Association of Southeastern Biologists

Whereas many states have recently considered deleting the word "evolution" in their public school science curricula, and

Whereas other states have considered including the teaching of creationism and/or intelligent design in their public school science curricula, and

Whereas many local school boards have considered the same actions, and

Whereas, as scientists, we are concerned that such actions teach non-scientific explanations of the formation of the universe and the development of life on Earth,

Therefore, be it resolved that the membership of the Association of Southeastern Biologists adopt the position set forth herein as the official position of the Association on these matters, and be it further resolved that this position statement shall be sent to the education commissioners of the several states in which we are well represented and such teaching organizations in those states as approved by the executive committee of the Association, as well as any appropriate state officials when the need arises.

Statement of the Position of the Association of Southeastern Biologists Regarding the Teaching of Evolution in the Classroom

The Association of Southeastern Biologists is a regional association devoted to the promulgation of biology in all its myriad forms to scientists, students, and the general public. As part of its duties, the Association represents biological scientists from throughout the southeastern region of the United States on various issues of concern. This statement contains the Association's recommendations concerning the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

Evolution is the only currently acceptable scientific theory for the development of life on earth, and is supported by an enormous body of evidence from a wide variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Across all of these scientific disciplines, the data are in congruence with regards to the theory of evolution, and there are no data that contradict the fundamental truth of evolution. Such consilience gives credence and support to the concept that all life is related and that it has evolved over time primarily through the process of natural selection. The Association believes that the study of evolution is crucial if students are to gain a proper understanding of life on earth.

In recent years, the public schools have been pressured to teach "alternative" theories to evolution, most notably, creationism and intelligent design. However, both creationism and intelligent design are based in faith and do not follow acceptable scientific principles. Both movements are rooted in preconceived notions about the development of life and its origins, yet fail to present any credible scientific evidence to support those claims. In contrast, the evidence in support for evolution is being added to on a daily basis, and is now so overwhelmingly strong that we can state with certainty that evolution occurs.

Because creationism and intelligent design do not operate within the definitional limits of science, they cannot and should not be treated as such. Neither movement can satisfy the aims of science, which are to make observations and develop questions to explain natural phenomena, to design tests of those hypotheses, and then to either accept or reject those hypotheses based on a fair and objective evaluation of the evidence accumulated. Creationism and intelligent design offer a mixture of empirically untestable and empirically non-scientific hypotheses, which their proponents fail to retract or modify in the light of contrary evidence. Thus, they do not conform to accepted scientific protocols.

Therefore, since neither creationism nor intelligent design is a scientific endeavor, we oppose any attempts to insert them into the science curricula of any public schools. While religion has played and continues to play a significant role in many people's lives, and in schools' curricula, we object to any attempts to insert religious dogma, such as creationism or intelligent design, into science classes.

Furthermore, we strongly oppose attempts to undermine or compromise the teaching of evolution, whether by eliminating the word 'evolution' from state science standards, requiring textbook disclaimers that misleadingly describe evolution as "merely" a theory, or by encouraging scientifically unwarranted criticism of evolution under the guise of "analysis," "objectivity," "balance," or "teaching the controversy." Such tactics are clearly intended to leave the false impression that evolution is scientifically precarious and will thus deprive students of a sound scientific education.

In conclusion, the Association of Southeastern Biologists strongly opposes the teaching of any alternative non-scientific theories to evolution that are not based on established scientific concepts, endorses the meaningful teaching of evolution in science classrooms, and opposes any attempts to water down the teaching of evolution by singling out the subject for special treatment not given any other sciences.

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