A cross-section of the debate ASA Journal Articles  ASA Position  Historic Resources

Since 1941
Science and Faith in Christian Perspective



Science and Religion in the Public School the continuing debate 
a compendium of articles in the press and elsewhere


A cross-section of the debate

Supporters of Evolution Theory Show Their Religious Stripes, by Sean Cavanagh, Education Week, August 31, 2005

NU Offers Exhibit On Darwin's Theory On Evolution Nebraska StatePaper.com September 08, 2005

Intelligent Design Has No Place in the Science Curriculum By HAROLD MOROWITZ, ROBERT HAZEN, and JAMES TREFIL Scientists who teach evolution sometimes feel as if they are trapped in an old horror film -- the kind where the monster is killed repeatedly, only to come to life in a nastier form each time. Since the Scopes trial in 1925, the battle between scientists who want to teach mainstream biology in American public schools, and creationists who want to promulgate a more religious view, has gone through several cycles. Chronicle of Higher Education Sep. 2, 2005

A selection from the New York Times Series

Scientists Speak Up on Mix of God and Science By Cornelia Dean, The New York Times, August 23, 2005

A clash of Darwinists and doubters By Kenneth Chang The New York Times TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2005

Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive
By JODI WILGOREN  The New York Times August 21, 2005

Language: Neo-creo: backlash to 'intelligent design'
By William Safire The New York Times MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2005

Evolution: Just Teach It  by Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch,  USA Today, August 14, 2005
Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch are executive director and deputy director of the National Center for Science Education.


Four 'takes' on the US ID debate.

The first  accepts evolution, but has an interesting theological approach (not exactly ID). The second one rejects evolution and accepts ID. The third champions allowing the debate (says Bush was right to want both sides taught). The last is anti-ID.   Enjoy!

Divine Evolution By Frederick Turner Published 08/10/2005

Faith-Based Evolution By Roy W. Spencer Published 08/08/2005 

Bush and Darwin By Lee Harris Published 08/05/2005

Turning 'Unknown' Into 'Unknowable' By Bob McHenry Published 08/10/2005


Much More.

Misunderstanding intelligent design By John G. West, Decatur Daily Democrat - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Intelligent design must be used in an intelligent way by Byron Williams, Oakland Tribune - Oakland, CA,USA 08/11/2005

Monkey See, Monkey Do by Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, August 15, 2005

The Little Engine That Could...Undo Darwinism By Dan Peterson  The American Spectator, published on-line 8/5/2005

Keep Intelligent Design Out of Science Classes by Michael Ruse, Beliefnet.com

Intelligent Design Stirrings by David Limbaugh in The Washington Times, August 9, 2005

The Problem with Intelligent Design by William Grassie, Beliefnet
'Intelligent design' smacks of creationism by another name USA Today. August 8, 2005

God's chance creation by George Coyne, S.J. August 6, 2005 The Tablet

Religion and science are best taught separately President Bush has reignited the debate about how the origins of life should be taught in public schools. It is a debate ripe for demagoguery because too few people understand important distinctions between science and religion. In a press conference with Texas newspaper reporters last week, the president said, "Both sides ought to be properly taught ... so people can understand what the debate is about." He was referring to the theory of evolution as opposed to the concept of intelligent design. The president, like so many other people, tries to draw an equivalence where there is none. Evolution is a scientific theory whereas intelligent design is a religious belief. Theories and beliefs operate by two separate sets of rules. Asheville Citizen-Times August 8, 2005

Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design  by William A. Dembski, Beliefnet Aug. 4,2005

Bush sets off storm over evolution  By Elisabeth Bumiller The New York Times, AUGUST 4, 2005

Catholic Experts Urge Caution in Evolution Debate by John L. Allen Jr., National Catholic Reporter - USA, July 29, 2005

"80 years later, Scopes trial debate still alive" by James Randerson, July 10, 2005, San Francisco Chronicle

Finding design in evolution Christoph Sch–nborn The New York Times, JULY 8, 2005

School Boards Want to 'Teach the Controversy.' What Controversy? by Lawrence M. Krauss, New York Times, May 17, 2005

