Voices for Evolution

Foreword to the First Edition

This book is the unique conception of Dr. Kenneth Saladin, Georgia College, Milledgeville. It was his brain child to gather together resolutions, statements, and position papers from organizations - scientific, educational, and religious/philosophical - which presented the views of groups of people on the creation/evolution controversy. He did all the groundwork and set the collection well on its way before yielding it to me to edit when he was pressed by other commitments.

There are two apparent exceptions to our editorial policy of offering only statements from organizations: remarks from the Episcopal Bishop of Birmingham and from Pope John Paul II. We elasticized our policy here because each man spoke in his official capacity as representative of members of his organization.

Voices is a project of the National Center for Science Education, an umbrella group set up in 1983 to support and coordinate activities of local, autonomous Committees of Correspondence. Most CCs were founded, beginning in 1981, by Stanley Weinberg, retired master biology teacher and author of biology textbooks. Weinberg understood that creationists, regardless of how their court cases are decided, work effectively at the grassroots level and should be dealt with there. From the first two committees, in Iowa and in New York, there are now 50 in as many states and five in Canada. Explains Weinberg:

The creation/evolution controversy is not an intellectual or scientific dispute, nor is it a conflict between science and religion. Basically, it is a contest over control of educational policy.

The short­term, immediate goal of NCSE and the CCs is to keep "scientific" creationism from being taught as legitimate science in public schools. The long­term goal is to improve science teaching, and the public understanding of science. Evolution - the fundamental organizing principle of biology - has been taught so little and so poorly that creation "science" has made inroads the scientific community wouldn't have believed possible.

It must be emphasized that no scientist disputes the right of fundamentalist Christians to believe that Genesis is a history and science textbook. The only difficulty arises when they seek to bring their sectarian religious faith into public school biology classes as legitimate science. The various statements here, from their various perspectives, ringingly declare, again and again, like variations on one mighty theme, that religion and science, properly viewed, can enhance and complement each other, but that they are different disciplines which deal in different ways and for different reasons with different spheres of human discovery. To blur that distinction weakens both.

Among the many, many persons who made this book possible, I want to give special thanks to Dr. Don Huffman, Central College, Pella, Iowa, who undertook the formidable task of getting permissions to use copyrighted material. Special thanks, too, to Dr. John Patterson, Iowa State University, Ames, and his assistant Gee Ju Moon, a genius with computers, who prepared the manuscripts in their many versions. Jodi Griffith designed the cover, and Liz Hughes the book layout. Thanks to friends across the country who read about the project and believed in it and contributed helpful suggestions and statements from their organizations.

All concerned hope that the book will be valuable, even invaluable, to biology teachers, boards of education, school superintendents, and librarians when they must respond appropriately to creationist demands.

Betty McCollister
Iowa Committee of Correspondence

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