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National Academy of Sciences Member Tells Ohio To Continue Teaching Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution

Columbus, OH – One day after an elected Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science urged the Ohio State Board of Education (OSBE) to keep its evolution lesson plan that presents some of the scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution, a member of the National Academy of Sciences also encouraged the board to retain the lesson plan.

Philip S. Skell, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Evan Pugh Professor (Emeritus) of Chemistry at Penn State University, sent a letter to the OSBE stating: “I am writing—as a member of the National Academy of Sciences—to voice my strong support for the idea that students should be able to study scientific criticisms of the evidence for modern evolutionary theory along with the evidence favoring the theory. … Encouraging students to carefully examine the evidence for and against neo-Darwinism will help prepare students not only to understand current scientific arguments, but also to do good scientific research.”

Members of the National Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer. His research includes work on reactive intermediates in chemistry, free-atom reactions, and reactions of free carbonium ions.

Recently Dr. Skell wrote in The Scientist magazine: “Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. This becomes especially clear when we compare it with a heuristic framework such as the atomic model, which opens up structural chemistry and leads to advances in the synthesis of a multitude of new molecules of practical benefit. None of this demonstrates that Darwinism is false. It does, however, mean that the claim that it is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs.” (“Why Do We Invoke Darwin?” The Scientist, 29 August 2005, 19(16):10)

Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank dealing with scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution, seeks to increase the teaching of evolution. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. The Institute opposes any effort to mandate or require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education.