The National Academy of Sciences declares unequivocally that the tenets of 'creation science' are not supported by scientific evidence, that creationism has no place in a science curriculum at any level and that its teaching would be contrary to the nation's need for a scientifically literate citizenry and for a large, well-informed pool of scientific and technical personnel.

Only the nation's most distinguished scientists and engineers belong to the National Academy of Sciences. Abraham Lincoln signed its charter, under which the Academy serves as an official advisor, upon request and without fee, to the federal government on any question of science and technology.

In its classic 1984 position paper, Science and Creationism, the Academy explains that the teachings of creationism as advocated by and exemplified in the writings of the leading proponents of 'creation science' include the following judgments:

(1) that earth and the universe are relatively young, perhaps only 6,000 to 10,000 years old;

(2) the present physical form of the earth can be explained by catastrophism, including a worldwide flood; and

(3) all living things (including humans) were created miraculously, essentially in the forms we now find them.

These teachings may be recognized as having been derived from the accounts of origins in the first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible.I

The hypothesis of special creation has, over nearly two centuries, been repeatedly and sympathetically considered and rejected on evidential grounds by qualified observers and experimentalists. In the forms given in the first two chapters of Genesis, it is now an invalidated hypothesis. To reintroduce it into the schools at this time as an element of science teaching would be akin to requiring the teaching of Ptolemaic astronomy or pre-Columbian geography.

Science and Creationism explains why creationism cannot be regarded as a scientific pursuit. The claim that equity demands 'balanced treatment' of the two in the same classroom reflects misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted.

Scientific investigators seek to understand natural phenomena by direct observation and experiment. Scientific interpretations of facts are always provisional and must be testable. Statements made by authority, revelation, or appeal to the supernatural are not germane to this process in the absence of supporting evidence.

In creationism both authority and revelation take precedence over evidence. The conclusions of creationism do not change, nor can they be validated when subjected to test by the methods of science. Thus there are profound differences between the religious belief in special creation and the scientific explanations embodied in evolutionary theory.

Truly scientific understanding cannot be attained or even pursued effectively when explanations not derived from or tested by the scientific method are accepted.

The Academy concludes, "No body of beliefs that has its origin in doctrinal material rather than scientific observation should be admissible as science in any science course."

"Incorporating the teaching of such doctrines into a science curriculum stifles the development of critical thinking patterns in the developing mind and seriously compromises the best interests of public education. This could eventually hamper the advancement of science and technology as students take their places as leaders of future generations."

You can read or photocopy the complete Science and Creationism, only 28 pages at the Rush Rees and Carlson libraries of the University of Rochester. Its call number is QH371 S398 1984. To carry the work home, you must either (1) make an interlibrary loan through the Monroe County Library System or (2) have a connection with the university.

You can order 'Science and Creationism' for $5.00 from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418. You can order it for $4.00 from the Press website (http://www.nap.edu/).


The views and opinions stated within this web page are those of the author or authors which wrote them and may not reflect the views and opinions of the ISP or account user which hosts the web page.

Return to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank