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Dear Utah: Teach About the Scientific Controversy Over Evolution, Not About Intelligent Design

Sarah Chaffee


As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, the Utah Board of Education last week began the state’s science standards review process.

Unsurprisingly, there is already discussion over how to teach evolution:

And board member Lisa Cummins encouraged her colleagues to be aware of information that is taught to children “contrary to beliefs.”

“I am not in favor of furthering an agenda,” Cummins said, “but maybe just teaching theory and letting both sides of the argument come out — whether it‘s intelligent design or the Darwin origin.”

Let’s be clear: We think that Utah should not include intelligent design in their science standards. Our Science Education Policy states:

As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education….

…. Instead of recommending teaching about intelligent design in public K-12 schools, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in curricula. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

Utah students ought to learn about the scientific controversy over evolution. Teachers should, for example, bring up last November’s Royal Society meeting with its airing of very mainstream views challenging Darwinian orthodoxy. Let’s tell kids about the debate over neo-Darwinian processes going on at the highest levels of science.

Photo credit: Leland Francisco, via Flickr.