Analysis of the "Santorum language"
In 2001, the United States Senate adopted a "Sense of the Senate" amendment proposed by Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) as part of an education bill. As reported here, the resolution included the phrase, "where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subject generates so much continuing controversy..." There was little doubt that Santorum's language could be used to undercut the teaching of evolution. (See, for example, this posting by the American Geological Institute.)
Soon after adoption, the "Santorum language" began to appear in anti-evolution publications and proposals across the country. Some creationists claimed that the language constituted a federal mandate to teach "intelligent design". In fact, the Santorum amendment was removed from the bill in question by a conference committee made up of legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives. It is not part of the final bill or the resulting No Child Left Behind law.
In 2002, NCSE released a document, consisting of previously published material from a variety of sources, that provides background information on the Santorum language and the attempts to use it to promote intelligent design creationism.
Selections from NCSE's analysis of the Santorum language are available online via the links below.
- The complete document (in pdf format) is available here.
- See also Farewell to the Santorum Amendment?, RNCSE 22, 2002.
- See these NCSE news stories for examples of the use of the Santorum language by creationists, especially from 2002-2005.