Robert P. Higgins, Charles Keeling, and Margaret Ray for invaluable information and editorial suggestions, and to Susan M. Thomas and Amanda Branscombe for making suggestions as non-scientific readers.

Ohio Academy of Science

WHEREAS, it is a responsibility of the Ohio Academy of Science to preserve the integrity of science; and

WHEREAS, science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena, explanations that are open to further testing, revision, and falsification, and while not "believed in" through faith may be accepted or rejected on the basis of evidence; and

WHEREAS, the theory of evolution, as presently defined, fully satisfies these criteria, especially when its teaching considers the remaining debates concerning its detailed mechanisms; and

WHEREAS, the Academy respects the right of people to hold diverse beliefs about creation that do not come within the definitions of science; and

WHEREAS, some Creationist groups are intent on imposing religious beliefs disguised as science upon teachers and students to the detriment and distortion of public education in the United States;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that because "Creation Science" and "Intelligent Design" have no scientific validity, they should not be taught as science, and further that the OAS views legislation requiring such religious views to be taught in public schools, as though these were legitimate arguments against evolution that should be included as part of a so-called balanced treatment approach, to be a real and present threat to the integrity of education and the teaching of science; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OAS urges citizens, educational authorities, and legislators to oppose the compulsory inclusion in the curricula, the state competencies or profici, ency tests for science education of religious beliefs that are not amenable to the process of scrutiny, testing, and revision that is indispensable to science.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the OAS urges citizens, educational authorities, and legislators to include, explicitly, cosmic, geological and biological evolution in the curricula, state competencies and proficiency tests for science education.

Ohio Math and Science Coalition

The Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition recommends the following criteria for deliberation prior to the addition or deletion of a topic to or from the Ohio Academic Content Standards for Science.

What should or should not be part of an Ohio Academic Standard for Science must be judged in the context of the nature and processes that legitimize science as an area of learning and as a discipline unique from others.

We urge that the decision to include or exclude any topic in the Ohio Academic Content Standards for Science be given consideration according to the American Heritage Dictionary definition that states "Science is the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena" (adopted by the Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition) and the following three criteria:

1. The topic must be consistent with the body of scientific knowledge, the processes employed by science, and the ways of reasoning scientifically that constitute acceptable scientific professional practices, and with the discipline of science.

2. The topic must contribute to the curriculum enabling a student to think and function as a person who is well versed in scientific literacy, understands the nature of science and the tools a person employs in drawing conclusions, and making conjectures through science.

3. Science must be the appropriate discipline in the curriculum where a student should engage the topic.

The Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition believes that "Intelligent Design" does not meet the above criteria and, therefore, does not have a place in the Ohio academic content standards for science.

Oklahoma Academy of Science (1981) *

The scientific content of science courses should be determined by scientists and science teachers and not by political directives. In particular, science teachers should not be required to teach, as science, ideas, models, and theories that are clearly extra-scientific. An extra-scientific hypothesis, as such, might legitimately be discussed in a science class when examination of its logical construction and criteria for acceptance would illuminate the corresponding features of scientific hypothesis and scientific method. Any requirement for equal time for such hypotheses is not justifiable.

Scientific hypotheses have a number of distinguishing properties, the foremost of which is that one should be able to deduce, from the basic postulates, logical consequences that can be tested against observation. Attention should be paid to the possible kinds of evidence that would falsify the hypothesis, rather than just the evidence that might confirm it. Other properties include:

1. The hypothesis should have more general consequences than those observations which initially suggested it. Thus it should be independently testable and not ad hoc.

2. It should be fruitful, suggesting new lines of research to pursue, raise new questions to be investigated by future research.

3. It should be logically consistent.

4. It should be consistent with general scientific philosophy that the observed phenomena of the universe are real and that nature is consistent and understandable, that is, describable and explainable in terms of laws and theories.

Hypotheses that postulate miracles or supernatural events are falsified scientifically because they explicitly admit they cannot explain the phenomena within their sphere of application. Furthermore, they are extra-scientific and non-explanatory because those phenomena are declared to be beyond human understanding. Thus they can not be considered alternate explanation to any scientific hypothesis because, by their very nature, they are anti-explanatory, seeking only to establish and perpetuate a mystery or mysteries. All such hypotheses, models, and theories that claim to be scientific should be required to meet the same criteria as do those hypotheses commonly considered to be scientific by the scientific community at large.

Oklahoma Academy of Science (1999) *

On November 13, 1999, the membership of the Oklahoma Academy of Science passed two resolutions in response to the November 5 actions of the State Textbook Committee. This committee had decided to require that a disclaimer be affixed to every post-elementary, pre-college biology textbook purchased with state funds. This disclaimer would warn students to beware of the theory of evolution, although not claiming it to be false. The Academy's first resolution states, “We disagree with the action of the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee to affix a disclaimer to any textbook.” The second resolution states, “We affirm that the theory of evolution is the current best explanation for a large body of facts and that no other theory adequately explains these observations.” These resolutions were supported by an overwhelming majority of the general membership attending the Annual Meeting. Reasons for the Academy's objections are several. Among them are the following:

1. The Academy believes that the Committee affixed the disclaimer without adequate background research. They did not consult any scientists at any of Oklahoma's state universities before making their decision. As scientists, members of the Academy object strongly to having political appointees proclaim their version of scientific theories which they have not thoroughly studied.

2. The Academy fears that further disclaimers could be affixed to other textbooks. For example, a small but not insignificant number of citizens, including some who are well-educated, reject medical science and refuse to participate in such programs as vaccination. Should the textbook committee affix a disclaimer to human biology textbooks, urging students to consider whether medical science is "only a theory"?

3. The Academy considered several statements within the disclaimer to be inaccurate, in particular the disclaimer's assertion that transitional forms are absent from the fossil record. Intermediate forms are indeed found in the fossil record, e.g., the recently discovered fossils of primitive birds and feathered dinosaurs from Liaoning Province, China. There also is no real distinction between the processes of macro- and microevolution; the driving force of adaptive mutation is the same, and macroevolution is evident in the fossil record. The complete, complex set of instructions for forming living things can be explained as the cumulative result of physical forces and chemical reactions acting over billions of years.

The Academy believes that the fundamental unity of life is evident in the common building blocks of our cellular structures, the same four nucleotides in our genes, and the same code by which our proteins are made. This unity reinforces the fossil record in indicating that all organisms — plants, bacteria, and animals — are related. Such fundamental unity also inspires in many scientists an awe of the power and beauty of the physical universe that may reinforce a personal belief in a spiritual universe.

The Academy believes that the acceptance of the general theory of evolution and a belief in God are compatible. We regret that such actions as the affixing of a disclaimer on textbooks promotes, even if not intentionally, the incorrect idea that scientists are atheists who are trying to undermine religious beliefs in this state. A wide diversity of religious faiths and belief systems are celebrated in the community of science, and the majority of scientists accept the principles of evolutionary theory without compromising their individual faiths in a Creator. This includes even many evangelical Christians today and in the past who have accepted both the Judeo-Christian Bible and evolutionary theory, such as Harvard botanist Asa Gray, who was Charles Darwin's principal and earliest American proponent in the nineteenth century. This is because the practice of science — observation, measurement, experimental methods, drawing conclusions, forming and testing hypotheses, and establishing an overall theory of how things happen — simply does not address the ultimate questions of purpose. The theory of evolution is our most rational system that explains an enormous number of observations; why or by whom that system was set in motion is not within the bounds of scientific inquiry.

Oklahoma Academy of Science (2007) *

Science and religion can coexist harmoniously if people understand the strengths and limitations of each field. Albert Einstein said, “Science without religion is blind and religion without science is lame.” (1) Science and religion can complement each other — each informing the other in the domain where each is knowledgeable. Respected religious and world leaders such as Billy Graham, Jimmy Carter, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have written statements affirming harmony (2).

Strengths of Science — Science is very successful at understanding the tangible, perceivable world; anything that can be weighed, measured, detected, imaged or described objectively is the domain of science. Science can predict future actions of matter, energy, time, and space, based on past observations and experiments, or it can deduce past events, based on observing the results of those events. For example, geology can deduce what physical happenings occurred in the past and how long ago they occurred. Science can answer the HOW? and WHEN? questions about the physical world extremely well. Science is self-correcting; if new data or better interpretations become available, the scientific community will refine or add to its conclusions to reflect the recent findings.

Limitations of Science — Science cannot answer the ultimate WHO? or WHY? questions. Science is restricted to the domain of physically tangible things. Science can explain HOW things work in ever-finer detail. For example, physiology is explained in terms of biology and chemistry, which is further explained in terms of physics. Beyond the most detailed scientific explanation lies another question — What is the First Cause? Most scientists would argue that the “First Cause” is not knowable by the methods of science.

Teaching of Evolution in Public Schools — The Oklahoma Academy of Science strongly supports thorough teaching of evolution in biology classes. Evolution is one of the most important principles of science. A high school graduate who does not understand evolution is not prepared for college or for life in a technologically advanced world, in which the role of biology and biotechnology will continue to grow. The Academy affirms that the tangible, perceivable world is the domain of science and that science is clearly the discipline to explain HOW and WHEN the universe came into being. There is no credible scientific evidence that the earth came into being recently or that evolution is not the best explanation of the origins of living organisms. Science, by definition, starts with all available evidence, draws conclusions, and generates testable predictions. The content of science courses should be determined by scientists and science educators, and not by political or religious directives. In particular, science teachers should not be required to teach ideas, models, and theories that are extra-scientific (3). "Creationism" and “Intelligent Design” are not science because they do not conform to the testable and falsifiable criteria of science. It is not appropriate for science textbooks or science teachers to teach creation as science. Creation and other matters of faith are topics for religion, philosophy, and humanities courses.

Conclusion — The Academy regards the fundamental unity of life to be evident in the common building blocks and biochemical reactions of cells and in the remarkable conservation of information in DNA sequences across the biological kingdoms. The latter documents the relatedness of all organisms — plants, microorganisms, and animals. The Academy contends that the acceptance of the general theory of evolution and a belief in God are compatible. A wide diversity of religious faiths and belief systems are celebrated in the community of science, and the overwhelming majority of scientists accept the principles of evolutionary theory. Many do this without compromising their individual faiths in a Creator. This includes many evangelical Christians today and in the past who accepted both the Judeo-Christian Bible and evolutionary theory. One such individual was Harvard botanist Asa Gray, who was also Charles Darwin’s principal and earliest American proponent in the nineteenth century. There is no inconsistency in holding both viewpoints because the practice of science — observation, measurement, forming and testing hypotheses, controlled experimentation, drawing conclusions, and finally establishing an overall theory of how things happen — simply does not address the ultimate questions of purpose. The theory of evolution is our most rational system that explains an enormous number of observations; why or by whom that system was set in motion is not within the bounds of scientific inquiry.(4)

Understanding of the strengths and limitations of both science and religion can alleviate concerns of both scientists and non-scientists. Scientists do not accept the suppression or neglect of well-understood science because non-scientists dispute it for non-scientific reasons. Similarly, science does not speak on issues of purpose and creation, as these are not objectively testable. Science and religion have different perspectives when they address common issues, and recognizing the differences may make it possible for those active in both to realize that their most important goals are not in conflict.

1. Einstein, A. Out of My Later Years, Citadel Press, Se[c]a[u]cus, NJ, 1974, page 26
2. New York Post, July 26, 2007
3. Paragraph modified from Oklahoma Academy of Science statement, 1981.
4. Paragraph modified from Oklahoma Academy of Science statement, 1999.

Pennsylvania Academy of Science

Be it resolved on this 2nd day of April, in the year 2006, the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science passed the following resolution on the teaching of science based evolution in accredited elementary and secondary schools (K-12) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The theory of evolution is based on sound scientific principles and supported by over 145 years of research in all biological disciplines. It is the cornerstone of biological education around the world.

The scientific evidence and well supported data for evolution, as proposed by Darwin (1859) and refined through the modern synthesis by Dobzhansky, Chetverikov, Fisher, Wright, Simpson, Stebbins, Babcock, Gould, Freeman, Miller, Mayr and others, are overwhelming.

In contrast, there is no scientific evidence or supporting data for the idea of intelligent design. This theological/philosophical concept does not belong in the science curriculum, but perhaps in cultural, philosophical, or theological comparative studies. Accordingly, be it resolved that the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science rejects the idea that intelligent design as an alternative to modern evolutionary theory be taught in science/biology classes in accredited elementary and secondary (K-12) schools across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Be it also resolved, that the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science supports the teaching of evolution, as supported by valid scientific evidence, in science/biology classes in accredited elementary and secondary schools (K-12) across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists

The Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists, representing more than 500 practicing geologists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, opposes educational proposals and/or actions which would dilute the quality and quantity of science education by incorporating non-scientific concepts or methods into public school biology curricula as alternative explanations to biological evolution. In particular, PCPG opposes the introduction or instruction of the concept of "intelligent design" as an alternative to biological evolution, but is equally opposed to the inclusion of any positions or philosophies in science curricula which are not based on scientific methods and accepted by the scientific community.

PCPG is an advocacy organization which actively promotes science education in Pennsylvania. As such, and in light of its mission to increase the protection of public welfare through continued improvements in the awareness and application of science within the Commonwealth, PCPG supports the Pennsylvania Department of Education standards on science education which specify a curriculum including biological evolution as the accepted scientific explanation of the diversity of life on Earth.

Biological evolution is a fact. Evolution is change to populations over time and the constituent species of life on Earth have undeniably changed over geologic time. The theory of biological evolution, the lengthy explanation of the accepted fact of evolution, is supported by a myriad of scientific facts. Establishing many of those facts has been, and remains the purview of geologists. PCPG does not imply that the scientific community is in complete accord regarding the rate of evolutionary change, or which of the several mechanisms provides the greatest contribution to change under different circumstances. PCPG does hold that the theory of evolution, in its totality, is the only scientifically accepted explanation of the diversity of life on earth.

The Scientific Method places no bounds or limits on the scope or direction of scientific inquiry into the natural world. Inquiry within the construct of intelligent design, however, is bounded and limited. Intelligent design, therefore, can never be considered a science and its conclusions are, as a result, unscientific. Consequently, intelligent design and/or other non-scientific alternatives to any scientifically derived and supported theory have no established place in science curricula.

The claim that intelligent design should be taught, or even mentioned, as part of science curricula in schools because there is "scientific controversy regarding the theory of evolution" is not supported by facts. Controversies surrounding biological evolution and/or its inclusion in educational curricula are not based on scientifically derived facts or on competing scientific theories of which there are none.

As the premier organization which promotes the education and professional application of Earth Sciences in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PCPG encourages and fosters science education and specifically opposes any educational proposals or reforms which would dilute the quality and quantity of scientific tutelage by the mandatory introduction of non-scientific concepts. Likewise, PCPG opposes the adoption and use of educational disclaimers, written or stated, which:
  • infer that biological evolution is "only a theory" and not, therefore, a fact;
  • and/or which
  • state or imply that there is controversy within the scientific community in general, and the community of researching and published biologists and geologists in particular, regarding the naturalistic explanation of the diversity of life provided by the comprehensive theory of evolution.

Philosophy of Science Association

The American Association for the Advancement of Science requested that their constituent societies (which includes PSA) write letters of protest to the Governor of Kansas regarding the State Board of Education's decision to de-emphasize the testing (and thereby, presumably, the teaching) of evolution and cosmology. After discussion, the Officers of the Association composed and sent the following message to the Governor. As of the present date (1 Feb 00), the Governor has not seen fit to respond to our message.

George Gale
Executive Secretary
----------------------
The Honorable Bill Graves, Governor
State Capitol, 2nd Floor
Topeka, KS 66612

Dear Governor Graves:

The President and Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association deplore the recent decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to remove references to evolution and cosmology from its state education standards and assessments. In our judgment, this decision is likely to decrease the quality of education in Kansas in three important ways.

First, the omission of important and well-established parts of science from the curriculum directly affects the ability of future citizens to understand questions that will affect the well-being of their families and communities. In addition, the students of Kansas will not be given our best answers to questions about the history of our species, the history of life on our planet, and the history of the universe, questions that are of concern to all thoughtful people. There is no more reason to deny them these answers than to leave them with the belief that the Earth is flat.

Second, by pretending that there are serious controversies in areas where a massive body of evidence supports contemporary scientific views, and insisting that this evidence should not be presented and assessed, students are deprived of the opportunity for open critical discussion. An educational system should foster habits of inquiry by giving a fair account of the evidence for rival points of view, and by showing how important questions can be resolved.

Third, by allowing the religious beliefs of a particular group to dictate the form of the science curriculum, the recent decision gives notice to those teaching in Kansas High Schools that they are not to be allowed to impart what they know. They will also understand that they are likely to encounter further pressure to conform to the demands of a very specific faith. Under these circumstances, it is probable that Kansas schools will fail to attract the most thoughtful and dedicated teachers, so that Kansas students will be further disadvantaged.

For these reasons we align ourselves with the AAAS resolution, and urge that this ill-conceived decision be reconsidered.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Jeffrey, President

Research!America

Research!America supports the scientific community's unanimous position that intelligent design does not meet the criteria of a scientific concept and thus should not be presented as one in the classroom. Evolution is backed by a substantial body of scientific evidence, whereas intelligent design is a matter of belief and not subject to proof.

Opinion polls commissioned by Research!America and others show a woeful lack of appreciation among the public that biological evolution is well-supported by scientific evidence. At a time of heightened global competition in science and technology, the American public deserves, now more than ever, nothing less than the best science education in the world.

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada — Ottawa Centre

The RASC Ottawa Centre supports high standards of scientific integrity, academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also respects the scientific method and recognizes that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypotheses, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.

The RASC Ottawa Centre, then, is unequivocal in its support of contemporary evolutionary theory that has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been refined by findings accumulated over 140 years.

Some dissenters from this position are proponents of non-scientific explanations of the nature of the universe. These may include "creation science", "creationism", "intelligent design" or other non-scientific "alternatives to evolution". While we respect the dissenters' right to express their views, these views are theirs alone and are in no way endorsed by the RASC Ottawa Centre. It is our collective position that these explanations do not meet the characteristics and rigour of scientific empiricism.

Therefore the science agenda of the RASC Ottawa Centre and its publications will not promote any non-scientific explanations of the nature of the universe.

Royal Society

The Royal Society was founded in 1660 by a group of scholars whose desire was to promote an understanding of ourselves and the universe through experiment and observation. This approach to the acquisition of knowledge forms the basis of the scientific method, which involves the testing of theories against observational evidence. It has led to major advances of understanding over more than 300 years. Although there is still much left to be discovered, we now have a broad knowledge of how the universe developed after the 'Big Bang' and of how humans and other species appeared on Earth.

One of the most important advances in our knowledge has been the development of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Since being proposed by Charles Darwin nearly 150 years ago, the theory of evolution has been supported by a mounting body of scientific evidence. Today it is recognised as the best explanation for the development of life on Earth from its beginnings and for the diversity of species. Evolution is rightly taught as an essential part of biology and science courses in schools, colleges and universities across the world.

The process of evolution can be seen in action today, for example in the development of resistance to antibiotics in disease-causing bacteria, of resistance to pesticides by insect pests, and the rapid evolution of viruses that are responsible for influenza and AIDS. Darwin's theory of evolution helps us to understand these problems and to find solutions to them.

Many other explanations, some of them based on religious belief, have been offered for the development of life on Earth, and the existence of a 'creator' is fundamental to many religions. Many people both believe in a creator and accept the scientific evidence for how the universe, and life on Earth, developed. Creationism is a belief that may be taught as part of religious education in schools, colleges and universities. Creationism may also be taught in some science classes to demonstrate the difference between theories, such as evolution, that are based on scientific evidence, and beliefs, such as creationism, that are based on faith.

However, some versions of creationism are incompatible with the scientific evidence. For instance, a belief that all species on Earth have always existed in their present form is not consistent with the wealth of evidence for evolution, such as the fossil record. Similarly, a belief that the Earth was formed in 4004 BC is not consistent with the evidence from geology, astronomy and physics that the solar system, including Earth, formed about 4600 million years ago.

Some proponents of an alternative explanation for the diversity of life on Earth now claim that their theories are based on scientific evidence. One such view is presented as the theory of intelligent design. This proposes that some species are too complex to have evolved through natural selection and that therefore life on Earth must be the product of a 'designer'. Its supporters make only selective reference to the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports evolution, and treat gaps in current knowledge which, as in all areas of science, certainly exist — as if they were evidence for a 'designer'. In this respect, intelligent design has far more in common with a religious belief in creationism than it has with science, which is based on evidence acquired through experiment and observation. The theory of evolution is supported by the weight of scientific evidence; the theory of intelligent design is not.

Science has proved enormously successful in advancing our understanding of the world, and young people are entitled to learn about scientific knowledge, including evolution. They also have a right to learn how science advances, and that there are, of course, many things that science cannot yet explain. Some may wish to explore the compatibility, or otherwise, of science with various religious beliefs, and they should be encouraged to do so. However, young people are poorly served by deliberate attempts to withhold, distort or misrepresent scientific knowledge and understanding in order to promote particular religious beliefs.

Royal Society of Canada

Dear Colleagues:

The RSC office has received some calls requesting that it state its position in the debate about Intelligent Design vs Evolution. Through publications over the last decades (identified in Dr. Bélisle's appended e-mail response to a journalist) and the RSC support of the IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, the Society has made its position explicit.

Intelligent Design is a religious belief, and Evolution is the only credible scientific position that is defensible. The RSC position in support of evolution has been consistent: from a scientific point of view, the teaching of Evolution is a benchmark for legitimacy. Other theories or positions, such as Intelligent Design, are not scientific in basis or nature.

On March 27, 2006, the Society was signatory to the IAP Statement of international Academies of Sciences. The Statement, whose full text will appear on our website toward the end of May, urges "decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature." It underscores the importance of "evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet."

Consequently the position of the RSC is clear on this matter.

Patricia Demers
President

Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science

The Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada considers that "scientific creationism" has nothing to do with science or the scientific method. "Scientific creationism" does not belong in any discussion of scientific principles or theories, and therefore should have no place in a science curriculum.

Science provides knowledge of the natural world in the form of evidence gathered by observation and experiment. Analysis of this evidence allows scientists to generate hypotheses that link and explain different phenomena. Scientific hypotheses must be capable of being tested by further research. If a hypothesis is found to explain many different facts, and even to allow accurate predictions of subsequent discoveries, greater confidence is placed in it, and it is called a theory.

The theory of evolution by natural selection was first clearly formulated in 1859, and for over a century it has been tested and improved by the research of many thousands of scientists: not only by biologists and geologists, but also by chemists and physicists. From deductions based on abundant data, the theory has been developed to explain the changes that have taken place in living things over much of the Earth's history. In its modern form, it remains the only explanation for the diversity of life on this planet that is acceptable to the scientific community.

