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
Good science education is the key to the innovation and creativity needed for the U.S. to maintain its world leadership in science and technology. At a time when we are placing so much attention on improving math and science skills, it is particularly disturbing that science education is under attack.
The success of the intelligent design movement in convincing the public and policy makers that it is has a legitimate place in the science classroom is causing increasing alarm. Many teaching, scientific, and religious associations have circulated statements opposing the teaching of intelligent design as science. Good web resources for teachers and others opposing creationism and intelligent design in the classroom are growing rapidly.
Recent legal challenges 1 to attempts to mandate intelligent design in the science curriculum have been fairly successful. Rulings such as those in Dover County, Pennsylvania and in Kansas concluded that intelligent design is based on religion and not science and should not be taught as an alternative to evolution. But new anti-evolution efforts are gaining ground across the country at an alarming rate.
There are a number of excellent websites with resources for teachers, scientists, policy makers, and concerned citizens. We have included a few in the Suggested Resources section below.
Statements by Scientific and Education Societies
- National Center for Science Education - “Voices for Evolution,” a project of NCSE, provides an extensive list of statements from education, scientific, religious, and civil liberties groups supporting the teaching of evolution in public schools.
Resources for Teachers
- American Institute for Biological Science - An extensive set of materials on evolution-related issues for educators.
- American Institute for Biological Science and the National Center for Science Education list serve - A list serve for scientists, teachers, and others to communicate about, and provide support for the teaching of evolution and the rapid response to attempts to bring anti-evolution policies into schools.
- Talk Design - Provides links to state-based organizations supporting science education.
- National Academy of Sciences - Provides links to books, articles, position statements, and education resources on evolution.
- National Center for Science Education - Articles and essays on teaching evolution.
- “25 Ways to Support Science Education” - A list of actions that can be taken by teachers and the public.
Legal Aspects of Intelligent Design in Science Education
- National Academy of Sciences and National Science Teachers Association - A 2002 joint statement rejecting copyright permission for the use of their publications in the Kansas Science Education Standards. The statement describes concerns about changes to the Kansas standards including revision of the definition of science and the singling out of evolution as "controversial."
- Judge Jones opinion in Kitzmiller v. the Dover Area School District - The complete Memorandum Opinion in the Dover case finding that the proposed policy to include intelligent design in the public school science curriculum does not pass the Lemon Test and that intelligent design is a religious view not a scientific theory. The document provides a good review of the legal and historical context of creationism versus evolution in schools. See the articles at MSNBC and ACLU on the Dover trial.
- National Center for Science Education - Provides an overview and links to important past court decisions regarding evolution/creation issues.
- Award to Alton Lemon from the Freedom From Religion Foundation - A presentation of an award to Alton Lemon that provides a succinct description of the Lemon Test and its history.