APA Council of Representatives Resolution Rejecting Intelligent Design as Scientific and Reaffirming Support for Evolutionary Theory

Adopted by the APA Council of Representatives on February 17, 2007)

The science, practice, and application of psychology depend on science education and the culture of evidence and critical thought to which it contributes. Evolutionary theory is one of the most powerful elements of contemporary science. With due diligence in repudiating misappropriations of evolution to justify social injustices, scholars informed by evolutionary theory can unify scientific knowledge and serve public interests in invaluable ways. Proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) present ID theory as a viable alternative scientific explanation for the origins and diversity of life. However, ID has not withstood the scrutiny of scientific peer review of its empirical, conceptual, or epistemological bases and thus is not properly regarded as a scientific theory.

Whereas Intelligent Design Theory poses a threat to the quality of science education in the United States, and recognizing the urgency pressed upon it by the endorsement of teaching ID alongside evolutionary theory by some political leaders (Baker & Slevin, 2005; Santorum, 2005)

Whereas Evolutionary theory is a major unifying force in contemporary science; (Gould, 1994; National Science Teachers Association, 2003; Wilson, 1998)

Whereas the bases of continuity and variation that follow from evolutionary theory inform, explicitly or implicitly, the work of many psychologists with humans and other animals; (Caporael, 2001; Crawford, 1989; Gray, 1996)

Whereas ID proponents dismiss contemporary evolutionary theory as scientifically invalid; (Discovery Institute, n.d., Wells, 2000/2001)

Whereas: ID proponents promulgate their theory as science in the absence of empirical evidence or, indeed, a means of testing it that passes scientific muster; (Young & Edis, 2004) and
Whereas: The teaching of ID as science would seriously undermine both the vitality of psychological science and the science literacy so essential to an informed, responsible citizenry (Gray 1996; Lombrozo, Shtulman & Weisberg, 2006; National Science Teacher's Association, 2003)

Therefore be it resolved, that APA applauds the consistent repudiation by federal courts of Creationism, Creation Science, and now ID as a part of science education; (Edwards v. Aguillard, 1987; Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District, 2005; McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 1982; Peloza v. Capstriano Unified School District, 1994; Webster v. New Lennox School District, 1990)

Therefore be it resolved, that the APA reaffirms earlier relevant resolutions (APA, 1982 & 1990) and joins other leading scholarly organizations including American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002), American Astronomical Society (2005), American Society of Agronomy (2005), Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (2005), and National Association of Biology Teachers (2005) in opposing the teaching of Intelligent Design as a scientific theory.


American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002) Resolution on intelligent design theory. Retrieved May 9, 2006 from http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml

American Astronomical Society (2005) Statement on the teaching of evolution. Retrieved May 9, 2006 from http://www.aas.org/governance/council/resolutions.html

American Psychological Association. (1982). APA Council of Representatives resolution on creationism.

American Psychological Association. (1990). APA Council of Representatives endorsement of American Association for the Advancement of Science resolution on the use of animals in research, testing, and education.

American Society of Agronomy (2005). Position statement in support of teaching of evolution (2005) Retrieved May 9, 2006 from http://www.asa-cssa-sssa.org/pdf/intdesign_050815.pdf

Baker, P. & Slevin P. (2005, August 3). Bush remarks on "Intelligent design" theory fuels debate. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2006, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/02/AR2005080201686_pf.html

Caporael, L. R. (2001). Evolutionary psychology: Toward a unifying theory and a hybrid science. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 52, 607-628.

Crawford, C. B. (1989). The theory of evolution: Of what value to psychology? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 103(1), 4-22.

Discovery Institute (n.d.) A scientific dissent from Darwinism. Retrieved May 4, 2006 from http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987).

Gray, P. (1996). Incorporating evolutionary theory into the teaching of psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 23, 207-214.

Gould, S. (1994). The evolution of life on earth. Scientific American, 271, 85-91.

Lombrozo, T., Shtulman, A., Weisberg, M. (2006). The Intelligent Design controversy: Lessons from psychology and education. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(2), 56-57.

Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (MD Pa. 2005).

McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, 529 F. Supp. 1255 (ED Ark. 1982).

National Association of Biology Teachers (2000). Statement on teaching evolution. Retrieved May 9, 2006 from http://www.nabt.org/sub/position_statements/evolution.asp

National Science Teachers Association. (2003). Position statement on the teaching of evolution. Retrieved May 4, 2006 from http://www.nsta.org/159&psid=10

Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994).

Santorum, R. (2005). Teaching the controversy. Retrieved May 10, 2006.

Webster v. New Lennox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1003 (7th Cir. 1990).

Wells, J. (2000/2001) Survival of the fakest. The American Spectator, Dec 2000/Jan 2001.

Wilson, E. O. (1998). Consilience: The unity of knowledge. New York: Knopf.

Young, M., & Edis, T. (Eds.) (2004). Why intelligent design fails: A scientific critique of the new creationism. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.