Thursday, June 22, 2006

67 national academies of science support evolution

The Interacademy Panel on International Issues has issued a statement in support of the scientific evidence for evolution (PDF), urging the teaching of the facts and evidence. The statement is endorsed by 67 national academies of science and the executive board of the International Council for Science.

The statement says that:
We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

2. Since its formation, the Earth - its geology and its environments - has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which paleontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.
It goes on to give a statement about the nature of science.

For those who would like to see some of the supporting evidence for each of these four statements, I highly recommend the TalkOrigins website. For the fourth statement in particular, I recommend Douglas Theobald's article at the TalkOrigins site, "29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent."

(Hat tip to Pharyngula)

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