Text of Open Letter to the Pope on Evolution by Lawrence M. Krauss, Francisco Ayala, and Kenneth Miller, July 12, 2005

"Board Nixes Creationism Show at Okla. Zoo"  Shaun Schafer of The Associated Press Published Thursday, July 7, 2005 in the Washington Post

"A Debate That Does Not End" in the July 4 edition of Newsweek, by George F. Will

"Timeline: Remembering the Scopes Monkey Trial "National Public Radio - Washington, D.C., July 5, 2005 

"Teaching Humanity's Origins: Evolved or Designed?"    Peggy Fletcher Stack,  The Salt Lake Tribune, June 12, 2005 

Intelligent design has no place in science classes BY RICHARD G. COLLING, Chicago Sun - Times, June 8, 2005

"Evangelicals divided over evolution,"  PAUL NUSSBAUM. The Philadelphia Inquirer,  June 4, 2005.  Can God and evolution coexist? For many evangelical Christians, the debate over teaching evolution in public schools touches a vital spiritual nerve. Some see evolution as a path to perdition, while others see it as a example of God's handiwork.

"DEVOLUTION Why intelligent design isnít."  H. ALLEN ORR, The New Yorker, Issue of 2005-05-30

"Darwin's theory evolves into culture war" by Lisa Anderson Chicago Tribune May 22, 2005

"Monkey trial or kangaroo court?" by Stan Cox AlterNet May 19, 2005

"Creating a controversy" by Chris Mooney American Prospect May 16, 2005

The Evolution of Creationism by Ellen Goodman, May 13, 2005, Seattle Times

Testimony from the Kansas hearings May 5-7

Creationism vs. Intelligent Design: Is there a difference?  By Daniel Engber. May 10, 2005 edition of Slate

What Matters in Kansas: The evolution of creationism. By William Saletan. May 11, 2005 edition of Slate

Fair Play The Intelligent Design Controversy Returns to Kansas  Charles Colson's May 10, 2005 Breakpoint column exposes foul play scientific politicks.

"Barnum on Steroids" by Jason S. Miller published in the May 9, 2005 issue of The Baltimore Chronicle. The writer confuses Kansas State University geologist Keith Miller with Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller, and is a bit too caustic towards ID proponents and evangelical Christians, but he also makes some good points and includes some enlightening quotations.

"Scientist puts faith in evolution debate" by Nina J. Easton published in the May 8, 2005, issue of the Boston Globe.

"Fundamental questions: America debates the place of Darwin and God in schools"
published in the May 7, 2005, issue of The Independent.

US school battle over evolution, Charles Darwin. Darwinian theory would be challenged with "alternative explanations"
The Kansas state school board has begun four days of hearings into how children in state schools are taught about the origins of life.
Religious conservatives are pressing for a change to state guidelines that would play down Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. They argue that the teaching of evolution shows a bias against religion. Science organisations have boycotted the hearings in protest. BBCNews, May 6, 2005

Darwinian theory would be challenged with "alternative explanations"

"Teachers, Scientists Vow to Fight Challenge to Evolution," by Peter Slevin published in the May 5, 2005, issue of the Washington Post.

"Now evolving in biology classes: a testier climate" by G. Jeffrey MacDonald Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2005

Evolution going on trial in Kansas State to hold courtroom-style hearings, May 2, Reuters

"Evolutionary War" by Peter Dizikes, Boston Globe, May 1, 2005 A review of Michael Ruse's latest take on the evolution wars.

