Creation, Evolution, and Science Education

Scientific creation, special creation, and creation-science are terms used synonymously when referring to the thesis that the universe and all forms of life were brought into existence by sudden acts of a Divine Creator. Supporters of this thesis are creationists, some of whom are campaigning vigorously in favor of the inclusion of creation-science in the science classrooms of the nation's public schools. In effect, such inclusion would constitute a two-model approach to questions of origins. One of these models is the theory of evolution; the second model is creation-science.

The theory of evolution is the theory or model presented in the life sciences curricula of public school science classrooms. Evolution theory is taught because its existence as a developing network of observations, hypotheses, predictions, facts, principles, and sub-theories is the result of scientific inquiry free of any a priori design.

In comparison, the creation-science model is not an observation-hypothesis-prediction-fact-principle-accessory theory sequence. It does not encourage open-ended questioning because any raising of questions must produce answers that converge on the Divine Creator thesis. As a result, the creation-science model cannot generate information and ideas useful in the development of new areas of scientific investigation. Thus, creation-science is not acceptable as a scientific theory. Even so, the necessity exists for public school science educators to consider certain causal concerns of creationists. A major concern is that students from creationist backgrounds are exposed to theories regarding questions of origins not consonant with their religious training; a second concern is that many science teachers teach the theory of evolution as fact.

Therefore, in consequence of the creationists' concerns and in consequence of the need to maintain the integrity of science education, the Michigan Science Teachers Association adopts the following position with respect to the evolution/creation issue:

1. The Michigan Science Teachers Association affirms the necessity of rejecting the teaching of non-scientific theories in the science classrooms of Michigan's public schools.

2. The Michigan Science Teachers Association recommends that its professional development committee be responsible for the design of an inservice model for helping science teachers learn how to work sensitively and objectively with the evolution/creation concerns expressed by students, parents, and boards of education.

3. The Michigan Science Teachers Association reaffirms its goals of
(a) helping students acquire useful science knowledge and skills (b) helping students progress in the understanding and use of processes of scientific inquiry, and (c) helping students separate scientific thought and activity from thought rightfully the province of humankind's diverse ways of spiritual expression and responsiveness to the need for authoritarian guidance.

4. The Michigan Science Teachers Association recommends the establishment of procedures for the dissemination of the position expressed herein to Michigan Science teachers, to the Michigan Department of Education through its science specialist, and to Michigan Boards of Education and to science specialists of other states on request.

Approved on November 21, 1981, by the Board of Directors of the Michigan Science Teachers Association on behalf of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

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