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Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
3.Resolution passed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science Commission on Science Education6
The Commission on Science Education of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is vigorously opposed to attempts by some boards of education, and other groups, to require that religious accounts of creation be taught in science classes.
During the past century and a half, the earth's crust and the fossils preserved in it have been intensively studied by geologists and paleontologists. Biologists have intensively studied the origin, structure, physiology, and genetics of living organisms. The conclusion of these studies is that the living species of animals and plants have evolved from different species that lived in the past. The scientists involved in these studies have built up the body of knowledge known as the biological theory of the origin and evolution of life. There is no currently acceptable alternative scientific theory to explain the phenomena.
The various accounts of creation that are part of the religious heritage of many people are not scientific statements or theories. They are statements that one may choose to believe, but if he does, this is a matter of faith, because such statements are not subject to study or verification by the procedures of science. A scientific statement must be capable of test by observation and experiment. It is acceptable only if, after repeated testing, it is found to account satisfactorily for the phenomena to which it is applied.
Thus the statements about creation that are part of many religions have no place in the domain of science and should not be regarded as reasonable alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin and evolution of life.
Resolution on Inclusion of the Theory of Creation in Science Curricula7
WHEREAS some State Boards of Education and State Legislatures have required or are considering requiring inclusion of the theory of creation as an alternative to evolutionary theory in discussions of origins of life, and
WHEREAS the requirement that the theory of creation be included in textbooks as an alternative to evolutionary theory represents a constraint upon the freedom of the science teacher in the classroom, and
WHEREAS its inclusion also represents dictation by a lay body of what shall be considered within the corpus of a science.
THEREFORE the American Association for the Advancement of Science strongly urges that reference to the theory of creation, which is neither scientifically grounded nor capable of performing the roles required of scientific theories, not be required in textbooks and other classroom materials intended for use in science curricula.
Statement on Forced Teaching of Creationist Beliefs in Public School Science Education8
WHEREAS it is the responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to preserve the integrity of science, and
WHEREAS science is a systematic method of investigation based on continuous experimentation, observation, and measurement leading to evolving explanations of natural phenomena, explanations which are continuously open to further testing, and
WHEREAS evolution fully satisfies these criteria, irrespective of remaining debates concerning its detailed mechanisms, and
WHEREAS the Association respects the right of people to hold diverse beliefs about creation that do not come within the definitions of science, and
WHEREAS creationist groups are imposing beliefs disguised as science upon teachers and students to the detriment and distortion of public education in the United States,
THEREFORE be it resolved that because "creationist science" has no scientific validity it should not be taught as science, and further, that the AAAS views legislation requiring "creationist science" to be taught in public schools as a real and present threat to the integrity of education and the teaching of science, and
Be it further resolved that the AAAS urges citizens, educational authorities, and legislators to oppose the compulsory inclusion in science education curricula of beliefs that are not amenable to the process of scrutiny, testing, and revision that is indispensable to science.
Reprinted with permission from NSTA Publications, copyright 1997 from NSTA Handbook, 1997–98, National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000.
Statement on Teaching Evolution, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). Adopted by the NABT Board of Directors on March 15, 1995.
Dobzhansky, T. 1973. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. American Biology Teacher 35:125–129.
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Commission on Science Education. October 13, 1972.
Adopted by AAAS Council on December 30, 1972.
Adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors on January 4, 1982, and by the AAAS Council on January 7, 1982.