November 24, 2008
Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Biologists
The Creationists' movement is an attempt to persuade, mislead, and pressure legislators, public school officials and the general public that since evolution is "only" a theory, implying opinion or conjecture, it is therefore open to any alternative. They propose that their alternative, the "Theory of Special Creation," is scientific and therefore is just as valid as the Theory of Evolution. Creationists reject the evolution of life from a single line of ancestors through chance mutation and natural selection and hold that the universe and all living things were divinely created beginning six to ten thousand years ago. They cite as their "scientific evidence" the biblical story of Genesis as written in the King James version of the Bible. Although Creationists are attempting to equate "Special Creation" as a scientific theory, they in fact claim absolute truth for their belief. Science, which does not deal with beliefs based on faith and does not claim absolute truth for its findings, utilizes an organized method of problem solving in an attempt to explain phenomena of our universe.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Biologists together with other scientific associations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Biological Sciences agrees that "Scientific Creationism" does not meet the criteria of science and cannot be considered a scientific theory. Scientists of these associations agree that Creationism can be neither verified nor refuted through scientific investigation, and the models or beliefs which involve the supernatural are not within the domain of science. However, to support the Theory of Evolution is not to be "antireligious" as Creationists propose. The majority of religions in America find no basic conflict between religion and science, and most accept the Theory of Evolution and reject Creationism. Throughout the U.S. scientists as well as clergy have opposed the Creationists' attempt to legislate the teaching of "Scientific Creationism" in science classrooms. During the December 1981 trial in Arkansas, in which a Creationist "equal time" law was contested and overturned, a great majority of witnesses in support of the Theory of Evolution were clergy of the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths.
The Theory of Evolution meets the criteria of science and the criteria of a scientific theory and is not based on faith, mere speculation or dogma. Evolution as a scientific theory is supported by a vast body of scientifically scrutinizable evidence coming from such sources as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, genetics and the fossil record. To state, as Creationists do, that the Theory of Evolution is "only" a theory illustrates ignorance of science and the scientific method. The Theory of Evolution will be accepted and supported by the scientific community unless another theory which is based on science and the scientific method takes its place.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Biologists recognizes that the move to equate a non scientific belief with science is a threat to the very integrity of science. APSCUB respects the religious beliefs held by Creationists and others pertaining to the origin and diversity of life and does not oppose the teaching of those concepts as religion or philosophy. However, APSCUB members as scientists and educators are in opposition to any attempt to introduce Creationism or any other nonscientific or pseudoscientific belief as science in the public school system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. APSCUB further recommends the following:
1. All public school science teachers in the Commonwealth should reject science textbooks which treat Creationism as science. The inclusion of nonscientific material as science in a science textbook reflects on the credibility of the teacher who uses it. Textbooks which deal with the diversity of life but do not mention the Theory of Evolution or restrict its discussion should also be rejected.
2. Biology teachers in the public school system of Pennsylvania should teach the Theory of Evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. Biology teachers of the Commonwealth should not be intimidated by pressures of the Creationists and simply avoid the issue by not teaching the Theory of Evolution. Avoiding established concepts in science is pseudoscience which also threatens the integrity and credibility of science. Avoiding the teaching of evolution is a victory for the Creationists.
Members of APSCUB will, when possible, give advice and support to teachers, legislators, public school officials, and the general public where matters of "Scientific Creationism" or other nonscientific beliefs concerning the diversity of life arise in their local community within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.