On September 20, 2005, the American Phytopathological Society released a public statement endorsing the resolution by the American Association for the Advancement of Science supporting the teaching of evolutionary theory and opposing the teaching of “intelligent design theory” as an alternative to it in science curricula.
There are two reasons why APS has acted. First, evolution is the foundation for what we do daily as plant pathologists in our teaching, research, and outreach activities. Second, we are a society of scientists and, as such, we should speak publicly for science when an important need arises, as it has on this occasion. We have an obligation to see that science is portrayed correctly to the public and in particular to youngsters who are just learning about science.
The evidence for evolution is multifaceted, robust, and congruent. There is no scientific evidence for intelligent design, nor can there be because it is essentially a belief-based concept. This does not mean that ID is wrong, but it is a question that cannot be addressed by science and thus does not belong in science instruction. This is not an attack by science on religion and it does not need to be a divisive matter. Rather it is an issue of what is taught in the name of science.
Release of APS public statement approved unanimously by APS Executive Committee September 12, 2005 and approved by APS Council September 20, 2005.
John Andrews APS President
The full statement by the AAAS, including the resolution, follows verbatim:
"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.
Over the past several years proponents of so-called "intelligent design theory," also known as ID, have challenged the accepted scientific theory of biological evolution. As part of this effort they have sought to introduce the teaching of "intelligent design theory" into the science curricula of the public schools. The movement presents "intelligent design theory" to the public as a theoretical innovation, supported by scientific evidence, that offers a more adequate explanation for the origin of the diversity of living organisms than the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution. 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.
Recognizing that the "intelligent design theory" represents a challenge to the quality of science education, the Board of Directors of the AAAS unanimously adopts the following resolution:
Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable 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, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;
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 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 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 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.”
Approved by the AAAS Board of Directors on 10/18/02