What the Scientific Community Says about Evolution and Intelligent Design

Document Date: November 23, 2005

(includes off-site links)

> The Case Against “Intelligent Design”

National Academy of Sciences
Those who oppose the teaching of evolution in public schools sometimes ask that teachers present evidence against evolution. However, there is no debate within the scientific community over whether evolution occurred, and there is no evidence that evolution has not occurred. Some of the details of how evolution occurs are still being investigated. But scientists continue to debate only the particular mechanisms that result in evolution, not the overall accuracy of evolution as the explanation of life’s history.

American Association of University Professors
“The theory of evolution is all but universally accepted in the community of scholars and has contributed immeasurably to our understanding of the natural world. […] The American Association of University Professors deplores efforts in local communities and by some state legislators to require teachers in public schools to treat evolution as merely a hypothesis or speculation, untested and unsubstantiated by the methods of science, and to require them to make students aware of an “intelligent-design hypothesis” to account for the origins of life. These initiatives not only violate the academic freedom of public school teachers, but can deny students an understanding of the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding evolution.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science
The [intelligent design] movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution… the lack of scientific warrant for so-called intelligent design theory’ makes it improper to include as a part of science education.

American Anthropological Association
The Association respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those who reject evolution as matters of theology or faith. Such beliefs should not be presented as science, however.Science describes and explains the natural world: it does not prove or disprove beliefs about the supernatural.

American Astronomical Society
Science is not based on faith, nor does it preclude faith. Whatever personal beliefs teachers, students, parents or administrators may hold, the teaching of important scientific concepts, such as the formation and aging of planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe, should not be altered or constrained in response to demands external to the scientific disciplines.

National Association of Biology Teachers
Scientists have firmly established evolution as an important natural process. Experimentation, logical analysis, and evidence-based revision are procedures that clearly differentiate and separate science from other ways of knowing. Explanations or ways of knowing that invoke non-naturalistic or supernatural events or beings, whether called creation science,’ scientific creationism,’ intelligent design theory,’ young earth theory,’ or similar designations, are outside the realm of science and not part of a valid science curriculum.

Geological Society of America
In recent years, certain individuals motivated by religious views have mounted an attack on evolution. This group favors what it calls creation science,’ which is not really science at all because it invokes supernatural phenomena. Science, in contrast, is based on observations of the natural world. All beliefs that entail supernatural creation, including the idea known as intelligent design, fall within the domain of religion rather than science. For this reason, they must be excluded from science courses in our public schools.

The American Chemical Society
Evolution cannot be dismissed or diminished by characterizing it as mere conjecture or speculation.The inclusion of non-scientific explanations in science curricula misrepresents the nature and processes of science and compromises a central purpose of public educationthe preparation of a scientifically literate workforce.

American Institute of Biological Sciences
The theory of evolution is the only scientifically defensible explanation for the origin of life and development of species. A theory in science, such as the atomic theory in chemistry and the Newtonian and relativity theories in physics, is not a speculative hypothesis, but a coherent body of explanatory statements supported by evidence. The theory of evolution has this status. Explanations for the origin of life and the development of species that are not supportable on scientific grounds should not be taught as science.

The Paleontological Society
Because evolution is fundamental to understanding both living and extinct organisms, it must be taught in public school science classes. In contrast, creationism is religion rather than science, as ruled in recent court cases, because it invokes supernatural explanations that cannot be tested. Consequently, creationism in any form (including scientific creationism, creation science, and intelligent design) must be excluded from public school science classes. Because science involves testing hypotheses, scientific explanations are restricted to natural causes.

Botanical Society of America
Science as a way of knowing has been extremely successful, although people may not like all the changes science and its handmaiden, technology, have wrought. But people who oppose evolution, and seek to have creationism or intelligent design included in science curricula, seek to dismiss and change the most successful way of knowing ever discovered. They wish to substitute opinion and belief for evidence and testing. The proponents of creationism/intelligent design promote scientific ignorance in the guise of learning.

Many other scientific organizations are opposed to teaching intelligent design as a science-based alternative to evolution, including:
New Orleans Geological Society
New York Academy of Sciences
Ohio Academy of Science
Ohio Math and Science Coalition
Oklahoma Academy of Sciences
Sigma Xi, Louisiana State University Chapter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Society for Amateur Scientists
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Society for Neuroscience
Society for Organic Petrology
Society for the Study of Evolution
Society of Physics Students
Society of Systematic Biologists
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Southern Anthropological Society
Virginia Academy of Science
West Virginia Academy of Science
American Association of Physical Anthropologists
American Geophysical Union
American Society of Biological Chemists
American Psychological Association
American Physical Society
American Society of Parasitologists
Association for Women Geoscientists
Australian Academy of Science
California Academy of Sciences
Ecological Society of America
Genetics Society of America
Geological Society of America
Georgia Academy of Science
History of Science Society
Iowa Academy of Science
Kentucky Paleontological Society
Louisiana Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences
North American Benthological Society
North Carolina Academy of Science

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