Science, Evolution, and Intelligent Design

Introduction
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

Section 2: Science and Society

We continue to reap the technological, medical, agricultural, environmental, and cultural benefits of scientific discovery. Although science and scientists are highly respected in society, there is a lack of public understanding of some of the most basic concepts in science, including evolution1. Anti-evolution groups make good use of this confusion to attempt to discredit the scientific basis of evolution and support their own views.

For many scientists there is no conflict between science and religion2—science explores how things work while religion and philosophy ask why. They can coexist as separate areas of inquiry and even lead to enlightening discussions. Indeed, some mainstream religions3—such as the Roman Catholic Church—support the theory of evolution as an explanation of how humans and other organisms arose on Earth. Recent attempts to incorporate religion-based alternatives to evolution in the science classroom have elicited strong reactions by many of these groups.

Our policy makers rely on independent scientific information to make informed decisions that protect our health, safety, and the environment. Unfortunately, a growing level of political and ideological interference threatens the integrity of science4 in public decision making, with wide-ranging repercussions for our social, economic, and environmental future.

Suggested Resources

Science and Religion

  • National Center for Science Education - Links to statements on religion and science by 17 Jewish and Christian organizations supporting evolution and the teaching of evolution in public schools.
  • 1996 statement by Pope John Paul II supporting the theory of evolution and attesting that there is no conflict between the physical evolution of humans and their spirituality.
  • An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science signed by over 10,000 clergy around the U.S.  It asserts science and religion are complimentary not conflicting forms of the truth.
  • Public Broadcasting Service - A segment from a PBS series on evolution that focuses on how religion and science are compatible.
  • A poll of 460 college and university professors asked about their opinions on "intelligent design." Conducted by the Department of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. Key results include: 91% knew of no valid theory that challenges evolution and 84% found no conflict between evolution and a belief in God.

Scientific Integrity

  • Union of Concerned Scientists Scientific Integrity Program - The program monitors political interference in science and mobilizes scientists and citizens to push for reforms.

Intelligent Design

  • 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 curriculum. 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 American article 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense