Anti-evolutionism in America--What's ahead?

February 19, 2006

Embargoed: Not for Release Until 8:30 a.m.Central Time, Sunday, February 19, 2006.

Today an organization representing 10,000 Christian clergy from many denominations will join with scientists and educators to launch The Alliance for Science, which opposes the teaching of creationism/intelligent design in public schools. The announcement is part of an American Association for the Advancement of Science symposium entitled, "Anti-Evolutionism in America - What's Ahead."

The symposium will examine the current legal and educational challenges to teaching evolution taking place at all levels, as well as scientific content of both sides of the issue. Since the anti-evolutionary movement presumes a conflict between religion and science, the support for evolution among the 10,000 Christian clergy is particularly noteworthy.

The program will explore the impact of the anti-evolution movement on its primary target: high school students and teachers, with a frontline report from Cobb County, Georgia and Dover, Pennsylvania, sites of successful court challenges to the teaching of intelligent design.

"The goal of this symposium," said organizer Dr. Irving Wainer of the National Institute on Aging, "is to set the basis for a united effort of the scientific community, allied with the religious, educational and business sectors, to educate the public about the different but complementary roles of science and religion. We want to improve the teaching of science in our public schools and to restore the excitement about science that once characterized the United States." Paul S. Forbes, co-chairman of the Alliance for Science will also announce that in addition to keeping creationism out of public schools, the Alliance will mobilize national support for a new bipartisan national science agenda that is now being formulated in Congress. This agenda, which is based upon a report from the National Academy of Sciences1, includes increased support for basic research; more scholarships for future math, science and engineering teachers; more graduate fellowships in these fields; tax incentives for scientific innovation; establishment of a new federal Advanced Research Projects Agency; and expanded access to broadband communications.

"According to a study funded by the National Science Foundation, 93% of Americans are scientifically illiterate," says Forbes. "That is unacceptable in a world in which scientific knowledge, prosperity and security are inseparable. Unless we remain the world leader in science and technology, it is doubtful that our families will be able to continue to enjoy the comfortable, middle class life to which they have become accustomed."
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Speakers at the symposium also include scientists, high school and university educators, representatives of the Clergy Project, the National Science Teachers Association and the National Center for Science Education, and community activists from Cobb County, GA and Dover, PA.

1 Rising Above the Gathering Strom: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC, 2005.

The Clergy Project's Evolution Sunday website: http://www.uwosh.edu/colleges/cols/rel_evol_sun.htm Contact: Barbara Hyde
202-550-8959 (cell)
bhyde@asmusa.org

American Institute of Physics

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