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Thursday, December 22, 2005 

Iowa Academy of Science supports Dover decision

IAS president Paul Bartelt has a piece in today's Des Moines Register.
Respect religious beliefs, but don't teach them as science
Proponents of intelligent design are working in many states to legally incorporate ID into the science curricula of public schools. On Tuesday, however, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled that ID is not science and cannot be taught in Dover, Pa., public-school science classes. The Iowa Academy of Science agrees with this decision.

The Dover trial made it very clear that the arguments of ID are not scientific, and the basic message of ID is the same as young-earth creationism: Evolution is wrong, and a literal interpretation of Genesis explains everything we see in our world. The argument of ID that there is an "intelligent designer" behind the universe may be a good theological topic, but it has no place in science classrooms.

***

The Iowa Academy of Science and the science community, in general, respects religious belief and has no intention of diminishing religion in society. Central to the academy's mission, however, is to educate Iowa's citizenry about science. Science hasn't all the answers to questions about life on earth, but evoking a supernatural explanation, as ID advocates, will not advance our understanding of our physical world.

ID proponents press school districts to provide "equal time" and to "teach the controversy." Even on the campuses of Iowa's universities, discussions are being held on whether or how to teach ID.

Americans place a high value on fairness, and providing equal time for ID seems only fair, right? The Iowa Academy of Science has high regard and respect for the value placed on fairness; however, it is not that simple. ID proponents would have science teachers recognize a deity "behind the universe." If so, to be fair (and constitutional), teachers would have to include discussions about the many different deities revered by human societies. Our government cannot give preference to any one religion, including Christianity.

What many people do not understand is that within the science community, there is no controversy about evolution. The controversy is among the general public.

Entire text available at the link.

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About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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