From: “Biosciences” [biosciences @mail.medicine.uiowa.edu]
To: [select U of Iowa faculty — ID proponents were bypassed]
The issue of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Intelligent DesignÃ¢â‚¬Â has received a great deal of attention in recent months. Local interest in this issue spawned a recent panel discussion Ã¢â‚¬Å“Intelligent Design: in your classroom?Ã¢â‚¬Â sponsored by the student group, U of I Freethinkers. The substantial attendance and lively discussion at this event indicates a strong interest by the University of Iowa community in this important topic.
You may be aware that 120+ of our colleagues at Iowa State University recently signed a statement denouncing Intelligent Design as having no scientific basis http://www.biology.iastate.edu/STATEMENT.htm. This statement was reported widely (e.g., http://chronicle.com/daily/2005/08/2005082605n.htm) and has spurred many other such statements from across the country. In particular, 100+ faculty at the University of Northern Iowa have released a very similar statement http://faculty.cns.uni.edu/~demastes/UNI_statement.htm in which they join the ISU faculty in rejecting Intelligent Design as science.
In an effort to stand united with our colleagues at the other Iowa Regents Universities on this critical issue, we propose a similar statement from interested faculty at the University of Iowa. This statement derives substantially from those signed by our colleagues at ISU and UNI:
We, the undersigned faculty members at the University of Iowa, join our colleagues from Iowa State University (http://www.biology.iastate.edu/STATEMENT.htm) and the University of Northern Iowa (http://faculty.cns.uni.edu/~demastes/UNI_statement.htm) in rejecting all attempts to represent Intelligent Design as a scientific endeavor.
Advocates of Intelligent Design claim the position of our planet and the complexity of particular life forms and processes are such that they may only be explained by the existence of a creator or designer of the universe.
Such claims, however, are premised on: 1) religious commitment rather than a serious effort to produce a hypothesis that is cogently reasoned and competitive with modern evolutionary biology in scope, explanatory power, and productivity of a rich array of research questions; 2) assumptions about the wishes and desires of the designer that are not independently verifiable and generate almost no predictions; and 3) an abandonment of methodological naturalism.
Methodological naturalism, the view that natural phenomena can be explained without reference to supernatural beings or events is, by far, historically the most successful research strategy of the natural sciences. The goal of science is to form hypotheses to explain the natural world around us. Scientific hypotheses must be falsifiable and tested by the evaluation of evidence obtained through observation and experimentation. The history of science contains many instances where complex natural phenomena were eventually understood only by adherence to methodological naturalism. However, we know of no instance in which a competition between two theories, one naturalistic and the other supernaturalistic, has been in the end won by the latter.
Whether one believes in a creator or not, views regarding a supernatural creator have not been developed by defenders of Intelligent Design in a manner that brings the hypothesis within the scope or abilities of good science. We, therefore, urge all faculty members to uphold the integrity of our university, and convey to students and the general public the importance of methodological naturalism in science and reject efforts to portray Intelligent Design as science.
If you would like to sign the statement, please send the following information to: email@example.com by November 1 .
Your email (for verification only; will not be included in document)
Thank you for your attention to this important matter and please forward this message to other interested colleagues.
John Logsdon, Biology
Mark Blumberg, Psychology
Scott Robinson, Psychology
Tara Smith, Epidemiology
Evan Fales, Philosophy
Jonathan Adrain, Geosciences
Russell Ciochon, Anthropology