National Academy Scientist Endorses Language in South Carolina Science Standards Calling for Critical Analysis of Evolution

Robert L. Crowther, II

Dr. Phil Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences** and a professor emeritus of chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, has just sent an open letter to the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee encouraging them to recommend to the state board of education science standards calling for students to learn the scientific evidence both for and against biological and chemical evolution.
Writes Dr. Skell:

“I am writing–as a member of the National Academy of Sciences–to voice my strong support for the idea that students should be able to study scientific criticisms of the evidence for modern evolutionary theory along with the evidence favoring the theory. Scientific journals now document many scientific problems and criticisms of evolutionary theory and students need to know about these as well. … Many of the scientific criticisms of which I speak are well known by scientists in various disciplines, including the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry, in which I have done my work. … South Carolina students would be well served to learn about these scientific criticisms as they do their own critical analysis of the evidence that both supports and challenges neo-Darwinian evolution.”

The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee is hearing testimony from scientists this week regarding whether it should recommend language for the state’s science standards that calls for students to critically analyze certain aspects of evolutionary theory. Five other states, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New Mexico, and Minnesota, have adopted science standards that require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution.
“Like Dr. Skell, we believe evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said Casey Luskin, Program Officer for Public Policy & Legal Affairs at the Discovery Institute.
As a matter of policy, Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, the nation’s leading think tank dealing with scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution, seeks to increase the teaching of evolution. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. The Institute opposes any effort to mandate or require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education.
**Members and foreign associates of the National Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.