Intelligent Design: Who Has Designs on Your Students' Minds? by Geoff Brumfiel, Nature, April 28, 2005

"Backward Evolution" by Richard Cohen of The Washington Post  On April 11, 

"A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding" produced by the Committee on Science, Technology 
and Faith  of the Episcopal Church: An announcement describing the document was posted March 28, 2005: 

"Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science" collaboratively drafted by clergy in Wisconsin working with Michael
 Zimmerman, Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh: 

Kansas Board Taking Up Evolution Debate 

"Does Seattle group 'teach controversy' or contribute to it?" By Linda Shaw, Seattle Times, March 31, 2005 


Who's Afraid of Intelligent Design?   By Jay Mathews, Washington Post, March 23, 2005; Page A15 "...I slogged joylessly through all the phyla and the principles of Darwinism, memorizing as best as I could. It never occurred to me that this class could have been as interesting as history until I recently started to read about "intelligent design," the latest assault on the teaching of evolution in our schools. Many education experts and important scientists say we have to keep this religious-based nonsense out of the classroom. But is that really such a good idea?"

'Call to Arms' on Evolution by Dan Vergano and Greg Toppo, USA-Today, March 23, 2005

Faith, science and nature's mysteries, J. EMMETT DUFFY SPECIAL TO THE DAILY PRESS, HAMPTON ROADS, VA. March 20, 2005 

Transcript: A Battle Over Teaching the Origins of Life by Peter Slevin (Comments on Slevin's  Post article.) March 14, 2005.

Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens by Peter Slevin, Washington Post, March 14.

Why So Many Find the Anti-Evolution Argument Appealing by Charles A. Israel, posted online at the History News Network March 14, 2005    

Committee members spar over evolution's place in state's science standards by Michael Strand, Salina Journal March 19, 2005

March 1, 2005 "Creationism, pluralism and the compromising of science The trouble with 'teaching the controversy'."  Joe Kaplinsky, UK

Feb 28, 2005  Fear and loathing of creationism  D. Allan Kerr.  A 'down east' perspective Portsmouth Herald

Feb 22, 2005 Intelligent Denials Chris Mooney, The American Prospect (online edition)
Bush's science adviser said one important thing about politicized science in a recent appearance. But only one.

Feb 7, 2005 Is it Time for Another Scopes Trial? Mary C. Curtis, Knight Ridder Newspapers                           

Feb 7, 2005 Design for Living Bethlehem, Pa. — IN the wake of the recent lawsuits over the teaching of Darwinian evolution, there has been a rush to debate the merits of the rival theory of intelligent design. As one of the scientists who have proposed design as an explanation for biological systems, I have found widespread confusion about what intelligent design is and what it is not. MICHAEL J. BEHE, NYTimes

Feb 7, 2005 Doubting Darwin Jerry Adler, How did life, in its infinite complexity, come to be? A controversial new theory called 'intelligent design' asserts a supernatural agent was at work. How could the eye, with all its complex partsHow could the eye, with all its complex parts working in concert, have arisen by a series of discrete steps? have arisen by a series of discrete steps? Jerry Adler, Newsweek

                       Illustration by Mirko Ilic for Newsweek

Feb 1, 2005 Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Classes In districts around the country, even when evolution is in the curriculum it may not be in the classroom. CORNELIA DEAN, NYTimes

Jan 31, 2005 Stealth Attack On Evolution Who is behind the movement to give equal time to Darwin's critics, and what do they really want?  Time Magazine         

Jan 25, 2005 Finding common ground between God and evolution SeattleTimes     

Jan 2005 Charles F. Austerberry, The Evolving Sequel to Bryan's Last Campaign

Kansas Case 

State Board of Edís Morris causes stir with newsletter   June 14, 2005 Lawrence Journal-World

March 10--  Science standards debated Committee members spar over evolution’s place in state’s science standards.

Feb 18--Shenanigans in Kansas City  

Cobb County, Georgia Case 

School Board Decides to Appeal Ruling January 17, 2005

School Board to Appeal Evolution Ruling MSNBC
School Board to Appeal Ruling to Remove Evolution Stickers

District Court Ruling Announced January 13, 2005
ACLU Press Release
Text of the Decision
(large pdf file; 44 pages)
Georgia Evolution Stickers Ordered Removed from Textbooks
Judge Nixes Evolution Textbook Stickers MSNBC 
Judge Rejects Georgia School Board Evolution Stand
by Paul Simao of Reuters
Judge: Evolution Stickers Unconstitutional CNN
Dover, Pennsylvania Case (trial scheduled for September 26, 2005

