A voice for evolution from Oregon


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement on "Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design" from the Oregon Department of Education issued in 2007.

The statement explains, "The Oregon Science Content Standards adopted in April of 2001 clearly require the teaching of evolution" (as do the standards subsequently adopted in 2009). With respect to creationism, the statement quotes from the 1995 document "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law":

Schools may teach about explanations of life on earth, including religious ones (such as "creationism"), in comparative religion or social studies classes. In science class, however, they may present only genuinely scientific critiques of, or evidence for, any explanation of life on earth, but not religious critiques (beliefs unverifiable by scientific methodology). Schools may not refuse to teach evolutionary theory in order to avoid giving offense to religion nor may they circumvent these rules by labeling as science an article of religious faith. Public schools must not teach as scientific fact or theory any religious doctrine, including "creationism," although any genuinely scientific evidence for or against any explanation of life may be taught. Just as they may neither advance nor inhibit any religious doctrine, teachers should not ridicule, for example, a student's religious explanation for life on earth.
("Religion in the Public Schools" was endorsed as providing a correct statement of current law governing religion in the public schools by a wide variety of organizations, from the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State to the Christian Legal Society and the National Association of Evangelicals.)

The department's statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's Voices for Evolution.