Not in Our Classrooms (2006)

Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools

edited by Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch

"If you're concerned about scientific literacy, read this book. The authors of Not in Our Classrooms are authorities on the various battles fought over the teaching of evolution--biology's fundamental discovery."
—Bill Nye the Science Guy

Beacon Press, 2006 * ISBN 0-807-03278-6 * $14.00

Buy it now from Beacon Press and receive a 10% discount by entering NCSE in the discount code field!

More than eighty years after the Scopes trial, creationism is alive and well. Through local school boards, sympathetic politicians, and well-funded organizations, a strong movement has developed to encourage the teaching of the latest incarnation of creationism--intelligent design--as a scientifically credible theory alongside evolution in science classes. Although intelligent design suffered a serious defeat in the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, its proponents are bound to continue their assault on evolution education. Now, in Not in Our Classrooms, parents and teachers, as well as other concerned citizens, have a much-needed tool to use in the argument against teaching intelligent design as science.


Eugenie C. Scott
Nicholas J. Matzke and Paul R. Gross
Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters
Jay Wexler
Brian Alters
Glenn Branch
Foreword by the Reverend Barry Lynn

Where did the concept of intelligent design originate? How does it connect with, and conflict with, various religious beliefs? Should we "teach the controversy" in our science classrooms? In clear and lively essays, a team of experts answers these questions and many more, describing the history of the intelligent design movement and the lack of scientific support for its claims. Most importantly, the contributors — authorities on the scientific, legal, educational, and theological problems of intelligent design — speak specifically to teachers and parents about the need to defend the integrity of science education by keeping intelligent design out of science curriculums. A concluding chapter offers concrete advice for those seeking to defend the teaching of evolution in their own communities.

Not in Our Classrooms is essential reading for anyone concerned about defending the teaching of evolution, uncompromised by religiously motivated pseudoscience, in the classrooms of our public schools.


What the Reviewers are Saying

Jean Caspers in Library Journal, September 1, 2006:

The book offers a substantial synopsis of the crux issues for lay readers, and it could serve as an excellent resource for students looking for a well-documented yet succinct pro-evolution overview. The final chapter offers strategies for activism on this matter and concludes with a call to action to protect scientific literacy in the public schools. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

Vanessa Bush in Booklist, October 15, 2006:

Cautioning against public complacency in the face of mounting creationism campaigns, contributors detail recent efforts to defend the teaching of evolution. Readers concerned about the teaching of "intelligent design" will appreciate this resource.

Howard Good in Teacher, November/December 2006:

Although many may not realize it, we are in the midst of a struggle to preserve sound science education. A recent survey by the National Science Teachers Association found that 30 percent of responding members had felt pressure to omit evolution and related topics from their teaching, while 31 percent had felt pressure to include nonscientific alternatives to evolution. It is crucial to resist such pressure, whether it comes from parents, community groups, administrators, or school board members. Reading this book is a good start.

Wayne Au in Rethinking Schools, Winter 2006-2007:

Given the recent fights over intelligent design in science education, the publication of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools couldn't be more timely. ... Given the current U.S. political landscape, Not in Our Classrooms should be welcomed by educators and activists. It provides a wealth of background information and detailed critiques of the logical presuppositions offered by proponents of intelligent design.

Jesse Singal in Washington Monthly, January/February 2007:

Not In Our Classrooms delivers refreshingly on a number of topics, and it even tackles a fairly practical question: What should concerned parents and teachers do to make sure that science remains properly taught? The key, argues Glenn Branch, deputy director of the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education, is simply vigilance at the local level, particularly with regard to school boards. Anti-evolutionists aren’t about to get Congress to pass legislation, nor will they get states to enact constitutional amendments. Rather, their best hope is to keep trying to get their people onto school boards and then use their representatives to muddy the waters with humbug masquerading as "critical analysis." At its core, the evolution "debate" is a local one, and it's at that level that the daily battles happen. Thanks to this collection, winning them might become a little easier.

Charles K. Jervis in NSTA Recommends, February 20, 2007:

This short book packs a powerful wallop in laying out, in a concentrated way, many of the issues surrounding the newest "Trojan horse" of the antievolution movement. It is recommended for teachers, citizens, and policymakers. ... It is a welcome and recommended addition to a library of materials that strengthen and enlighten science instruction in the era of a narrowly defined theism in the United States today.