The new Monkey Trial by Michelle Goldberg of Salon (access requires viewing of brief advertisement, or subscription)

Intelligent design: Is it just creationism lite? Sunday, January 09, 2005
The flap over "intelligent design," the latest terminology behind the old theory that the universe and its organisms developed at the discretion of a supernatural creator, continues to unfold in York County's Dover Area School District, where school directors want teachers to talk about the theory in a ninth-grade biology course. Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Dover Teachers Refuse to Read Antievolution Disclaimer
   by Nick Matzke, NCSE, January 7, 2005

Evolution Shares a Desk With 'Intelligent Design'
   December 26, 2004 Washington Post 

Parents Sue Dover Area School District over Intelligent Design in Science Curriculum ACLU press release of December 14, 2004

teachers are trying to cope with the confusing policy established by the Dover (PA) Area School Board. (Dec. 3, 2004) 

Nov. 19, 2004 Press Release from the Dover, PA School District, perhaps the first to list Intelligent Design as part of the biology curriculum.  Despite the confused position of their district's board, hopefully Dover teachers understand the difference between genuine research questions and supposed "gaps/problems" with evolution.  
York Daily Record
A full record of articles

Jan 21, 2005 Other Voices - Darwin under fire (again): Intelligent design vs. evolution  45% of Americans believe that "God created man in present form," while 38% believe "man developed with God guiding." Only 13% say "man developed with no help from God."
Is Darwin winning the battle, but losing the war? As soon as one challenge to the teaching of evolution is beaten in the courts, another emerges to take its place. The current contender is "intelligent design," a theory that according to advocates at the Discovery Institute "makes no religious claims, but says that the best natural evidence for life's origins points to design rather than a process of random mutation and natural selection." MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES

Dec. 7, 2004 A who's who of players in the battle of biology class  Randy Dotinga The Christian Science Monitor

Dec 7 2004 Fresh Challenges in the Old Debate Over Evolution  In order to teach evolution in the schools in the current cultural and political environment, educators and scientists are realizing they must educate (or re-educate) the population at large - including future science teachers. About half the students University of Georgia professor David Jackson teaches to become middle school science instructors believe that God created the Earth 6,000 years ago, he says. Some colleagues tell him he shouldn't even bother teaching these students - that future teachers with such beliefs "shouldn't teach." But Jackson says his job to make sure that his students understand evolution, not believe it. Wes McCoy, a science department chair in Georgia, says opinion polls prove that evolution is widely misunderstood. "The parents and school board members I have spoken to who oppose the teaching of evolution seem to have little understanding of what evolution means," McCoy says. "I believe it is my duty ... to discuss with them what we mean by evolution and why it is so vital to teach." Washington Post

Nov. 13, 2004 Grantsburg unearths questions of science School Board's 'theories of origin' act sets off national debate  
Grantsburg WI - Grantsburg has unintentionally become the focal point of a national media storm. By tweaking the schools' science curriculum to allow that various "theories of origin" be taught in addition to evolution, the School Board invited the world into town - exposing itself to public scrutiny and attention. And raising the questions: What is science? And who gets to decide what is taught in the science classroom? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


ASA Position

A Voice for Evolution As Science

... After polling the membership on its views, the Executive Council of the American Scientific Affiliation hereby directs the following Resolution to public school teachers, administrators, school boards, and producers of elementary and secondary science textbooks or other educational materials:

Because it is our common desire to promote excellence and integrity in science education as well as in science; and

Because it is our common desire to bring to an end wasteful controversy generated by inappropriate entanglement of the scientific concept of evolution with political, philosophical, or religious perspectives;

We strongly urge that, in science education, the terms evolution and theory of evolution should be carefully defined and used in a consistently scientific manner; and

We further urge that, to make classroom instruction more stimulating while guarding it against the intrusion of extra-scientific beliefs, the teaching of any scientific subject, including evolutionary biology, should include (1) forceful presentation of well-established scientific data and conclusions; (2) clear distinction between evidence and inference; and (3) candid discussion of unsolved problems and open questions.

