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Calls For Clear Evolution Lessons 2006-06-22

Posted by clype in Intolerance, Science.
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The world’s top scientists have joined forces to call for ‘evidence-based’ teaching of evolution in schools.

A statement signed by 67 national science academies says evidence on the origins of life is being ‘concealed, denied, or confused’ in some classes.
It lists key facts on evolution that ‘scientific evidence has never contradicted’.

These include the formation of Earth 4 500 million years ago, and the onset of life at least 2 500 million years ago.

yves_quere.jpgWe know of schools in various parts of the world where the children are told that the Earth is about 8 000 years old,’ said Mr.Yves Quéré, co-chair of the Inter Academy Panel on International Issues, the global network of science academies.

‘So in this statement we say you cannot teach this to children, it is wrong.’

Mr.Quéré said the statement reflected growing concern within the scientific community that children were not being taught basic facts on evolution and the nature of scientific inquiry.

‘In some countries, the simple theory of evolution is denied in the teaching of children in schools,’ he said.

Design debate:

The acadmies’ statement says:

‘We urge decision-makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature.

Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet.’

‘EVIDENCE-BASED’ FACTS

The Earth has changed under the effect of numerous forces since its formation, and continues to do so

Since life first appeared on Earth, it has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve

Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their primordial origin


Its release follows fierce debate about whether so-called ‘Intelligent Design’ (‘ID’) should be taught in biology courses in schools, mainly in the USA.

Adherents to ‘ID’ maintain that many features of the Universe and of living things are too complex to have been the result of natural selection.

Instead, they argue, these phenomena must have been designed by a highly intelligent force.
Last year 2005, a group of parents successfully took a school board in Dover, Pennsylvania, USA, to court to stop the teaching of ‘ID’ in science classes.

Mr.Steve Fuller, a professor of sociology at the University of Warwick, UK, was an expert witness at the trial, defending the right to teach alternatives to evolution. He commented on the statement:

‘I think it is pretty mild, in the sense that the only people who will take serious exception are the biblical literalist, six-day creationist-type people.

‘The words evolve and evolution here are used without any content,’ he said.

‘They do not actually say anything about the explanation or the causal mechanisms that are involved in all of this development of life that has occurred over all of these billions of years.

‘It really doesn’t hit on the kinds of issues that would separate either contesting schools within evolutionary theory or evolution versus “intelligent design”.’

Previously:

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