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4259Fw: Science Academy: Evolution's Important

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  • kent morris
    Jan 4, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Science Academy: Evolution's Important
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: bigraccoon
      To: km52@...
      Sent: Friday, January 04, 2008 2:43 AM
      Subject: Science Academy: Evolution's Important


      U.S. science academy stresses evolution's importance

      By Will Dunham

      January 3, 2008, Reuters

      http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN0324402320080103

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Academy of Sciences
      on Thursday issued a spirited defense of evolution as the
      bedrock principle of modern biology, arguing that it, not
      creationism, must be taught in public school science classes.

      The academy, which operates under a mandate from Congress to
      advise the government on science and technology matters,
      issued the report at a time when the theory of evolution,
      first offered in the 19th century, faces renewed att ack by
      some religious conservatives.

      Creationism, based on the explanation offered in the Bible,
      and the related idea of "intelligent design" are not science
      and, as such, should not be taught in public school science
      classrooms, according to the report.

      "We seem to have continuing challenges to the teaching of
      evolution in schools. That's something that doesn't seem to
      go away," Barbara Schaal, an evolutionary biologist at
      Washington University in St. Louis and vice president of
      National Academy of Sciences, said in a telephone interview.

      "We need a citizenry that's trained in real science."

      Evolution is a theory explaining change in living organisms
      over the eons due to genetic mutations. For example, it holds
      that humans evolved from earlier forms of apes.

      The report stated that the idea of evolution can be fully
      compatible with religious faith. "Science and religion are
      different ways of und erstanding the world. Needlessly placing
      them in opposition reduces the potential of each to
      contribute to a better future," said the report.

      But teaching creationist ideas in science classes confuses
      students about what constitutes science and what does not,
      according to the report's authors.

      The report was released by the academy and the Institute of
      Medicine, which advises policymakers on medical issues. It
      updates academy publications issued in 1984 and 1999. It was
      written by a committee headed by University of California-
      Irvine biology professor Francisco Ayala.

      "Biological evolution is one of the most important ideas of
      modern science. Evolution is supported by abundant evidence
      from many different fields of scientific investigation. It
      underlies the modern biological sciences, including the
      biomedical sciences, and has applications in many other
      scientific and engineering disciplines," the report s tated.

      The authors highlighted developments in evolutionary biology,
      citing its importance in understanding emerging infectious
      diseases. They noted the discovery, published in 2006, of the
      remains of a Tiktaalik, a creature described as an
      evolutionary link between fish and the first vertebrate
      animals that walked out of water onto land 375 million years
      ago.

      President George W. Bush said in 2005 American students
      should be instructed about "intelligent design" alongside
      evolution as competing theories. "Part of education is to
      expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said.

      Advocates of "intelligent design" contend that some
      biological structures are so complex they could not have
      appeared merely through natural processes.

      A judge in Dover, Pennsylvania ruled in 2005 that the
      teaching of intelligent design violated the U.S.
      Constitution, which requires a separation of church and
      sta te, because it is based on religious conviction, not
      science.

      A 2006 Gallup poll showed that almost half of Americans
      believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in
      their present form within the last 10,000 years.



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