The North Carolina Science Teachers Association stands for and supports the cause of science education. It opposes attempts by individuals or groups to offer, advocate, or require non-scientific explanations of natural phenomena in science classes in North Carolina Public Schools.

The primary goal of science teaching is to produce scientifically literate citizens. Science is both a process and a body of knowledge. It is pragmatic, observational, experimental and replicable. To be acceptable as science, explanations, statements, and theories must be capable of test by observation and experiment. Science is used in an attempt to explain the world about us. Courses in science should be concerned only with scientific knowledge and theories.

Attempts are being made by individuals and groups to have included in the public school science curriculum non-scientific explanations of the origin and development of living organisms. Efforts are being made to have special creation (Biblical accounts) presented in science classes as scientific accounts of creation. These efforts are an attempt to counteract or replace the teaching of the evolutionary theory of the origin and development of living organisms.

In general, creationism is a religious concept. Religion is based on one's belief or faith, not on scientific evidence. Evolution is a scientific theory based on scientific data accumulated over many years and organized, by logic and reason, into a unifying idea. The theory of evolution is, as all theories are, tentative in that it cannot produce a conclusive answer.

Religion and science are two important and exclusive realms of human thought. Efforts to present both in the same context lead to misunderstanding of both. Therefore, science instruction and materials in our public schools should be limited to matters of science.

The NCSTA recommends that the theory of evolution be taught as a scientific theory -- not a fact -- in our public schools by teachers certified in science. The NCSTA is sensitive to, and understanding of, the various religious beliefs of students and in no way wishes to change their religious beliefs. The theory of evolution should be taught, primarily, for awareness and understanding and for use in further scientific study -- not for acceptance.

September 1981

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