Science itself evolves, since it must continuously modify existing explanations to incorporate new information. The theory of evolution continues to be refined as new evidence becomes available. Only one thing in science is not open to change: its demand that every explanation be based on observation or experiment, that these be in principle repeatable, and that new evidence be considered.

Scientific creationists adopt an entirely different approach in their attempt to explain the natural world. They accept either biblical or some other authority as overriding other kinds of evidence. They reject much of the accumulated scientific knowledge, and commonly deny the validity of deductions based on directly observable phenomena such as radioactive decay. This is because their philosophy is rooted in a different aspect of human culture. If their claim, that the Earth and all its living things were created only several thousand years ago, was correct, many of the central concepts of modern science would have to be abandoned. The methodology and conclusions of scientists and "scientific creationists" are therefore incompatible, and the term "scientific creationism" is a contradiction in terms, since it has no basis in science.

Sigma Xi, Louisiana State University Chapter

The LSU Chapter of Sigma Xi urges the reconsideration and repeal of the "Balanced Treatment for CreationScience and EvolutionScience Act" which in 1981 became part of Louisiana law.

The current science curriculum is the result of numerous discoveries and critical studies by scientists over many decades. The scientific process affords equal treatment to every theory by requiring it to face the evidence successfully before it becomes part of the science curriculum. The theory called "creation science" cannot successfully face the evidence. The Act constitutes intervention by the State to give that theory a standing it has not earned. The Act, if put into effect, would violate academic freedom and weaken science education. This is a time for strengthening educational standards and programs, particularly in science.

Society for Amateur Scientists

The Society for Amateur Scientists was founded to place the power, process, and promise of science within reach of everyone. SAS links science enthusiasts of all backgrounds and interests with world-class professional scientists, to empower amateurs to take part in the great scientific debates of our time as full members of the scientific community. Our mission is two-fold: to advance science by bringing untapped talent into the field, and to help create a more scientifically literate public.

The debate about teaching evolution and scientific creationism in the public schools has raged for decades. Is it appropriate for an grass roots science organization like ours to comment on this debate? Absolutely. The Society for Amateur Scientists was founded to educate people about how science works, what science tells us about our world, and how everyday people can take an active part in fascinating scientific issues. Some participants in this debate constantly distort science and misinform the public. Correcting misunderstandings is clearly part of any educational mission.

But there is a deeper concern. Our democracy depends on an informed and educated electorate. As science literacy suffers, so does our country. This is truer today then ever before as the voting public is faced with ever more technical issues about which they are asked to make informed choices. By not opposing bad science whenever we can, SAS would be implicitly aiding the forces of unreason to distort fundamental principles of science in the public mind. We believe that it is vital that all scientific organizations, including SAS, stand against bad science.

In the last 100 years, science has forged a profound understanding of many different fields which bear on the question of our origin. Genetics, astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, physiology, anatomy and physics all speak with one voice. The universe is ancient, perhaps 15 billion years old. The earth too is ancient, perhaps 5 billion years old. And life is ancient, perhaps 2 billion years old.

The evidence is abundant and irrefutable. Life has changed drastically over earth's history. Since the first complex multi-cellular forms appeared about 650 million years ago organisms have lived, died and adapted to their environments through many violent upheavals on the planet. The one constant has been the process of change itself — of mutation and natural selection, the hammer and anvil by which nature has sculpted her handiwork into the imperfectly beautiful and intricate web of life that now covers the planet.

On the question of humanity, the data support only one conclusion — humans arose like all other beings with which we share the earth; through the random mutations altering our ancestors' bodies over eons, and natural selection blindly and mercilessly cutting away the chaff. Evolution is the great shaper of all life on earth.

Today, evolution is the unifying principle of biology. Nothing makes sense without it. True, it remains a very active field of research and many subtle and fascinating questions remain to be answered. However, that life has adapted and changed through time is as well established as the fact that the earth goes round the sun.

Evolution is science, and as such belongs in science classrooms. By contrast scientific creationism just doesn't make the grade. None of the arguments which scientific creationists make against evolution withstand scrutiny and most were first refuted nearly a century ago. And the creationists have never been able to marshal quality evidence that strongly supports their ideas.

This statement was approved by our Board of Directors. Amateur scientists are often fiercely independent, and some of our members do not accept evolution. While the Board of Directors respects their views and values their input, we wish to make it clear that SAS will never participate in creationist research. However, we do not restrict our membership to avowed evolutionists. As a scientific organization, we insist only that our members be willing to consider any position that can be supported by empirical evidence. In this we are quite unlike the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), the primary promoter of Scientific Creationism in public school, which requires its members to sign a statement attesting to their belief in the literal truth of the Bible. ICR's agenda is religion concealed in the guise of science. Their materials in particular have no place in a science classroom.

Shawn Carlson, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Arsem
Paul MacCready, Ph.D.
Glenn T. Seaborg, Ph.D.

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Insofar as the life sciences are critical to human health, well-being, and knowledge, evolutionary biology is and must be a fundamental component of an excellent science education. Moreover, awareness of current views concerning evolutionary history and mechanisms, including natural selection, is an essential part of modern literacy for all citizens. Excellence in education requires that teachers and students can explore, investigate, and criticize scientific ideas. However, learning and inquiry are inhibited when educators feel pressured to alter their teaching of fundamental concepts of science in response to demands external to the scientific disciplines. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology is committed to these principles and will support the teaching of fundamental concepts and ideas in science, including those related to evolution and the nature of scientific inquiry.

Society for Neuroscience

Recognizing that the theory of evolution is fundamental to understanding and studying the origins and diversity of living things, the Society for Neuroscience opposes the assertion that teaching intelligent design theory is a valid scientific alternative to teaching evolution in science classrooms.

The theory of evolution is accepted with remarkable consensus throughout the scientific community. The evidence in its support has accumulated over the past 160 years-from fields as disparate as paleontology and genomics-and is overwhelming. Scientific advances in the field of evolution, as in every other field of science, are obtained on the basis of respectful debate, the continuous search for truth, and meticulous investigation to accept or reject ideas supported by evidence. In this regard, education on evolution and on science in general provides tools for a better understanding of ourselves and the world and also provides individuals with a language for universal understanding, mutual respect, and tolerance.

Intelligent design is the most recent attempt by creationists to undermine the theory of evolution in the science classroom. Thwarted by past legal decisions upholding the separation of church and state, proponents of intelligent design have resorted to masking their religious beliefs with the pseudo-scientific language of this theory. By invoking "intelligent forces" to account for biological diversity, however, intelligent design presents a theory that is as supernatural and unscientific as the traditional creationist one. In fact, intelligent design theory runs counter to the established principles of science in that it is not based on evidence or testable through the scientific method. Intelligent design is not science, and has no place in the science classroom.

The process underpinning evolution — natural selection — has been widely and thoroughly documented. As in all areas of active research, scientists continue to debate the details. Yet these disagreements should not be misconstrued, as they have been by creationists, as evidence of fundamental problems with the theory. There is consensus within the scientific community about the overall validity of Darwin's theory. In fact, evolution is still evident today; with bacterial resistance to antibiotics and potential mutations in influenza that could impact avian flu transmission as examples that profoundly affect world health. Evolution is an essential component of modern science education. K-12 science education based on anything other than tested and accepted scientific theory is detrimental to the education of America's youth.

Creationists often argue that religious and scientific worldviews are incompatible, asserting that it is impossible to be both actively religious and accept the theory of evolution. However, many people, including prominent scientists, embrace both evolution and a belief in God. SfN strongly disputes the claims made by advocates of intelligent design that subscribing to a scientific view of the world is incompatible with religious experience.

The Society for Neuroscience supports the teaching of evolution, and opposes the teaching of intelligent design in science classrooms. Education about evolution is essential to our future competitiveness as a nation, so it is imperative that an understanding of this fundamental scientific theory be shared with the school children of America. The mixing of faith or religious belief with the scientific method is not a sound lesson for our children's education.

