The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Archive for October 15th, 2010

Pro-Science Resolution for the Illinois Federation of Teachers?

Posted by mattusmaximus on October 15, 2010

**Update: I’ve received word that the IFT resolution was accepted this past weekend!  I will post the full text of the amended resolution once I receive it.


I teach high school & college science in Illinois, and I’m also a member of both teaching unions here – the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association. I’m often proud to be a member of these organizations, though at times my patience is worn rather thin with them.  Specifically, I know some people who are trying very hard to get a resolution passed at the IFT conference this weekend concerning evolution & creationism.

Sadly, in the past the IFT (and, to my knowledge, the IEA as well) has taken no official position on the teaching of science in public schools.  Thus, stupid things happen like creationists are allowed to show up with a booth at IFT/IEA conferences (would they allow, say, Holocaust deniers to push their “alternate view” of history?)

The purpose of the resolution is to get the IFT to finally take a strong, pro-science stand against the pseudoscience & religiously-driven malarkey of creationism which has been pushed for far too long.  It is undoubtedly true that there are IFT members who are creationists, but that isn’t a reason to avoid addressing this issue – the scientific community has spoken, the federal courts have spoken, and now it is time for the IFT and other teachers’ unions to speak & stand up strongly for sound science education in our public schools.

If you are a member of IFT and are a delegate to this weekend’s conference, or you know someone who is, please encourage them to stand up  and speak in support of this resolution when it is presented.  For more information, you make contact Professor Gary Fritz at

The language of the resolution follows:

UPI House of Delegates 2009

Keep non-scientific ideas out of the science curriculum

submitted by


WHEREAS, science is a systematic method for investigating natural phenomena through experimentation, observation, and measurement leading to falsifiable explanations that are open to continuous testing; and

WHEREAS, science proceeds on the basis of methodological naturalism and assumes observed phenomena of the universe are real, nature is consistent and understandable, and nature is explainable in terms of laws and theories; and

WHEREAS, a scientific theory is consistent with evidence from multiple and independent sources of evidence, explains many different facts, and allows predictions of subsequent discoveries; and

WHEREAS, the theory of evolution satisfies these criteria fully,  is the foundation of biological science, is supported by a coherent body of integrated evidence from other disciplines in science, and is consistent with theories from other scientific disciplines including anthropology, geology, physics, astronomy, and chemistry; and

WHEREAS, there have been attempts in some states to include non-scientific ideas, such as creationism and intelligent design, in the science curriculum as  alternatives to scientific explanations of nature, particularly as an alternative to evolutionary theory; and

WHEREAS, arguments grounded in religious or philosophical considerations outside the realm of science have been invoked in attempts to subvert the validity or teaching of evolutionary theory.  These attempts are also attacks on all scientific inquiry and, therefore, also attacks on the validity of using reason and experimentation to understand the universe; and

WHEREAS, legislation that incorporates unscientific ideas into the science curriculum, or limits, or prohibits the teaching of any scientific theory, negatively impacts our ability to make informed decisions; and

WHEREAS, it is the responsibility of the AFT to preserve the integrity of science in the classroom;

Therefore be it resolved, that the AFT affirm, through a positional statement on its website, the validity of science as a methodology for understanding the nature of the universe, and affirm the validity and foundational importance of organic evolution to science as a whole and biology, specifically; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AFT affirm, through a positional statement on its website, that ideas such as creationism and intelligent design are not with  in the realm of science and, therefore, are inappropriate for inclusion in the science curriculum; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AFT call upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory, and the inappropriateness of  including non-science subjects (e.g.,  intelligent design and creationism) in our science curriculum; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AFT communicate to the local, regional, and national public media, to educational authorities, and to appropriate legislators its opposition to the inclusion of non-science approaches and subjects (e.g., creationism and intelligent design) into the science education curricula of our public school system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AFT members also promote these concerns and help resolve these issues in their home communities among educators, parents, school boards, and students in appropriate public forums.

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