Adopted by the Executive Council of the American Scientific Affiliation on December 7, 1991. ASA was founded in 1941 as a nationwide fellowship of evangelical Christians trained in science. Its vision is "To have science and theology interacting and affecting one another in a positive light." The 1991 resolution was preceded by a background statement citing various definitions of evolution and identifying "scientific creationism" at one extreme and "evolutionary naturalism" at the other as "essentially religious doctrine masquerading as science." First published in ASA's journal, Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith (Vol. 44, No. 4, p. 252, Dec. 1992), the resolution and its background statement also appear in the 1993 edition of Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy, a guidebook for high school teachers from ASA, P.O. Box 668, Ipswich, MA 01938.

ASA Journal Articles 

SchoolBoard decision of September 5, 1995.The Controversy over the Kansas Science Standards,  Keith B. Miller, Department of Geology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, PSCF 51 (December 1999): 220-221.

A School Board Success Story : How a California school board set policy on teaching science that ousted "isms" from the biology classroom. ASA Newsletter, Vol. 38, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1996. The Hemet, California, 

The Commission on Science Education of the AAAS  California Consultant Committee Introductory Statement From: JASA 25 (June 1973): 68-70.

Historic Resources (courtesy of James R. Hofmann)

Important Educational Bills and Court Cases

Arkansas 1968, 1982
 William R. Overton ruled that the 1981 Arkansas "Balanced Treatment" Bill, Arkansas Act 590, was unconstitutional;  Click Here  for a transcript of Act 590.   Click Here for Judge Overton's decision.
Click Here  for the McLean v. Arkansas Documentation Project, correlated by   Wesley Elsbery and  Troy Britain.
Click Here  for an article on Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science who testified in the McLean v. Arkansas case.

Louisiana 1987
For a 1994 legal and philosophical analysis of this case, see Dov Wisebrod: Religion, Science, and Law .

KANSAS 1999-2001
Tom Willis of the  Creation Science Association for Mid-America helped draft the Board's recommendation. The Association has posted many useful documents on this case at its resource called Truth about the Kansas Science Standards Tornado .
Tom Willis was interviewed on August 23, 1999 by the  Washington Post .
Stephen Jay Gould gave his response to the Kansas decision in an article for Time: Dorothy, It's Really Oz .
For Michael Behe's assessment of the Kansas case, see Darwin's Hostages .
Phillip Johnson wrote a response called  The Church of Darwin .
 Click Here  for the Intelligent Design Network, organized in 1999 in response to the Kansas controversy.
Click Here  for correspondence from  IDN concerning the reinstatment of evolution in Kansas schools.
Click Here  for a February 2001 Topeka Capital-Journal article on the reinstatement of evolution into the Kansas public school curriculum.
Click Here for the new standards adopted in Kansas in February 2001.

Louisiana 2000-2001 
Click Here  for a June 19, 2000 ACLU report on the Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education controversy.
 Click Here  for a pdf file of Chief Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion when the United States Supreme Court ruled not to reopen the decision of the Court of Appeals, or  Click Here  for an on-line version.
Click Here  for the text of the initial version of Louisiana HCR 74. After a one hour hearing, the House Education Committee of the Louisiana State Legislature passed this version of HCR 74 on  May 1, 2001 by a vote of 9 to 5. It was sent to the full house for debate.

 Arkansas 2001 Click Here for text of Arkansas House Bill 2548, an anti-evolutionary bill proposed in February 2001 in the Arkansas legislature by Representative Holt that would make it illegal for the state or any of its agencies to use state funds to purchase materials that contain "false or fraudulent" claims. Click Here for discussion of the bill by Wesley R. Elsberry.

Michigan 2001 Click Here  for Michigan House Bill 4382. The Bill includes the following:

Missouri 2004   Click Here for Missouri House Bill 1722 which calls for balanced treatment of biological evolution and "biological intelligent design".

Contact: Jack Haas: haas.john@comcast.net
Chuck Austerberry, Creighton University and Co-founder of the Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education.