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Teaching Evolution a Topic of Concern at Conference

Teaching Evolution a Topic of Concern at Conference

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Greg Neft/Ed Yeates ReportingThousands of science teachers are gathering in Salt Lake for the National Science Teacher Association Conference. Along with them is a concern that what they teach is taking a back seat to politics.

Here at the Salt Palace, Jerry Wheeler, the Executive Director of the National Science Teachers'Association, says kids are being shortchanged if they're not taught evolution.

"It is not fair to students," says Wheeler, who is also a science teacher. "Without evolution biology is not interconnected."

As for intelligent design and its implications, Association President Linda Froshire, an 8th grade science teacher, says that doesn't belong in science class.

"It's a belief. It's not science. And since it's a belief, then probably the role of the family is a better role," says Froshire.

She says intelligent design has no scientific data to back it up.

The position statement that was strongly reinforced today before the National Science Teachers Association meeting in Salt Lake was: Evolution cannot be separated from the teaching of biology.

In fact, the National Center for Science Education says the United States seems to be the only developed country that's politicizing whether it should or shouldn't be taught in schools.

Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education: "The teaching of standard science. That's what you do at the K-12 level. You teach the consensus view of science, and that's that evolution happened."

The NCSE, and the National Science Teachers Association are campaigning hard, asking school administrators to support this position.

Dr. Eugenie Scott says many teachers feel intimidated. They don't like to deal with controversy, and if administrators don't support them, evolution is not going to be taught.

Dr. Eugenie Scott: "The biggest problem, I think, is that many students come into the science classroom believing they have to choose between their religious view and evolution, and given that choice, evolution obviously is going to be rejected."

will happen if that part of the curriculum is discarded? -- Predictions from the coalition of science teachers coming up on Eyewitness News at 6:30.

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