Voices for Evolution (large pdf) is NCSE’s collection of statements from various bodies–scientific, religious, and educational–that endorse the teaching of honestly presented science in public schools. A new body, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, has just adopted a strong statement on teaching science titled Keep Supernaturalism Out of the Science Curriculum. No wishy-washy euphemisms there! I hope it is soon included in NCSE’s collection.
I was informed by The Skeptical Teacher a couple of weeks ago of the intent to introduce it. He/she posted a draft. I’ve reproduced the final resolution as adopted below the fold, but I’ll put one powerful quotation from it here.
WHEREAS, attempts to subvert the validity or teaching of evolutionary theory are also attacks on all scientific inquiry and, therefore, also attacks on the validity of using reason and experimentation to understand the universe;
Resolution No. 11 - Keep Supernaturalism Out of the Science Curriculum
Adopted at the 2010 Illinois Federation of Teachers Convention
WHEREAS, science is a systematic method for investigating natural phenomena through experimentation, observation and measurement leading to falsifiable explanations that are open to continuous testing; and
WHEREAS, science proceeds on the basis of methodological naturalism and assumes observed phenomena of the universe are real, nature is consistent and understandable, and nature is explainable in terms of laws and theories; and
WHEREAS, a scientific theory is consistent with evidence from multiple and independent sources of evidence, explains many different facts and allows predictions of subsequent discoveries; and
WHEREAS, the theory of evolution satisfies these criteria fully, is the foundation of biological science, is supported by a coherent body of integrated evidence from other disciplines in science and is consistent with theories from other scientific disciplines including anthropology, geology, physics, astronomy and chemistry; and
WHEREAS, there have been attempts in some states to include supernaturalism in the science curriculum as an alternative to scientific explanations of nature, particularly as an alternative to evolutionary theory; and
WHEREAS, arguments that invoke supernaturalism are grounded in religious or philosophical considerations outside the realm of science; and
WHEREAS, attempts to subvert the validity or teaching of evolutionary theory are also attacks on all scientific inquiry and, therefore, also attacks on the validity of using reason and experimentation to understand the universe; and
WHEREAS, legislation that conflates supernaturalism, or limits, or prohibits the teaching of any scientific theory negatively impacts our ability to make informed decisions; and
WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the Illinois Federation of Teachers to preserve the integrity of science in the classroom; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers affirm, through a positional statement on its website, the validity of science as a methodology for understanding the nature of the universe, and affirm the validity and foundational importance of organic evolution to science as a whole and biology, specifically; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the IFT affirm, through a positional statement on its website, that supernaturalism is not a scientific endeavor and, therefore, is inappropriate for inclusion in the science curriculum; and be it further
RESOLVED, that this resolution does not make it the official position of the IFT that there is no God and should not be interpreted as a statement either for or against religion or belief in God; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the IFT call 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 including non-science subjects (e.g., intelligent design and creationism) in our science curriculum; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the IFT communicate to the local, regional and national public media, to educational authorities and to appropriate legislators its opposition to the inclusion of non-science approaches and subjects (e.g., creationism and intelligent design) into the science education curricula of our public school system; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the IFT members also promote these concerns and help resolve these issues in their home communities among educators, parents, school boards and students in appropriate public forums.