Home » Intelligent Design » IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution

IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution

Here is a story in the Guardian about the world’s science academies locking arms and digging in their heels to stem the tide of anti-evolution sentiment issuing from the unruly masses. Now if only evolution weren’t such a crock …

Scientists call for better teaching on evolution
http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,1802823,00.html

Rebecca Smithers
Thursday June 22, 2006

The world’s leading scientists yesterday urged schools to stop denying the facts of evolution amid controversy over the teaching of creationism.

The national science academies of 67 countries – including the UK’s Royal Society – issued a joint statement warning that scientific evidence about the origins of life was being “concealed, denied, or confused”. It urged parents as well as teachers to provide children with the facts about the origins and evolution of life on Earth. [Was the origin of life problem solved while I wasn't looking? --WmAD]

Creationism includes a belief that all forms of life have always existed in their present form, and that the world was formed in around 4000 BC, rather than 4,600 million years ago, as scientists believe. Academics in the US have voiced concern over similar theories being taught in American schools, including one known as “intelligent design”.

The statement was drafted by members of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues – a global network consisting of 92 science academies. It points out that “within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science”.

It went on: “We urge decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and foster an understanding of the science of nature. Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet.”

The president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, said: “There is controversy in some parts of the world about the teaching of evolution to pupils and students, so this is a timely statement that makes clear the views of the scientific community. I hope this statement will help those who are attempting to uphold the rights of young people to have access to accurate scientific knowledge about the origins and evolution of life on Earth.”

The IAP statement highlighted that “evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines”, and that “even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results”.

On evolution, it stated: “Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision.”

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: “Neither creationism nor intelligent design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum.

“The national curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught that the fossil record is evidence for evolution, and how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction. Academies are required to follow the core and foundation requirements of the national curriculum requirements and are, therefore, in the same position as other schools regarding the teaching of science.”

————————————–

IAP STATEMENT ON THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION
June 2006

We, the undersigned Academies of Sciences, have learned that in various parts of the world, within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science. We urge decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature. Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet.

We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

2. Since its formation, the Earth – its geology and its environments – has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen that we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.

We also subscribe to the following statement regarding the nature of science in relation to the teaching of evolution and, more generally, of any field of scientific knowledge :

Scientific knowledge derives from a mode of inquiry into the nature of the universe that has been successful and of great consequence. Science focuses on (i) observing the natural world and (ii) formulating testable and refutable hypotheses to derive deeper explanations for observable phenomena. When evidence is sufficiently compelling, scientific theories are developed that account for and explain that evidence, and predict the likely structure or process of still unobserved phenomena.

Human understanding of value and purpose are outside of natural science’s scope. However, a number of components – scientific, social, philosophical, religious, cultural and political – contribute to it. These different fields owe each other mutual consideration, while being fully aware of their own areas of action and their limitations.

While acknowledging current limitations, science is open ended, and subject to correction and expansion as new theoretical and empirical understanding emerges.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

7 Responses to IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution

  1. Here is a challenge to the Darwinist who read this forum. Please tell us where ID and the four points listed by the IAP differ. I might quibble with the statement about the precision of the fossil record but it is getting more precise, actually in its argument against Darwinism.

    Now the Guardiian article is a typical hatchet job by the press which takes the discussion completely off the reservation and makes ID something it is not.

  2. Technically they don’t, although a great deal of ID proponents would disagree with 1, 3 and especially 4. The problem most scientists have with ID is not the claim that our current understanding of mechanisms is incomplete to explain all of evolution, as explained in point 4. It is simply the claim that it can currently be proved scientifically that non-intelligent mechanisms cannot account for evolution and that intelligent mechanisms are required. There is no reason why ID mechanisms cannot eventually be part of point 4, assuming ID is true.

  3. Chris,

    ID as it is put forward on this forum and by the Discovery Institute has no quarrel with 1-4. Whether some with other views of science take part of ID and use it for their own purposes should not be a knock against ID. Those who have problems with these other views of science have an obligation to explain the diifferences. For example, the Guardian did a hit job by conflating ID with Young Earth Creationist. The fact that Young Earth Creationist accept some parts of ID should not be a negative for ID though that is certainly the intent of the article to make this association. This is standard operating procedure for the press on this topic. They cannot afford to tell the truth or their cause will be dead.

    Given that I accept ID and 1-4, my wife told me that the term evolution is loaded and is never clarified. If evolution is meant that more complex life forms appeared as time went on, then fine but if it means that all life forms have direct immediate antecedents then it is far from proven. We tend to use the term in common speech in the second way. The fossil record does not support any evidence of this second definition of evolution and the IAP should clarify their definition.

  4. The world’s leading scientists yesterday urged schools to stop denying the facts of evolution amid controversy over the teaching of creationism.

    Give us the scientific evidence and we’ll stop “denying the facts of evolution”.

  5. It is simply the claim that it can currently be proved scientifically that non-intelligent mechanisms cannot account for evolution and that intelligent mechanisms are required.

    Well, when the untestable and unscientific assumption that given enough time RM+NS can accomplish anything is made the measure of scientific proof it is no wonder. This is the Darwinian assertion that is challenged by ID, and it is the Darwinian claim that is untestable and non-scientific.

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    Just what sort of test is that? One must prove that something could not possibly have happened by RM+NS in order to falsify the theory? Just how is the ID crowd supposed to prove that something could not possibly have been formed by RM+NS? If you cannot tell us how to provide such a proof, the theory is in principle untestable and unfalsifiable.

  6. Mung, good points. It also points out hypocrisy by evolutionist utilizing negative reasoning themselves.

    By that definition, we can point to thousands upon thousands of species which do not have any proof for their existence by gradual steps.

    It is the believeres of evolution which must show it. That is why “missing link” is traipsed out to Media conglomerates every time they find a fossil. A fantastic example is the H. Floresiensis that Desmond Morris claimed as another link. After the Media Huff-N-Puff show, real scientist got their hands on the information and obliterated the original claims. They shredded it with actual scientific methods and observations. These are evolution scientist.

    Yet Where Are The Media Now? Is it front page news that False Claims were made by scientist? No, not at all. And this is why we cannot trust MSM, especially rags like the Guardian which routinely schill for evolution and do not ask pertinent questions based upon reasonable skepticism. But this is nothing new. The media routinely HYPES news that they favor and bury news they dislike. Its the biased human nature in us all.

  7. There is a way to test RM + NS and it is in front of all our eyes, the modern world. There is not one example of this happening now or in any recent past let alone the distant past. The Darwinists always complain about how little gets fossilized. Well the current world is not fossilized and evolution should be an on-going process. Do you not believe that if our current world had any example at all of a progression going on, that we would never hear the end of it from the Darwinist?

    But they are silent, just as the dog barking in the night was silent in Silver Blaze.

Leave a Reply