Letter to members of congress re: intelligent thought

June 22, 2006 | By | Reply More

On June 16, 2006, the sixteen scientists who contributed essays to Intelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement, wrote a letter to Congress, sending a copy of the book along with the letter.

The scientists asked members of congress to consider the message of the book, which focuses on Intelligent Design (ID).  The authors wrote that “ID is a movement that threatens American science education and with it American economic predominance and credibility.”
The final paragraph of the letter succinctly sets forth the stakes for failing to choose science over ignorance:

As the world grows more complex, and we face scientific challenges such as addressing global warming, developing sustainable energy sources, and preventing the spread of pandemics, it is critical that America remain in the forefront of science.  And the key to our preeminence is education. The study of evolution has practical benefits:  it is the basis for breeding food crops, choosing animal models that can be used to treat human disorders, conserving species and their habitats, predicting which vaccines should be made to prepare for epidemics like avian flu, and manufacturing those vaccines.  Science education that incorporates unscientific issues like ID is a sure path to America’s failure against competing countries. Conversely, given its importance for biology and for science in general, evolution deserves to be properly taught in American classrooms.

The letter, which can be read in its entirety here, was signed by

  • Scott Atran, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan
  • John Brockman, Publisher and Editor, Edge
  • Jerry Coyne, Department of Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago
  • Richard Dawkins, Oxford University Museum
  • Daniel Dennett, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University
  • Marc D. Hauser, Departments of Psychology and Organismal and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Nicholas Humphrey, London School of Economics, London, UK
  • Stuart Kauffman, The Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, The University of Calgary, The Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Seth Lloyd, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Techology
  • Steven Pinker, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
  • Lisa Randall, Department of Physics, Harvard University
  • Scott Sampson, Utah Museum of Natural History and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah
  • Neil Shubin, Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, The University of Chicago, The Field Museum, Chicago
  • Lee Smolin, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Frank Sulloway, Institute for Personality and Social Research, The University of California, Berkeley
  • Leonard Susskind, Department of Physics, Stanford University, and
  • Tim White, Department of Integrative Biology and Human Evolution Research Center, The University of California at Berkeley

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Category: Evolution, Politics, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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