AAAS Board Resolution on Intelligent Design Theory

A Response by David Bump

 

The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry. It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education. To become informed and responsible citizens in our contemporary technological world, students need to study the theories and empirical evidence central to current scientific understanding.

Students certainly should know about this theory, as it is, by default, “foundational” to much biological research. On the other hand, it should be clear to them that it also is irrelevant to practical research as soon as it deals with speculations about unique past events. The empirical evidence does not support such mythical tales.

Over the past several years proponents of so-called “intelligent design theory,” … “intelligent design theory”…”intelligent design theory” …

It seems the “scientists” of this “association” hope to “scare” people away from thinking critically about “evolution” by “tactics” such as using “scare quotes.”

In response to this effort, individual scientists and philosophers of science have provided substantive critiques of “intelligent design,” demonstrating significant conceptual flaws in its formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentations of scientific facts.

Sounds impressive, but really it’s just their opinion with nothing to back it up, so the only response it deserves is “Says you!” Sure, they’re supposed to be the cream of the crop of scientific experts, but since when does critical scientific thought rely on trusting authority figures?

Recognizing that the “intelligent design theory” represents a challenge to the quality of science education…

More scare tactics without foundation. How about changing around their resolution a bit and see how their own medicine affects them?

Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;

Whereas, evolution proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is capable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;

Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution;

Whereas, to date, evolutionists have failed to provide one example of the evolution of a single new organ, system, tissue, or complex functional limb;

Whereas, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;

Whereas, evolutionists have not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims, have disallowed consideration of any possibility other than some form of stepwise, development with no intelligent guidance, and have responded to failures of partial tests with ad hocexcuses*;

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called “intelligent design theory” makes it improper to include as a part of science education;

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for the so-called “contemporary theory of biological evolution” makes it improper to include as a part of science education;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of “intelligent design theory” as a part of the science curricula of the public schools;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that those of us not wedded by philosophical and financial constraints to the mythology of evolution urge citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that give a mindless monopoly to evolutionary mythology in the science curricula of the public schools;

Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that AAAS calls upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of “intelligent design theory” as subject matter for science education;

Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that we intend to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of evolutionary mythology as subject matter for science education;

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government.

Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that we encourage everyone, including members of the AAAS and its affiliated societies, to oppose this resolution and to communicate their concern for its endangerment of free and open inquiry to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government.

* For examples: Darwin predicted the fossil record would begin to show gradual change as the biological rule. Continued sampling has failed to support this, but rather than question the strength of the theory, appeals have been made to (systematic?) gaps in the fossil record and unevenness in the rate of biological change. Darwin’s theory depended on very slight changes, but later research revealed such changes are not inherited. Appeal has been made to mutations, without demonstration that mutations can produce novel increases in functional complexity. Haeckel, Huxley, and others have posited that evolutionary processes can be extended to the origin of life itself. Experiments continue to confirm that anything beyond some of the basic molecules of life have a strong tendency to decompose, and there is no indication that any special conditions could overcome this tendency, apart from intelligent guidance.