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While US Mainstream News Media & Political Establishment Enable the Assault on Reason, the National Academy of Science Stands Up to Fundamentalists -- NAS Declares "Scientific Evidence Supporting Evolution Continues To Grow; Nonscientific Approaches Do Not Belong In Science Classrooms"
By Richard Power
It is incredible, really, that here in the most technologically and scientifically advanced society on the planet, at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would have to dedicate any of its resources to defending evolution science against "creationism," but that is where we find ourselves today.
With all of the 21st-Century crises threatening the human race and the environment that sustains it, there are so many other ways for the NAS to do good; it should not have to fight the moral and intellectual battles of the 19th and early 20th Century.
But after several decades of television, news media monopolization, the abandonment of public education, and the political radicalization of Christian fundamentalism, the populace is informationally malnourished, weak and delusional.
Meanwhile, instead of leading the defense of reason, the US mainstream news media and political establishment enable the "Assault on Reason" by pandering to corporatist shills who spread disinformation about the climate crisis and religious fundamentalists who insist that experimenting on frozen stem cells (that would otherwise be discarded) is some sort of soul-killing abomination.
That's why the NSA's release of the third edition of SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM is of great importance and should not be overlooked.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) ... released SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM, a book designed to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom. Recent advances in science and medicine, along with an abundance of observations and experiments over the past 150 years, have reinforced evolution's role as the central organizing principle of modern biology, said the committee that wrote the book.
"SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM provides the public with coherent explanations and concrete examples of the science of evolution," said NAS President Ralph Cicerone. "The study of evolution remains one of the most active, robust, and useful fields in science."
"Understanding evolution is essential to identifying and treating disease," said Harvey Fineberg, president of IOM. "For example, the SARS virus evolved from an ancestor virus that was discovered by DNA sequencing. Learning about SARS' genetic similarities and mutations has helped scientists understand how the virus evolved. This kind of knowledge can help us anticipate and contain infections that emerge in the future." ...
Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, opponents have repeatedly tried to introduce nonscientific views into public school science classes through the teaching of various forms of creationism or intelligent design. In 2005, a federal judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, concluded that the teaching of intelligent design is unconstitutional because it is based on religious conviction, not science (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). NAS and IOM strongly maintain that only scientifically based explanations and evidence for the diversity of life should be included in public school science courses. "Teaching creationist ideas in science class confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not," the committee stated.
"As SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM makes clear, the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world. Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of each to contribute to a better future," the book says. National Academy of Science, 1-3-08
SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM is available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242, or on the Internet at www.nap.edu/sec, for $12.95; a PDF version is FREE.
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NAS, Creationism, Intelligent Design ,Assault on Reason, Richard Power, Words of Power