March 1, 2007

APA Adopts Policy Statement Opposing the Teaching of Intelligent Design as Scientific Theory

The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a resolution opposing the teaching of intelligent design as scientific theory and stating that teaching intelligent design as science undermines the quality of both science education and science literacy.

WASHINGTON—The Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a resolution opposing the teaching of intelligent design as scientific theory and stating that teaching intelligent design as science undermines the quality of both science education and science literacy.

The APA Council released the following statement after adopting the resolution:

"While we are respectful of religion and individuals' right to their own religious beliefs, we also recognize that science and religion are separate and distinct. For a theory to be taught as science it must be testable, supported by empirical evidence and subject to disconfirmation. Thus, intelligent design lacks a basis in science."

In adopting the resolution, APA reaffirmed its 1982 Resolution on Creationism which stated that "creationism does not conform to the criteria of science." In adopting the current resolution, APA joins a number of other science and education organizations that have taken similar positions including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Questions and Answers about APA's position on intelligent design

Q: Why is APA taking a position on intelligent design?

A: APA's position is on the teaching of intelligent design as scientific theory. The Association believes that teaching any concept as science requires empirical evidence and the ability to test the concept using the scientific method. The teaching of concepts as science in the absence of such criteria undermines all science education and the goals of science literacy.

APA's position is that all students should develop an understanding of what constitutes good science and that the teaching of intelligent design as scientific theory weakens such understanding.

Q: What about the teaching of intelligent design as religious theory?

A: APA is very mindful that religion and science are two very different pursuits. We fully support any individual's religious choices and beliefs.

The APA resolution speaks to the absence of scientific methods or evidence to support the teaching of intelligent design as science. It is not meant to question the legitimacy of intelligent design as a religious philosophy.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 145,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.