Society for Organic Petrology

The Council of The Society for Organic Petrology has voted its support of the American Geological Institute's position statement on evolution:

Evolution is good science. Understanding evolution and the nature of science is important to society. The Society for Organic Petrology supports teaching evolution and the nature of science in our nation's classrooms, museums, and informal science centers.

Society for the Study of Evolution (original)

In 1952, Ernst Mayr stated that "the aims of the Society [for the Study of Evolution], through its journal and otherwise, reflect the conviction that the evolutionary approach will clarify many unsolved biological problems and will provide common goals and mutual comprehension among all the life sciences." The history of evolutionary studies has as its basis empirical documentation of biogeographical distribution of species. Contributing to its development are rigorous horticultural and agricultural programs that have led to substantial improvements in world food supplies. More recently, evolutionary studies have been applied to conservation and to health-related fields such as disease epidemiology. Increasingly, evolutionary studies have been applied to conservation and to health related fields such as disease epidemiology. Increasingly, evolutionary studies are used to predict how the biological world responds to changing environments — environments that indisputably have changed over time. Evolutionary studies supply scientific explanations for past and present biological processes, based on currently observed biological processes. The have directly provided information, techniques, and even products that contribute to the improvement of human conditions and ecological welfare.

The study of evolution is an empirically based science which employs the scientific process of hypothesis testing. Hypotheses are either accepted or rejected, depending on the empirical evidence. The Society for the Study of Evolution employs a rigorous critical review process to ensure that these procedures are followed — that the empirical data support the conclusions — before a study is accepted as scientific. No hypothesis that cannot be tested empirically is acceptable as scientific to the Society. "Scientific creationism" cannot be empirically refuted. Rather, it has as its basis the unquestioned authority of a literal interpretation of religious texts. "Scientific creationism" does not employ hypothesis testing, does not use unbiased empirical data to support or refute hypotheses, and it has no scientific review process. It therefore cannot be considered to be scientific by the Society. The attitude that "scientific creationism" is an alternative hypothesis to evolution is scientifically untenable. Its inclusion in state-sponsored school curricula as a scientifically based hypothesis rather than as a religious faith is not acceptable. The Society for the Study of Evolution maintains that evolutionary studies should be promoted in schools as a scientific approach to explaining biological phenomena — one that has contributed much to biotechnological advances, and one which has the potential to solve important problems in the physical relationship of human beings to the rest of the biological world.

Society for the Study of Evolution (revised) *

"Evolution" refers both to a set of scientific facts and to a theory explaining such facts. "Evolution" refers to the scientific fact that biological organisms have changed through time, and that all life, including humanity, has descended with modification from common ancestors. Evolution is as well documented as are other currently accepted scientific facts. The theory of evolution is a comprehensive and well-established scientific explanation, based on natural processes, of the fact of biological evolution.

Statement on the teaching of evolution


Evolutionary theory should be taught in public schools because it is one of the most important scientific theories ever generated, and because it is the accepted scientific explanation for the diversity of life. As a scientific theory, it is testable and has been extensively tested. As stated by the great geneticist and evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." The theory of evolution is subject to refinements and revisions, but this is no different from any other major scientific theory, such as the those providing the explanatory frameworks of geology, physics, or chemistry. There is no pedagogical or scientific reason to treat evolutionary theory any differently than any other well-accepted scientific theory, and it should be taught in public schools as the firmly established, accepted unifying scientific principle that it is.

Society of Physics Students

Recently, some political and educational groups have attempted to undermine the importance of teaching the concepts of biological and cosmological evolution, thereby rejecting the consensus of the scientific community. Ideas about the structure and evolution of the universe, including Earth and its life forms, are unifying concepts in science. The development of students' informed views about these concepts is essential to a knowledge of science. These concepts should therefore be included and emphasized as a part of science frameworks and curricula for all students.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) recognizes that decisions about science education standards are the purview of state and local authorities; however, the position of SPS is that such decisions should involve education experience and scientific expertise, and be based on the body of research in science, pedagogy, and cognitive development. SPS encourages science educators and scientists to participate in the development of science education standards by involving themselves in the decision-making processes of state and local school boards.

Society of Systematic Biologists

The historical fact of evolution, as common descent with modification for life on earth, and the concepts used to study evolutionary change in living systems, provide the unifying theme for all biological knowledge. This is aptly summarized in Dobzhansky's statement that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." The corollary that nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of phylogeny is broadly recognized as well.

SSB affirms that evolutionary biology is a fundamental and necessary component of an excellent science education. SSB strongly supports the teaching of evolution and teaching about the process of science in classrooms, museums, and science centers. Modern research in global environmental change, agriculture, medicine, and the spread and control of disease all depend on understanding evolutionary concepts. Thus, understanding biological systems, their evolutionary history and their mechanisms of change is crucial to human health and well-being. Awareness of current views concerning evolutionary biology, including natural selection, is an essential part of modern cultural and scientific literacy for all citizens. Excellence in education requires that teachers and students continually evaluate scientific ideas in light of evidence; however, learning and inquiry are inhibited when educators feel pressured to alter their teaching of fundamental concepts of science in response to demands external to the scientific disciplines.

Systematic biology is the scientific study of the diversity of organisms and of any and all relationships among them.

Concerns of systematic biologists include:

-phylogenetic analysis to produce or test hypotheses of genealogical relationship among groups of organisms, and using those hypotheses to:

-discover patterns of structural, developmental, or molecular evolution;

-learn about processes that underlie the origin and maintenance of taxonomic diversity;

-conduct studies of biogeographical, co-evolutionary, and paleobiological patterns to learn about the diversification, distribution, and extinction of taxa;

-learn about the tempo and mode of evolutionary change;

-conduct studies leading to improved classifications, better methods of taxonomic identification and nomenclatural reform.

SSB is dedicated to the advancement of the science of systematic biology in all aspects of theory and practice, for all living and extinct organisms. In its journal, Systematic Biology, the society publishes original contributions regarding the theory, principles, and methods of systematics as well as evolution, morphology, biogeography, paleontology, genetics, and classification.

SSB encourages its members to stay informed about local science education issues and to promote rigorous and comprehensive teaching in the sciences, including evolutionary biology, for students at all levels.

SSB and its journal Systematic Biology are on the web at http://systbiol.org

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (1986)

Be it resolved, that the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology opposes the teaching of so-called "creation science" or "scientific creationism" as a viable alternative to evolutionary explanations of the origin and history of the earth and of life, on the grounds that "creation science" or "scientific creationism" is in its essentials a body of religious doctrines rather than an embodiment of scientific process.

Be it further resolved, that the officers of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology are hereby authorized to investigate the feasibility of associating the Society with one of the briefs of amicus curiae in the Louisiana creationism case now pending before the United States Supreme Court; and that, if feasible, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology formally associate itself with such a brief opposing the teaching of "scientific creationism" as science.

Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (1994)

The fossil record of vertebrates unequivocally supports the hypothesis that vertebrates have evolved through time, from their first records in the early Paleozoic Era about 500 million years ago to the great diversity we see in the world today. The hypothesis has been strengthened by so many independent observations of fossil sequences that it has come to be regarded as a confirmed fact, as certain as the drift of continents through time or the lawful operation of gravity.

Paleontology relies for its evidence on two different but historically related fields, biology and geology. Evolution is the central organizing principle of biology, understood as descent with modification. Evolution is equally basic to geology, because the patterns of rock formations, geomorphology, and fossil distributions in the world make no sense without the underlying process of change through time. Sometimes this change has been gradual, and sometimes it has been characterized by violent upheaval. These processes can be seen on the Earth today in the forms of earthquakes, volcanoes, and other tectonic phenomena. Vertebrates have also evolved at a variety of rates, some apparently gradual, and some apparently rapidly. Although the fossil record is not complete, and our knowledge of evolution will always be less than entire, the evidence for the progressive replacement of fossil forms has been adequate to support the theory of evolution for over 150 years, well before genetic mechanisms of evolutionary change were understood. Paleontologists may dispute, on the basis of the available evidence, the tempo and mode of evolution in a particular group at a particular time, but they do not argue about whether evolution took place: that is a fact.

The fossil record has long been seen as a search for "ancestors" of living forms and of other fossil forms. Some fossil vertebrates appear to have no features that debar them from ancestry to other groups, and so could be seen as potential ancestors. Nevertheless, paleontologists do not focus on a search for direct ancestors, but rather look for sets of evolutionarily derived characters that are shared by fossil taxa that can then be linked as each other's closest known relatives. Proceeding in this way, paleontologists have clarified in recent years a great many mysteries about the origins and interrelationships of major groups of vertebrates, including birds, dinosaurs and their relatives, lizards and snakes, Mesozoic marine reptiles, turtles, mammals and their relatives, amphibians, the first tetrapods, and many groups of fishes. At the same time, techniques of geologic dating, including magnetostratigraphy, radiometric dating of many different isotopes of common elements, lithostratigraphy, and biostratigraphy, have provided independent lines of evidence for determining age relationships of the sediments in which fossils are found. This evidence from the principles and techniques of chemistry and physics support the finds of paleontology based on paleobiological and geological analyses, making the theory of evolution the only robust scientific explanation for the patterns of life on Earth.

Evolution is fundamental to the teaching of good biology and geology, and the vertebrate fossil record is an excellent set of examples of the patterns and processes of evolution through time. We therefore urge the teaching of evolution as the only possible reflection of our science. Any attempt to compromise the patterns and processes of evolution in science education, to treat them as less than robust explanations, or to admit "alternative" explanations not relying upon sound evolutionary observations and theory, misrepresents the state of our science and does a disservice to the public. Textbooks and other instructional materials should not indulge in such misrepresentation, educators should shun such materials for classroom use, and teachers should not be harassed or impeded from teaching vertebrate evolution as it is understood by its practitioners. The record of vertebrate evolution is exciting, inspirational, instructive, and enjoyable, and it is our view that everyone should have the opportunity and the privilege to understand it as paleontologists do.

Southern Anthropological Society

The Southern Anthropological Society deplores the intrusion of a particular religious doctrine into public school classrooms under the guise of socalled "scientific creationism."

These doctrines claim that a literalist reading of the account of the origins of the earth and life on it, as contained in the initial chapters of the book of Genesis, is supported by acceptable scientific evidence.

This interpretation treats a religious text as a scientific theory, which would seem to misrepresent both religion and science. The overwhelming evidence of the sciences — cosmology, geology, biology, anthropology, among others — indicates that the earth and all living forms on it have evolved from a simpler state, although, as in all ongoing science, theories as to how this took place continue to be revised in detail.

There is no necessary conflict between religious belief and inquiry into the natural world.

The institutionalization of creationist doctrine in the school curriculum will lead to the crippling of scientific inquiry as well as to the blurring of the important constitutional distinction between church and state.

Tallahassee Scientific Society

Recognizing that the concept of intelligent design (ID) represents a serious threat to the quality of science education in Florida and throughout the United States, the Board of Directors of the Tallahassee Scientific Society adopts the following resolution:

WHEREAS intelligent design was found in the 2005 federal court case Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District to be the religious-based doctrine of creation science masquerading under another name and, specifically, not a scientific theory;

WHEREAS the teaching of creation science as a suitable alternative to standard science instruction in public classrooms was banned on constitutional grounds by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987;

WHEREAS, to date, ID proponents have failed to offer any credible scientific evidence to support their claims about life's origins or proposed any scientific means of testing these claims;

WHEREAS the vast majority of scientists throughout the world hold that evolutionary theory is the only testable scientific theory in existence on how life developed over time and therefore is a major unifying force in contemporary science;

WHEREAS the theory of evolution is among the most tested theories in the life sciences and is supported by volumes of evidence in such fields as anthropology, genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, comparative anatomy, immunology, geology, and paleontology;

WHEREAS the most eminent scientific societies in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the American Geophysical Union, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology — a consortium of 22 national scientific organizations with a combined membership of 85,000 scientists — have all passed resolutions condemning the promulgation of ID as science and as part of science education;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the TSS supports the teaching of evolutionary theory as the only plausible scientific approach yet known to understanding the biological, chemical and physical underpinnings of how life developed and changed over time;

THEREFORE BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the TSS opposes any reference to ID in Florida science education textbooks or science classroom instruction as anything other than a theological concept worthy of study only in such courses as religion, philosophy or history;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the name of promoting public scientific literacy the TSS is committed to combating any effort aimed at placing ID, creation science or any other religion-based belief system on the same intellectual and scientific footing as the theory of evolution in any science education setting in Florida or elsewhere.

Tennessee Academy of Science *

The Tennessee Academy of Science, as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, endorses the position statement of the AAAS concerning research and teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. Furthermore, TAS emphasizes that the theory of evolution is a fundamental concept of science, and thus must also be a cornerstone of science education. Evolution in the broadest sense refers to any change over time. The study of Earth’s evolution provides society with the necessary perspective to understand Earth’s physical and biological development. Evolutionary studies also provide insight concerning the natural processes active on Earth and help to shape our view of Earth’s future.

Evolutionary studies and evolutionary education apply to all branches of science, including organic evolution, cosmic evolution, geologic evolution, planetary evolution, cultural evolution, and others. The scientific evidence for evolution is pervasive. Geologic studies show Earth has changed dramatically over time, with continents assuming new positions and geographies. Paleontological studies document that life forms on Earth have changed, with new species arising and others becoming extinct. Astronomers have documented that galaxies, stars and planets have changed over time. Biologists and anthropologists have documented that human biology and culture have changed. The ubiquity of such explanations indicates that evolution has become a vital component of modern science. The National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy from AAAS’s Project 2061, numerous national education policy documents, and Tennessee’s published science education framework all recognize evolution’s role as a unifying concept for science disciplines that provides students, including future scientists, with the foundation to help them understand the natural world. For these reasons, TAS endorses the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. TAS also stresses that teachers should be free from the distraction of non-scientific or antiscientific influence. TAS thus concludes that non-naturalistic or supernatural explanations, often guised as “creation science,” “scientific creationism,” or “intelligent design theory,” are not scientific in nature, do not conform to the scientific usage of “theory,” and should not be included in Tennessee’s science curricula.

Tennessee Darwin Coalition

It has recently come to our attention that with the inclusion of the Gateway standards in the Tennessee high school biology curriculum, which require the coverage of evolutionary principles, many teachers are choosing to exclude human-related examples. We support and applaud the effort that administrators have made to insure the inclusion of evolution in the curriculum of high schools across the state. However, while we are sensitive to the fact that broaching this topic may be difficult for many individuals because of cultural beliefs or religious convictions, we find the exclusion of human evolution to be incompatible with the goal of integrating evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are further disappointed because there are excellent examples from humans and closely related lineages that uniquely illustrate many evolutionary principles. Many students would find the discussion of these topics both relevant and intriguing, and their inclusion would help students appreciate relationships between ourselves and other organisms living on this planet. These points are outlined in more detail below:

1) Exclusion of human examples is incompatible with an accurate presentation of key ideas in biology in the curriculum.

