Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dover update Jan-05-2005

Penn Faculty Responds to Dover School Board

5 January 2005
Dover Area School Board
2 School Lane
Dover, PA 17315

An Open Letter to the Dover Area School Board:

As scientists, scholars, and teachers, we are compelled to point out that the quality of science education in your schools has been seriously compromised by the decision to mandate the teaching of “intelligent design” along with evolution. Science education should be based on ideas that are well supported by evidence. Intelligent design does not meet this criterion: It is a form of creationism propped up by a biased and selective view of the evidence.

In contrast, evolution is based on and supported by an immense and diverse array of evidence and is continually being tested and reaffirmed by new discoveries from many scientific fields. The evidence for evolution is so strong that important new areas of biological research are confidently and successfully based on the reality of evolution. For example, evolution is fundamental to genomics and bioinformatics, new fields which hold the promise of great medical discoveries.

According to the York Daily Record (November 23, 2004), you issued a statement claiming that “Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence.” This is extraordinarily misleading. While one can refer to the general body of modern evolutionary knowledge as “theory,” the same is true of all other scientific knowledge, such as the theory of relativity or the theory of continental drift. It is one of the hallmarks of scientific inquiry that all such ideas are open to testing and reinterpretation. That theories are open to testing, however, does not mean that they are wrong. Evolution has been subject to well over a century of continual testing. The result: Its reality is no more in dispute among biologists than, for example, the existence of atoms and molecules is among chemists.

Our students need to be taught the method and content of real science. We urge you to alter the misguided policy of teaching intelligent design creationism in your high school science curriculum. Instead, empower students with real, dependable scientific knowledge. They need this knowledge to understand the world around them, to compete for admission to colleges and universities, and to compete for good jobs. They deserve nothing less.


  1. Paul Sniegowski

  2. Associate Professor
    Department of Biology

  3. Michael Weisberg

  4. Assistant Professor
    Department of Philosophy

    Members of the Departments of Biology and Philosophy:
  5. Prof. Edwin Abel
  6. Prof. Andrew Binns
  7. Prof. Anthony Cashmore
  8. Prof. Brenda Casper
  9. Prof. Dorothy Cheney
  10. Prof. Karen Detlefsen
  11. Prof. Zoltan Domotor
  12. Prof. Arthur Dunham
  13. Prof. Samuel Freeman
  14. Prof. Warren Ewens
  15. Prof. Steven Gross
  16. Prof. Greg Guild
  17. Prof. Paul Guyer
  18. Prof. Gary Hatfield
  19. Prof. Michael Hippler
  20. Prof. Daniel Janzen
  21. Prof. Peter Petraitis
  22. Prof. Scott Poethig
  23. Prof. Philip Rea
  24. Prof. Dejian Ren
  25. Prof. Marc Schmidt
  26. Prof. Paul Schmidt
  27. Prof. Richard Schultz
  28. Prof. Tatanya Svitkina
  29. Prof. Kok-Chor Tan
  30. Prof. Lewis Tilney
  31. Prof. Doris Wagner
  32. Prof. Eric Weinberg
  33. Prof. Scott Weinstein
  34. Prof. Sally Zigmond

  35. Associate Dean David Balamuth (Natural Sciences), Department of Physics

See also College biologists blast Dover

York College faculty members said the 'intelligent design' decision goes against science.

Read more!