PSU Grad Students' Darwin Day Petition  
Taking a Stand for Science  
  
 

 
 
Petition by Scientists to reclassify non-science books from science categories

As scientists, we feel strongly that categorizing Intelligent Design (“ID”) as science is both inappropriate and misleading. Local bookstores and libraries unintentionally exacerbate this misleading categorization when they shelve ID books and legitimate science texts in the same section . Our goal is to convince the U.S. Library of Congress to re-classify ID books into sections other than the science section.

Science can be defined as the process of using empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses in the effort to increase our understanding of the world around us. ID seeks to answer many of the same questions about life on Earth that science does. However, the two differ drastically in that ID invokes supernatural explanations to explain natural processes, while science explains natural processes using empirical data. As the study of ID does not involve the use of empirical evidence to make predictions and test hypotheses, it cannot be considered a science under any circumstances. In a recent case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 400 F. Supp. 2d 707, 765 (M.D. Pa. 2005), U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones, III, agreed stating “We have concluded that [ID] is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious antecedents.”

Despite this clear distinction between ID and science, some ID books are placed into the “Science” section of local bookstores and libraries. Our chief complaint comes in two forms. (1) Placement of ID books within a science section presupposes that ID is itself a science, and thus lends scientific credibility to a supernatural explanation of the world. (2) Placement of ID books within a science section also diminishes the amount of truly scientific books that can be displayed in any one science section, and thus limits the public’s access to scientific knowledge. Given that a recent study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found that “70 percent of Americans do not understand the scientific process,” further confusion surrounding what is and is not science is particularly problematic. We want to be entirely clear that we fully support freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas. Under no circumstance should this statement be viewed as a surreptitious attempt to censor ID literature. As scientists we make no claim about the validity of ID as a philosophy, we simply state that ID is not science.

 
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