The International Organization for Science and Technology Education's newsletter (PDF, p. 5), December 2006:

... the book sets out to give readers an understanding of what is at stake in the evolution versus intelligent design debate, and provide them with rational arguments to use in understanding and countering the claims of ID promoters. Whatever your view of the ID debate, this book is a timely resource for science educators, parents and the general public.

Edd Doerr in Voice of Reason (PDF, p. 23), Winter 2006:

In this concise, lucid, compact book the authors explain what "intelligent design" (ID) creationism is all about, what is wrong with it, who is behind it, and how they operate. The authors present the scientific, theological, and legal objections to ID creationism, plus a superb chapter on precisely how to combat this threat to education. This important book cannot be recommended too highly.

Susan Peterson in The American Biology Teacher, March 2007:

Overall, the book does a nice job of describing some of the historical events related to intelligent design. ... It is an eye-opener to learn about some of the current and past issues related to intelligent design, creationism, and evolution. The book is filled with information on specific cases, laws, and school board decisions that have impacted the topic of intelligent design.

Evan B. Hazard in Choice, March 2007:

... accessible, thoroughly cited, and well-written ... The foreword and five chapters consider the evolution of intelligent design creationism, and why IDC is bankrupt scientifically, educationally, logically, philosophically, constitutionally, and theologically (and morally, considering the cited deceptive "doublespeak" of some of its proponents). The sixth chapter discusses how the teaching of evolution can best be defended. ... Highly recommended.

Barbara Forrest in Teachers College Record, March 20, 2007:

For teachers, school boards, and citizens who are interested in learning about intelligent design (ID) creationism and counteracting it, this book is a vital resource. ... The book's six essays discuss ID from every relevant angle, ranging from ID's historical development to practical advice for counteracting it.

Richard Milner in Natural History, June 2007:

The book features essays by biologists, educators, philosophers, and theologians, each approaching the subject from a distinct perspective. Branch offers his own handbook for activists, and others attack ID not only as pseudoscience, but also as an examplar of pandering politics, poor pedagogy, and tacky theology. The collection gives teachers plenty of ammunition for fighting verbal battles or answering students' questions.

Ann Welton in Voya, June 2007:

... an excellent resource for understanding and dealing with the challenges posed by the proponents of intelligent design. ... for those in need of in-depth information and penetrating analysis of a timely topic, it is an excellent starting place.

Sherry A. Southerland and Barry W. Golden in Science Education, July 2007:

... Not in Our Classrooms ... offers useful strategies and tactics for concerned citizens to keep ID out of the science classroom. The authors in this volume excel at challenging the claims of ID proponents.

Robert Cornwall in Congregations magazine, Fall 2007:

Although these essays were written with educators rather than clergy in mind, they should be read closely by clergy and then shared with anyone involved in education at any level. ... This little book is, for the religious community, a cry for help.

Randy Moore in BioScience (PDF), November 2007; 57 [10]: 885-886:

Not in Our Classrooms is a small, impressive book that will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the various aspects of "intelligent design" and the evolution-creationism debate. ... Not in Our Classrooms is a powerful, accessible introduction to the many facets of intelligent design. ... If you read just one book about this subject, read this one. Then give the book to others and urge them to do the same.

Mark H. Dixon in Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (PDF), 2010; 4 (3): 228-230:

The papers in this volume serve to reinforce what those who have had a rigorous science education have long known: there are no real scientific controversies at all about evolution as a process. The evidence is as unequivocal as scientific evidence can be—evolution is a discernible, testable, and verifiable scientific process. All that 'intelligent design' proponents can do is to continue to sow confusion. While it is regrettable they are necessary, books like Not In Our Classrooms provide an accessible, illuminating, and most welcome perspective on the intelligent design movement.

Interviews and Discussions

Interview with Eugenie C. Scott in Church and State, October 2006:

ID should not be taught both for pedagogical and legal reasons. The few scientific claims that ID makes are not supported by the evidence, and the view of science it incorporates is greatly different than that of mainstream science. ID is therefore pedagogically unsuitable for presentation in a science class. And, because it is a sectarian religious dogma, it should not be advocated in the public schools in any class. In summary, intelligent design is a sectarian religious dogma masquerading as science.
Short Bio

Susan Spath is a former Director of Public Information at NCSE.