Scientists have begun a major counteroffensive against the teaching of the biblical account of creation in public schools, marked by the passage yesterday of an anti-creationist resolution by the executive board of the largest general science organization in the United States, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In addition, the first grass-roots organization of scientists, teachers, and parents dedicated to opposing the teaching of creationism held its first meeting at the AAAS session last night, bringing together 42 state "committees of correspondence," as the local anti-creationist organizations are called.
The AAAS resolution declares that "creation science has no scientific validity" and is a "real and present threat to the integrity of education and the teaching of science." The AAAS represents 136,000 scientists in America and 285 scientific organizations.
Stanley Weinberg, of the Iowa Academy of Science, said that scientists for 50 years have not actively fought back against the creationists who have tried to replace the teaching of evolution in the public schools with the biblical version of genesis. But now they are.
"The major reason for the success of the creationists is the inertia in the scientific community," Weinberg told about 200 people packed into a conference room at the AAAS meeting yesterday.
But there is now a sudden rush of action by scientists, he said, "as indicated by the mushrooming committees of correspondence. The first committee was formed in October of 1980, and there are committees in 42 states now, and probably will be 45 by the end of next week."
He said that while creationists have succeeded in getting two state legislatures to pass laws mandating the teaching of creationism wherever evolution is taught, and that scientists have prevented some similar bills from being passed, "That's not where the real battle is. The real battle is for public opinion, and in the local communities and schools."
He said the scientists, teachers and parents who are "pro-evolution" are now beginning to use the same tactics creationists have used to successfully put creationism in school curricula around the country.
They are the tactics of local politics which have not changed, he said, from doorbell-pushing to going to TV, radio, and newspapers.