National Science Teachers Association (1973, 1982)

Inclusion of Nonscience Theories in Science Instruction

Throughout recorded history, man has been vitally concerned in finding out all that he can about his universe. He has explored it in many ways, raised questions about it, designed methods by which he could increase and organize his knowledge, and developed systems to aid him in understanding and explaining his origin, and nature, and his place in the universe. Among these systems are philosophy, religion, folklore, the arts, and science.

Science is the system of knowing the universe through data collected by observation and controlled experimentation. As data are collected, theories are advanced to explain and account for what has been observed. The true test of a theory in science is threefold: (1) its ability to explain what has been observed; (2) its ability to predict what has not yet been observed; and (3) its ability to be tested by further experimentation and to be modified as required by the acquisition of new data.

The National Science Teachers Association upholds the right and recognizes the obligation of each individual to become informed about man's many endeavors, to understand and explain what each endeavor has contributed to mankind, and to draw his own conclusions in each area.

The National Science Teachers Association also recognizes its great obligation to that area of education dealing with science. Science education cannot treat, as science, those things not in the domain of science. It cannot deal with, as science, concepts that have been developed in other than scientific ways. Moreover, the National Science Teachers Association vigorously opposes all actions that would legislate, mandate, or coerce the inclusion in the corpus of science, including textbooks, of any theories that do not meet the threefold criteria given above.

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