Biogeographers add their voice for evolution


The Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers adopted a strong statement on the teaching of evolution on November 1, 2005. The statement reads:

The Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers affirms the fundamental importance and validity of evolutionary theory for understanding the origin, distribution, history, and diversity of life on Earth and thus its importance to the field of geography.

Evolution is a foundational principle of modern biology and the geosciences. It is supported by overwhelming evidence, and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. We support extensive inclusion of evolution in state science standards and science curricula at all educational levels. We oppose all efforts to compromise, downplay, or diminish its centrality in science, including efforts to incorporate "intelligent design" (ID) into science curricula. We strongly endorse the resolutions of the American Association for the Advancement of Science regarding the place of contemporary evolutionary theory in science and science education.

We conceive science to be a systematic endeavor to describe, explain, and predict the material world in terms of natural forces and processes subject to empirical testing and verification. While it makes no overt references to a particular deity, ID is a metaphysical proposition. As such, it is unrelated to scientific inquiry and should have no connection to science instruction. Intelligent Design produces no testable hypotheses, its assertions can never be rigorously tested. Moreover, by invoking a supernatural to explain phenomena we do not yet understand, ID forfeits the possibility of deriving naturalistic explanations, and

We recognize that metaphysical viewpoints play important roles in all cultures and societies, respect the rights of all individuals to believe and worship as they see fit, and affirm the worthiness of religion as a subject of geographic inquiry. We support the study of the rich diversity of religious belief in comparative and neutral contexts, but metaphysical concerns have no place in science classrooms.

Americans’ lagging understanding of science and math threaten our global economic and technological competitiveness. Science instruction must not be distracted by unrelated subjects. Intelligent design and other pseudoscientific concepts do not contribute to developing the basic understanding that will allow students to navigate the world they will inherit: quite the opposite, they are distractions we can ill-afford. Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers opposes their inclusion in school science curricula.

The Biogeography Speciality Group of the Association of American Geographers seeks to promote interactions between biogeographers, stimulate active research and teaching development in biogeography, and facilitate the exchange of ideas.