August 5, 2005
Washington, DC - The American Institute of Biological Sciences is concerned with President Bush's recent statement suggesting that it would be appropriate to teach the concept of intelligent design/creationism alongside the well-established theory of evolution. The President made the comments to a group of Texas reporters on Monday, August 1, 2005.
"Intelligent design is not a scientific theory and must not be taught in science classes," said AIBS president Dr. Marvalee Wake, a perspective shared by President Bush's science advisor, Dr. John Marburger III. On Tuesday, August 2, Marburger stated in an interview that "evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology" and "intelligent design is not a scientific concept."
The majority of biologists utilize the theory of evolution in their work on a daily basis. The scientific method requires generating hypotheses, testing the hypotheses with data, and drawing conclusions based on the data; this is the practice of scientists, including evolutionary biologists. Intelligent design presumes complexity whose origins and pathways are not testable and that demand a "designer" to achieve. This approach is not scientific. A comparison of diverse approaches is amenable to philosophy or religion classes, but not those in science, in which our understanding of life's phenomena is increased through rigorous testing and analysis rather than assumptions.
At a time when national business and education leaders are calling for an increased national commitment to recruit new and highly qualified students into the sciences, the President's comments raise a red flag. Dr. Wake stated, "If we want our students to be able to compete in the global economy, if we want to attract the next generation into the sciences, we must make sure that we are teaching them science. We simply cannot begin to introduce non-scientific concepts into the science curriculum."
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