Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
UCS Statement on Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (html) (pdf)
Section 1: Science as a Way of Knowing
Section 2: Science and Society
Section 3: Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design
Section 4: Why Intelligent Design is not Science
Section 5: Science Education and Intelligent Design
Section 6: Fairness and Balance in the Classroom and Beyond
Modern evolutionary theory1 provides a robust explanation for how life on earth evolved over time through the passing on of traits from one generation to the next. It is one of the most studied, tested, and accepted theories in science. Creationist attempts to challenge evolution have been common over the last 100 years, but recent and dangerous challenges have come mainly from the intelligent design2 movement.
Intelligent design is based on the concept of "irreducible complexity"3: an idea that some structures found in nature are too complex to be explained by natural selection and are best explained by some intelligent cause. The focus of the movement is on mandating that intelligent design be taught as an alternative to evolution in the science classroom. To do this, it relies on creating false controversy and misconceptions about science—especially evolution. The movement has been successful at gaining support from many community leaders, including politicians and school board members.
A particularly disturbing element of the intelligent design movement is the attempt to circumvent laws protecting separation of church and state4 by claiming that it is a scientific theory not a religious belief.
Evolution and Evolutionary Theory
- Understanding Evolution - A web site created by the University of California Berkeley Museum of Paleontology that provides a well organized and informative tutorial on the science of evolution and its impacts on society.
- American Institute for Biological Science - An extensive set of materials on evolution-related issues with a focus on educators.
- The Society for the Study of Evolution - Includes good science-based resources and essays on evolution for teachers, scientists, and others; and provides links to statements on evolution by other scientific societies and links to pro-evolution groups and programs. The essay "Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Education" is a particularly good resource.
- Evolution, Science and Society: Evolutionary Biology and the Natural Research Agenda - A well organized web-based document prepared by representatives of eight major scientific associations. It provides increasing detail on issues of evolution including its foundations, research, applications, and impacts on nature and society.
- Public Broadcasting Service - A series of seven shows on evolution on the topics of Darwin, change, extinction, survival, sex, humans, and religion.
- Discovery Institute - The primary pro-intelligent design website for the general public. Most of its articles are written by staff and supporters. It includes links to a variety of other topics and projects that it supports.
- Intelligent Design Network - A website devoted to presenting intelligent design as science and supporting its inclusion in the school curricula. It relies significantly on materials written by scientists and related professionals, as well as articles published in mainstream magazines and newspapers.
- "15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American's Nonsense" by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. and Brad Harrub, Ph.D. - A Rebuttal to John Rennie's Scientific America article "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense."