OHIO SCIENCE FACTS
A common ploy of creationists is to state that "evolution is a controversial theory which some scientists present as scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants and humans". In several proposed disclaimers for public school science texts, this thought continues with... "No one was present when life first appeared on earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact. "
What is the Theory of Evolution?
A theory, in common terminology, usually refers to a guess. In science; however, the term theory has a very different meaning. To scientists, a theory is an explanation of a natural phenomenon, as opposed to a fact, which is a confirmed observation. Theories explain facts and, contrary to the impression given by the creationist disclaimers, this means that theories are more important than facts.
An example of a fact related to evolution would be that there is great consistency in the sequence of fossils in the fossil record, with no major branch of the tree of life being out of order (for example, fossils of mammals are never found in the Devonian Period - a time marked by the diversification of bony fishes and the appearance of the first amphibians and insects). Another fact is that living species tend to be found where their fossil ancestors are also found.
We make sense of these and many other confirmed observations, or facts, with the explanation that living things share common ancestors, from which they have diverged. This explanation is the Theory of Evolution, which can also be defined simply as:
The process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.
The change in frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
Is evolution a controversial concept among scientists?
The short answer to this question is a flat - no. A Gallup poll in 1996 showed that over 95% of all scientists (including chemists, physicists, and mathematicians) accepted the modern theory of evolution as the only valid explanation for the nature and diversity of life on Earth. This number rises to essentially 100% among researchers in the Life and Earth Sciences - those scientists who are closest to the evidence for evolution. An October 2002 poll of Ohio scientists by the University of Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve University had essentially the same results. The Theory of Evolution is so well supported by evidence from many diverse areas of study (such as Microbiology and Ecology) and fits so well with all other scientific theories, that it is considered to be the central organizing principle of all the Life Sciences.
Where does the controversy lie?
The Theory of Evolution is only controversial to individuals whose particular religious beliefs are challenged by the evidence of the natural world. Most persons of faith here and abroad do not have a problem with reconciling their beliefs with the idea of biological evolution.
Science Organizations with statements affirming that evolutionary theory is the only scientifically valid explanation of the nature and diversity of life on Earth.
Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada
Alabama Academy Of Science
American Anthropological Association
American Association For The Advancement of Science (1923, 1972, 1982)
American Association For The Advancement of Science (Commission on Science Education)
American Association Of Physical Anthropologists
American Geophysical Union
American Institute Of Biological Sciences
American Astronomical Society
American Society Of Biological Chemists
American Chemical Society
American Geological Institute
American Psychological Association
American Physical Society
American Society Of Parasitologists
Association of College and University Biology Educators
Australian Academy of Science
Authors of Biology Texts
California Academy Of Sciences
Ecological Society of America
Genetics Society of America
Georgia Academy Of Science (1980, 1982)
Geological Society Of America
Geological Society of Australia
History of Science Society
Iowa Academy Of Science (1982)
Statement Of The Position Of The Iowa Academy Of Science On Pseudoscience (1986)
Kentucky Academy Of Science
Kentucky Paleontological Society
Louisiana Academy Of Sciences
National Academy Of Science
National Conference on Teaching Evolution
National Science Teachers Association
North American Benthological Society
North Carolina Academy Of Science
New Orleans Geological Society
New York Academy Of Sciences
Ohio Academy Of Science
Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition
Oklahoma Academy Of Sciences
Sigma Xi, Louisiana State University Chapter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Society For Amateur Scientists
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Society For The Study Of Evolution
Society Of Vertebrate Paleontology (1986, 94)
Southern Anthropological Society
University of North Carolina
Virginia Academy of Science
West Virginia Academy Of Science
Religious Organizations with statements affirming the validity of the Theory of Evolution
American Jewish Congress
American Scientific Affiliation
Center For Theology And The Natural Sciences
Central Conference Of American Rabbis
Episcopal Bishop Of Atlanta, Pastoral Letter
The General Convention Of The Episcopal Roman Catholic Church (1981)
Message from the Pope - 1996
Unitarian Universalist Association (1977, 1982)
United Church Board For Homeland Ministries
United Methodist Church
Lexington Alliance Of Religious Leaders
The Lutheran World Federation
United Presbyterian Church in the USA (2002)