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.