Discussion of evolution in a topical framework is inadequate. Instead all topics in biology should be presented with an historical perspective. This approach makes the discussion of our historical relationships to other organisms inevitable. For example, all subjects in biology are enhanced by an evolutionary context from molecular (e.g., the universal nature of the genetic code), cellular (e.g., the origin of mitochondria), to developmental biology (e.g., similarity in early embryonic development among mammals) and the discussion of whole organisms (e.g., homological relationships in the anatomy of appendages in birds, bats, whales, etc.). Discussion of biology in an evolutionary framework would not only be more accurate, but would also render the subject matter intrinsically more interesting to students.

2) Examples from human evolution uniquely illustrate many evolutionary principles.

In humans and closely related species we have a relatively complete and well documented data base supporting evolutionary relationships. This is particularly true for a range of molecular and DNA sequence analyses that have been completed for humans and other primates from around the world. These molecular data combined with the available fossil evidence provide a substantial picture of the origin and migration patterns for human ancestors and related lineages. Presentation of salient examples from this information base (e.g., the disappearance of the Neandertals) would emphasize the "branchy" nature of our family tree and help erase inaccurate perceptions of linear progressions of fossil types that are still prevalent in the popular media.

3) Inclusion of human examples is crucial to communicate the relevance of evolutionary principles.

Much of the typical high school biology curriculum concentrates on human biology and human health issues. The delegation of evolution to a limited and focused presentation (the topical approach mentioned above) during which only non-human examples were used would provide the false impression that these principles have only limited application. Obviously teachers and textbook authors have chosen to provide a human focus for high school level because it facilitates increased interest and learning for these students. Utilization of human examples would emphasize the relevance of historical relationships among organisms and would be more likely to promote discussion and consideration of evolutionary principles in the broader context of biology.

Mitch Cruzan, President
Massimo Pigliucci
Tennessee Darwin Coalition
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Texas Academy of Science *

The Texas Academy of Science has been one of the state’s leading advocates of scientific education since its founding in 1892. The Academy’s membership of nearly 1000 scientists and educators pursue a diverse array of scientific disciplines including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geosciences, physical anthropology, and computer science. Within their respective disciplines of study, the Academy’s members practice critical observation and experimentation of falsifiable concepts, which are the primary methods for obtaining the data on which scientifically defensible theories and concepts are based. Peer review and re-testing of hypotheses generated through scientific research are mandatory steps prior to the acceptance by the scientific community of any hypothesis or set of hypotheses leading to the development of a credible scientific theory. Newton’s theory of gravitation and the theory of evolution by natural selection are prime examples of scientific concepts that have been rigorously tested in this way by generations of scientists.

Today, the theory of evolution remains the primary unifying cognitive framework in the biological sciences. The effectiveness of the expanding knowledge base of biological systems and their multi-billion year histories requires a firm understanding of evolutionary processes. The purportedly competing “theories” explicated by creationists to displace the theory of evolution in the biological sciences are not based on an effective application of scientific methodologies, nor are they testable using established scientific methodologies. Scientific methodologies are not designed to address metaphysical questions that deal with the nature of god(s) or the reasons for the existence of the universe. The viewpoints expressed by adherents to creationism and intelligent design explicitly address such issues. The overwhelming majority of members of the scientific community defer to experts in philosophy and religion to address metaphysical issues relevant to their respective disciplines.

It is the position of the Texas Academy of Science that because neither creationism nor intelligent design are based on information obtained using scientific methodologies, and because neither has withstood the test of scientific peer review, they are not scientific concepts. It is critically important to recognize that neither of these concepts is falsifiable. Having failed the scientific verification process, both must be excluded from scientific curricula at the primary, secondary and higher education levels. This is not just the position of the Texas Academy of Science, it is the consensus of the U. S. Supreme Court, Judge John E. Jones in Kitzmiller vs. Dover (2004) and 11,000 plus Christian clergy signers of the Clergy Letter Project. Other scientific organizations throughout the United States have formulated position statements calling for the exclusion of creationism and intelligent design from science curricula, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; the National Research Council; the National Center for Science Education; the National Science Teachers Association; the National Association of Biology Teachers; the Geological Society of America; and the American Geological Institute. It is the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that creationism and intelligent design are faith-based concepts that have no scientific merit.

Texas science teachers have a finite amount of class time and textbook space in which to teach the many valid and foundational scientific concepts that enable students to become knowledgeable consumers, decision makers and voters. Inclusion of creationist or intelligent design concepts in science curricula would seriously diminish the effectiveness of science education by distracting teachers from covering an already overwhelming body of knowledge and would consequently dilute student’s understanding of scientifically valid concepts and theories. Therefore, it is the position of the Texas Academy of Science that, through their policies and decisions, the State Board of Education, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board should ensure that neither “creationism” nor “intelligent design” is added to the state’s scientific curricula. If the State Board of Education considers the material presented by the concepts of “creationism” or “intelligent design” to be appropriate for inclusion in school curricula, these concepts should be addressed in humanities, social science, or religious studies curricula separate from all pre-kindergarten to graduate school-level science education programs.

Modern industry requires a scientifically educated workforce. In order for Texas to remain economically competitive, it is essential that all Texans, but especially our youth obtain a solid foundation in the sciences. Government agencies which oversee their education must enact policies and make personnel decisions that reflect a commitment to sound, science-based education and which are never dictated by the religious views of agency administrators. Integrating religious doctrine into the mission of the Texas Education Agency or the State Board of Education will result in a further lowering of the educational performance of Texas school children. The hiring of TEA administrators and staff must be based on appropriate educational credentials and teaching experience for those individuals to conduct the agency’s mission to educate the children of Texas. Texas’s reputation is at stake and the country is watching.

The Paleontological Society

Evolution is both a scientific fact and a scientific theory. Evolution is a fact in the sense that life has changed through time. In nature today, the characteristics of species are changing, and new species are arising. The fossil record is the primary factual evidence for evolution in times past, and evolution is well documented by further evidence from other scientific disciplines, including comparative anatomy, biogeography, genetics, molecular biology, and studies of viral and bacterial diseases.

Evolution is also a theory — an explanation for the observed changes in life through Earth history that has been tested numerous times and repeatedly confirmed. Evolution is an elegant theory that explains the history of life through geologic time; the diversity of living organisms, including their genetic, molecular, and physical similarities and differences; and the geographic distribution of organisms. Evolutionary principles are the foundation of all basic and applied biology and paleontology, from biodiversity studies to studies on the control of emerging diseases.

Because evolution is fundamental to understanding both living and extinct organisms, it must be taught in public school science classes. In contrast, creationism is religion rather than science, as ruled in recent court cases, because it invokes supernatural explanations that cannot be tested. Consequently, creationism in any form (including "scientific creationism," "creation science," and "intelligent design" must be excluded from public school science classes. Because science involves testing hypotheses, scientific explanations are restricted to natural causes.

This difference between science and religion does not mean that the two fields are incompatible. Many scientists who study evolution are religious, and many religious denominations have issued statements supporting evolution. Science and religion address different questions and employ different ways of knowing.

The evolution paradigm has withstood nearly 150 years of scrutiny. Although the existence of evolution has been confirmed many times, as a science evolutionary theory must continue to be open to testing. At this time, however, more fruitful inquiries address the tempo and mode of evolution, various processes involved in evolution, and driving factors for evolution. Through such inquiry, the unifying theory of evolution will become an even more powerful explanation for the history of life on Earth.

Union of Concerned Scientists (2007) *

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an independent, nonprofit alliance of more than 200,000 citizens and scientists. We base our research and outreach on rigorous scientific analysis and the maintenance of scientific integrity in decision making among the public and policy makers.

We are gravely concerned about current attempts to mandate the teaching of “intelligent design” and other non-scientific accounts of the origins of species and biological diversity in our nation’s science classrooms. We are also troubled by the misleading interpretations of scientific principles being used to discredit and misrepresent the science of evolution. This misuse of science and education could have significant negative long-term consequences for American competitiveness and world leadership on scientific matters.

