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AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner: Utah Evolution Bill “Divides Us and Distracts Us”
AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner, writing in the Salt Lake Tribune, warned that a Utah measure targeting evolution education poses a risk to upcoming generations of science, technology and medical researchers.
The bill does not mention God or Intelligent Design by name, but requires that students be exposed to competing ideas. Sponsored by Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, it says “the Legislature desires to avoid the perception that all scientists agree on any one theory or that the state endorses one theory over another."
The measure has passed the Utah Senate and is expected to win approval in the state’s House of Representatives.
Leshner, who also is executive publisher of the journal Science, wrote in the Tribune’s Sunday 29 January edition that the measure clearly targets evolution education. It “would encourage students to doubt the science of evolution and perpetuate the myth that evolution is challenged by ‘opposing scientific viewpoints’,” he said.
“America faces unprecedented challenges — to protect
our national security, to find new energy sources and to defend against
diseases such as avian flu. And at a time of mounting economic challenges
from around the globe, we must do all we can to train the young scientists,
engineers, technicians and medical professionals who will compete
to make groundbreaking discoveries in the years ahead,” he wrote.
“This has been recognized in recent months not only by scientists and engineers, but by academic and business leaders, Republicans and Democrats, all of whom are urging a renewed commitment to science education in our country. We need a well-educated workforce to allow us to compete in the world's science and technology-based economy of the future.”
You can read the full text of Leshner’s commentary here.
Edward W. Lempinen
30 January 2006