Sunday, July 30, 2006

AAAS writes to Kansas

In the Wichita Eagle's opinion page, AAAS board chair Omenn and chief executive Leshner write that there is "No conflict between science and religion":
In the climate of turmoil that now surrounds how biology and evolution are taught in public schools, a troubling distortion has become common: The issues are wrongly cast as a conflict between science and religion, as if they were two rival football teams.

With a crucial State Board of Education election just days away, and with the long-term future of Kansas children at stake, it's important to avoid such misunderstanding.

Science has no inherent conflict with religion and no interest in trying to undermine faith.

Science seeks natural explanations of the natural world, focusing on how the Earth and life developed over millions of years. Religion deals with questions of the supernatural and the ultimate meanings of life, totally different domains. Many scientists are religious, and thousands of U.S. clerical leaders from every denomination have testified that they see no conflict between faith and evolution.

Certainly some scientists do publicly reject religion, and some religious figures encourage mistrust of science. But if extremists dominate the discussion, misunderstanding thrives, to the detriment of everyone.

What's needed is a commitment to mutual respect. Religion is a personal matter, and it should be taught in the home and in churches and synagogues.

But science classrooms are where we cultivate the mind-set of discovery and where we prepare the workers of tomorrow. Those classrooms must be reserved for science.

Rather than confuse students, we need to teach science better than ever to inspire a new generation and secure our nation's future.
Go vote on Tuesday!