Science is a powerful way of understanding the natural world through a process of observation, experimentation, and analysis. It provides society with a reliable foundation for individual and collective decision making. Evolution by natural selection is one of the most studied and tested theories in science and is the central organizing principle of biology. It has played a fundamental role in the advancement of medical research— especially in areas involving genetics, disease resistance, and immunology—and is supported by key concepts in other scientific disciplines such as physics, geology, chemistry, and astronomy. Modern evolutionary theory provides a robust explanation for how life on Earth developed over the last four billion years through the passing on of genetic information from one generation to the next.1

The recent national focus on improving the level of math and science skills in the United States make attacks on evolution and science education particularly counterproductive. Science education enables students to develop the intellectual tools needed to make empirical judgments and play a productive and participatory role in human society. Evolution is a fundamental part of science education. UCS recommends and endorses the National Science Teachers Association statement on evolution, as well as the white paper Evolution Science and Society: Evolutionary Biology and the National Research Agenda, authored by eight major professional scientific societies.

For more than a century, overtly creationist views have driven most opposition to the teaching of evolution. The recently emerged intelligent design movement, on the other hand, takes on the guise of science to promote itself as a scientifically valid alternative to evolution. Intelligent design promoters suggest that some structures found in nature are too complex to have developed through natural selection and are best explained as having been purposefully designed by an “intelligent” agent. The main tenet of this movement is what its supporters call “irreducible complexity”: the idea that these structures are dependent on all of their individual parts to function, and therefore could not have evolved piecemeal over time. These and other claims are based on a misinterpretation of natural selection. Not all structures have the same function, or need to be simultaneously functional, throughout the evolution of an organism.2

Those advocating the teaching of intelligent design in the science classroom will only be successful if the public lacks understanding of basic concepts in science, including evolution. Despite the claims of the movement, intelligent design is not a scientific theory because the influence of an “intelligent” agent in the origin and evolution of life can neither be tested nor falsified.

Scientists, teachers, and members of the public are growing increasingly alarmed by attempts to convince the public and policy makers that intelligent design has a legitimate place in the science classroom. Numerous leading science and education groups have formally endorsed the teaching of evolutionary theory and opposed the teaching of non-science alternatives in the science classroom. They are also developing more effective public communications strategies to address these and other challenges to science. UCS supports these efforts.

This anti-evolution movement claims that it is only “fair” to teach alternatives to evolution. But a science classroom is not a place where all ideas are given equal weight. Science is a process in which ideas are ultimately accepted or discarded based on rigorous observation and testing. While discussions of intelligent design and creationism may have a role in other parts of the curriculum, they do not have a place in the science classroom.

For many scientists and people of faith, there is no conflict between science and religion. Numerous religious organizations have made statements in support of evolution and the separation of science and religion in the classroom.

If non-scientific beliefs are accepted as science, we are concerned that the public’s understanding of science will be further eroded, the integrity of science will be diminished, and the potential implications for society will be profound. The ability to distinguish between claims based on evidence and analysis of the natural world and those based on belief may be lost, leading our future decision makers to make choices based on unsubstantiated information.

Over the past several years, political interference with science that does not support certain political or ideological beliefs has become widespread and pervasive. The recent resurgence of anti-evolution movements is an example of this broader trend. We encourage the mobilization of scientists, teachers, policy makers, and concerned citizens to combat efforts to undermine science education and the integrity of science.

References

Notes

1. The theory of evolution is based on the principle of natural selection (descent with modification) proposed by Charles Darwin and others in the mid-nineteenth century. Modern evolutionary theory, referred to as “neo-Darwinism” or “evolutionary theory,” has progressed beyond Darwin’s ideas to include genetics and molecular biology and the investigation of additional natural mechanisms of evolution such as genetic drift. Although there is lively discussion about the role of different evolutionary mechanisms, there is no alternative theory with any credibility accepted by evolutionary biologists, or indeed the scientific community as a whole, about the validity of the theory of evolution.

2. Under the theory of natural selection, structures may have one function at one time and be adapted for another use later on. In some instances what might now be seen as complex may have begun as a byproduct of another structure with little or no function in its initial stages. Natural selection is not the only mechanism for evolution and some phenomena that may not be adequately explained by natural selection may be explained by other evolutionary mechanisms.

Virginia Academy of Science

Science is three-fold. It consists of a body of information, a theoretical structure for organizing that information, and a method for generating new information and testing new theories. An acceptable scientific theory must be consistent with the available data and be subject to experimental verification. Any theory that cannot be tested lies outside the domain of science.

The central organizing principle of biology is the theory of evolution. It is consistent with the data of systematics, comparative anatomy and biochemistry, genetics, embryology and paleontology. It has been tested by the methods of population genetics and experimental breeding. Its detailed interpretation is subject to revision by the normal methods of science in the course of experimentation and peer review.

It is the duty of the scientific community to resist unwarranted political and religious intrusion into the domain of science. The Virginia Academy of Science, therefore, affirms the propriety of teaching the theory of evolution in secondary schools, colleges, and universities, and maintains that the curricula should conform to the highest professional standards of the various scientific disciplines.

West Virginia Academy of Science

Be it resolved that the West Virginia Academy of Science adopts the following position statement on the relation between science and religion, and on their places in science classrooms in public schools.

In the modern world, science is one important way of organizing human experience. That there are other important ways is evident from the existence of diverse religions and other nonscientific systems of thought.

Our nation requires well trained scientists and scientifically literate citizens who understand the values and limitations of science. Therefore, science courses should not only convey the important conclusions of modern science, but should also help students to understand the nature of scientific thought, and how it differs from other modes of thought.

Teachers are professionally obligated to treat all questions as objectively as possible. Questions regarding the relation between science and various religions may arise. To the extent that a teacher feels competent to do so, he or she should be free to respond to such questions. It is appropriate to show why science limits itself to ways of reasoning that can only produce naturalistic explanations. However, teachers and students should be free to challenge the presuppositions of science and to question their adequacy as a basis for a religion or world view. Ideas offered seriously by students deserve a serious response. They will never be ridiculed by teachers with high professional standards. Furthermore, teachers should make it clear that students will be evaluated on their understanding of the concepts studied, and not on their personal beliefs regarding those concepts.

Dogmatic assertions are inconsistent with objective consideration of any subject. Science is always tentative and does not pretend to offer ultimate truth. Nevertheless, there is an overwhelming consensus among scientists that the earth is several billion years old, that living organisms are related by descent from common ancestors, and that interpretation of all available evidence by scientific standards renders contrary claims highly implausible.

"Scientific creationism," which does challenge these conclusions, is a point of view held only by those who insist that the principle of biblical inerrancy and perspicuity must take precedence over all scientific considerations. This viewpoint is religious. Their claim that scientific creationism is independent of biblical creationism, which they admit is religious, is demonstrably false. The consistently poor scholarship of their attempts to defend scientific creationism suggests that their dominating principle can be accepted on faith but is not compatible with scientific standards of reasoning. It is clear that scientific creationism and science are two distinct systems of thought. It should be noted that other religions, including other varieties of Christianity, are also distinct from science, but are compatible with it.

Scientific creationists have defined the issue in such a way that their point of view on one side is contrasted with all other points of view lumped together on the other side, even though some of these other points of view also consider themselves creationist. Their demand that public schools devote equal time and resources to scientific creationism is in effect a demand that their religion be accorded special status and that schools purchase large quantities of books from their publishing houses, even though these books demonstrably represent poor scholarship. It is an attempt to win by legislative decree what they have been unable to win through scholarly argument. Proposals for equal time legislation are unwise.

Be it resolved that the West Virginia Academy of Science endorses and adopts the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) resolution on Forced Teaching of Creationist Beliefs in Public School Science Education. This resolution, adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors and AAAS Council in January, 1982, read as follows: AAAS 1982 Statement.