American Society of Parasitologists

The American Society of Parasitologists — a national membership organization of 1500 professional scientists — vigorously opposes any state or federal law or any public school board policy that would diminish public education on the principle of evolution, or that would demand comparable funding or treatment of creationism. Some of the society's grounds for this opposition are:

1. Creationism is not a science and cannot become a science

Science is a disciplined method of obtaining naturalistic explanations of the world and universe. God is believed to exist outside the domain of natural law and to transcend its limitations. Creationism inherently rests on belief in this supernatural Creator, and no supernatural premise can ever be correctly considered a science.

2. Evolution is not anti-Christian or anti-religious

Science makes no pretense of judging whether or not God exists or why He works as He does; science has always acknowledged these questions as being outside the domain of its authority. In their private beliefs, many, perhaps the majority, of scientists who believe the principle of evolution are also Godbelieving Christians, Jews, Moslems, or other theists, and see no contradiction between these beliefs. Many, for example, see evolution as God's mechanism of ongoing creation. Furthermore, the official positions enunciated by American and world leaders of Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and other churches are that evolution is not a contradiction of Biblical religion. They opine that the JudeoChristian creation story is "a religious myth system ... neither empirical science nor recorded history, [but] a religious interpretation divinely inspired in a prescientific age."

3.Fundamentalist religion is the sole reason for the creationist casue

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Arkansas' creationist law in 1968, Justice Fortas ruled that the Arkansas law could not be justified on the grounds of any state policy "other than the religious views of some of its citizens. It is clear that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the law's reason for existence." This is equally true today and the appellation "scientific creationism" cannot disguise that basic intent (see also the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton, in the recent Arkansas trial on creationism in schools published in Science 215:934-943, 1982). Neither science nor public education has any interest in or potential benefit from the passage of such laws, which exist only to benefit a certain denomination of Christians. The 123year history of creationism clearly shows it to be tied to no other cause but this, and to be overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of Christian denominations and by scientists of all faiths.

4. Creationism infringes on the Unites States Constitution

Because creationism is linked solely with fundamentalist Christianity, all creationist laws infringe on the First Amendment clause prohibiting the establishment of religion. Current creationist bills also infringe on the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment which has been judged to imply that no law is constitutional which is too vague or ambiguous to be reasonably obeyable. Creationist bills require instruction in creationism yet, prohibit instruction in any religious doctrine. Creationism necessarily implies a supernatural creator, and this is necessarily a religious concept. Creationist laws are therefore unconstitutionally ambiguous or selfcontradictory. Instruction in evolution is not unconstitutional despite the claims of creationists that it is so. Evolution has a scientific not a religious basis and is believed by nearly all professional life scientists regardless of their religious beliefs. Evolution does not violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, for scientific education in evolution does not prohibit the student from being taught otherwise in the home and church.

5. The business of the science curriculum is only to teach prevailing scientific viewpoints.

Any public school science course must cover a large body of knowledge in a short academic term, and is necessarily limited to teaching only those views which are well established and widely accepted by the scientific community. The fact that some scientists reject evolution does not warrant inclusion of their views in lowerlevel science curricula. There are many minority beliefs in science besides creationism that are excluded from consideration or from presentation as valid scientific fact or theory. The scientific community is inherently and traditionally vigorous in its criticism of established beliefs and introduction of new concepts. If the antiDarwinian views of fundamentalists have any validity as science, they will eventually become widely accepted. If so it will be on their scientific and not their religious merit. Only then will they warrant treatment in the public school curriculum.

6. Creationism is an infringement of academic freedom

Science teachers are already free to mention or discuss creationism in the classroom if they wish, so long as they do not materially compromise the educational objective of the schools to cover the major areas of scientific information. To legislate creationism infringes on the rights of those teachers, students, and parents who believe the curriculum must be religiously neutral and that nonscience does not belong in the science class.

7. Evolution is factual and essential to biological education

The word "theory" has different meanings to the scientist and layman. Virtually all scientists accept the evolution of current species from fewer, simpler, ancestral ones as undisputed fact. The "theory" of evolution pertains merely to the mechanisms by which this occurs, and the muchtouted arguments among scientists about evolution are over details of these mechanisms, not about the factuality of evolution itself. To call evolution a theory implies no more doubt about its factuality than referring to atomic theory or the theory of gravitation means we doubt the existence of atoms or gravity. To excise evolution from the biology curriculum would reduce biology courses to a series of disconnected facts and severely inhibit those aspects of the discipline which contribute to creative scholarship.

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