National Academies Press: OpenBook
« Previous: Appendix A
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B." National Academy of Sciences. 1998. Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5787.

Appendix B
Excerpt from "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law"2

Schools may teach about explanations of life on earth, including religious ones (such as "creationism"), in comparative religion or social studies classes. In science class, however, they may present only genuinely scientific critiques of, or evidence for, any explanation of life on earth, but not religious critiques (beliefs unverifiable by scientific methodology). Schools may not refuse to teach evolutionary theory in order to avoid giving offense to religion nor may they circumvent these rules by labeling as science an article of religious faith. Public schools must not teach as scientific fact or theory any religious doctrine, including "creationism," although any genuinely scientific evidence for or against any explanation of life may be taught. Just as they may neither advance nor inhibit any religious doctrine, teachers should not ridicule, for example, a student's religious explanation for life on earth.



Excerpt from the brochure, "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law." April 1995. Full copy available by contacting Religion in the Public Schools, 15 East 84th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10028 or by the World Wide Web at Drafting Committee: American Jewish Congress, Chair; American Civil Liberties Union; American Jewish Committee; American Muslim Council; Anti-Defamation League; Baptist Joint Committee; Christian Legal Society; General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists; National Association of Evangelicals; National Council of Churches; People for the American Way; Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Endorsing Organizations: American Ethical Union; American Humanist Association; Americans for Religious Liberty; Americans United for Separation of Church and State; B'nai B'rith International; Christian Science Church; Church of the Brethren, Washington Office; Church of Scientology International; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Office of Governmental Affairs; Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Guru Gobind Singh Foundation; Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America; Interfaith Alliance; Interfaith Impact for Justice and Peace; National Council of Jewish Women; National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC); National Ministries, American Baptist Churches, USA; National Sikh Center; North American Council for Muslim Women; Presbyterian Church (USA); Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; United Church of Christ, Office for Church in Society.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B." National Academy of Sciences. 1998. Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5787.
Page 123
Next: Appendix C »
Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science Get This Book
 Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
Buy Paperback | $19.95 Buy Ebook | $15.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

Today many school students are shielded from one of the most important concepts in modern science: evolution. In engaging and conversational style, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science provides a well-structured framework for understanding and teaching evolution.

Written for teachers, parents, and community officials as well as scientists and educators, this book describes how evolution reveals both the great diversity and similarity among the Earth's organisms; it explores how scientists approach the question of evolution; and it illustrates the nature of science as a way of knowing about the natural world. In addition, the book provides answers to frequently asked questions to help readers understand many of the issues and misconceptions about evolution.

The book includes sample activities for teaching about evolution and the nature of science. For example, the book includes activities that investigate fossil footprints and population growth that teachers of science can use to introduce principles of evolution. Background information, materials, and step-by-step presentations are provided for each activity. In addition, this volume:

  • Presents the evidence for evolution, including how evolution can be observed today.
  • Explains the nature of science through a variety of examples.
  • Describes how science differs from other human endeavors and why evolution is one of the best avenues for helping students understand this distinction.
  • Answers frequently asked questions about evolution.

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science builds on the 1996 National Science Education Standards released by the National Research Council—and offers detailed guidance on how to evaluate and choose instructional materials that support the standards.

Comprehensive and practical, this book brings one of today's educational challenges into focus in a balanced and reasoned discussion. It will be of special interest to teachers of science, school administrators, and interested members of the community.


  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook,'s online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!