The world's largest general scientific organization--the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)--today urged policymakers to oppose teaching "Intelligent Design Theory" within science classrooms, but rather, to keep it separate, in the same way that creationism and other religious teachings are currently handled.
"The United States has promised that no child will be left behind in the classroom," said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer and executive publisher at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). "If intelligent design theory is presented within science courses as factually based, it is likely to confuse American schoolchildren and to undermine the integrity of U.S. science education."
American society supports and encourages a broad range of viewpoints, Leshner noted. While this diversity enriches the educational experience for students, he added, science-based information and conceptual belief systems should not be presented together.
Peter H. Raven, chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors and one of the world's leading botanists, agreed:
"The ID movement argues that random mutation in nature and natural selection can't explain the diversity of life forms or their complexity and that these things may be explained only by an extra-natural intelligent agent," said Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden. "This is an interesting philosophical or theological concept, and some people have strong feelings about it. Unfortunately, it's being put forth as a scientifically based alternative to the theory of biological evolution. Intelligent design theory has so far not been supported by peer-reviewed, published evidence."
In contrast, the theory of biological evolution is well-supported, and n