You are here
State Board of Education Adopts Another Evolution Disclaimer
by Eric Meikle
The Alabama State Board of Education voted on November 8, 2001 to require that a statement referring to evolution as controversial be inserted in science textbooks. Since 1995 an evolution disclaimer (see below) has been pasted in Alabama's state-approved texts. Early this year the Board of Education adopted a new K-12 science education framework, the Alabama Course of Study: Science (ACOSS). Some observers had thought that Board might simply drop the previous disclaimer, given changes in ACOSS since 1995. However, the Board voted instead to require a new insert consisting of four paragraphs from the Preface to the 2001 ACOSS.
The following evolution disclaimer has appeared in science textbooks in Alabama public schools since 1995:
"This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants, animals and humans. No one was present when life first appeared on Earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered a theory. The word evolution may refer to many types of change. Evolution describes changes that occur within a species. (White moths, for example, may evolve into gray moths.) This process is microevolution, which can be observed and described as fact. Evolution may also refer to the change of one living thing to another, such as reptiles into birds. This process, called macroevolution, has never been observed and should be considered a theory. Evolution also refers to the unproven belief that random, undirected forces produced a world of living things. There are many unanswered questions about the origin of life which are not mentioned in your textbook, including: Why did the major groups of animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, (known as the Cambrian Explosion)? Why have no new major groups of living things appeared in the fossil record in a long time? Why do major groups of plants and animals have no transitional forms in the fossil record? How did you and all living things come to possess such a complete and complex set of instructions for building a living body? Study hard and keep an open mind. Someday you may contribute to the theories of how living things appeared on Earth."