With a landmark evolution trial underway in Harrisburg, Penn., AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner has written in the nearby York Dispatch that scientists and mainstream religious leaders are largely united in their acceptance of the theory of natural selection.
While some news accounts have described the federal court case as "the Scopes Monkey Trial II," Leshner cautioned that it would be a mistake to view the trial as a Super Bowl pitting science against religion.
In fact, he said, evolution should not be seen as an attack on religion. Many scientists are guided by faith, and thousands of religious leaders in all faiths have expressed opposition to efforts by the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement to inject their views into public school science classrooms.
In the commentary published 5 October, Leshner said religion typically does not distort the work of scientists.
But "the leaders of the intelligent design movement reverse the scientific process," he writes. "They begin with their conclusion and manipulate science to suit their purpose. Their 1999 "Wedge Document" makes the true goal clear: 'Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist world view, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.'"
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