Over 11,000 American Clergy oppose Intelligent Design

Ken at Open Parachute reports on the Clergy Letter Project, an effort to collect signatures from American Clergy who oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism and schools and who ascent to evolutionary biology. Begun in Fall2004, as of the time of this writing the Clergy Letter Project has collected 11,147 signatures. Compare this to the 730 or so scientist signatures collected by the Discovery Institute since 2001 for their Scientific Dissent from Darwinism petition. You read correctly, in half of the time, focusing only on American Clergy, the Clergy Letter Project list of American Clergy for evolution and against ID is over 15 times longer than the DI’s dissent of Darwinism list, which welcomes signatures of scientists from anywhere in the world.

Here is the official statement of the Clergy Letter Project (I have bolded the relevant points):

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.

While I disagree with a number of the points in this statement, I’ll save myself the time and efforts of deconstructing the comment and simply stick with the pertinent point: over 11,000 American Clergy have signed in favour of this statement which views evolution as foundational to science, to reject it is an act of ignorance, to transmit it is to transmit ignorance, and that school boards should be teaching it as a core component of human knowledge.

10 Responses to “Over 11,000 American Clergy oppose Intelligent Design”
  1. the chaplain says:

    This is good news. It’s great to see the less conservative believers speaking out and imposing some accountability on their counterparts.

  2. Mark says:

    Why aren’t these clergy out on the street speaking out against the ID movement? Why are so many states wrestling with ID proponents attacking their school systems and the only voices against ID are coming from organizations in the likes of Freedom From Religion Foundation? I’d love to be wrong… someone please show me data saying these clergy folks are speaking out in active ways!

  3. ozatheist says:

    It’s always good to see the clergy backing science and denouncing ID. It shows that not all of them are completely stupid, and provides reinforcement to the scientific position.
    As wrong as it may seem, some people (ie. religious schools who want to introduce ID) are more likely to listen to the clergy telling them evolution is a fact, than the scientists who proved it!

  4. BEN VALLEJO says:

    A theory that requires political activism, nonscientific secular judicial comfirmation not to mention the help of theologins some of whom belong to what many would call fringe groups of ultra left or even main stream churches is not worth its salt. To insinuate that Christian doctrin has brain washed young kids is just silly at a time when churches are selling off property to pay the bills for the lack of attendance wich has been dropping in the last few decades, and a public school system that has been secularized for generations to the point were using the word Christmas can bring on a law suite, in todays society one can hardly blame religion for evolution being questioned by the youth. We tell our children that Pastuere scientificly proved that living thing only come from other living things and on the next page we tell them that chemicals can make life and when the student says prove it, if the teacher has to no real answer he has to refrain from further dicussion for fear of being sued by the aclu. The letter says it believes in the seperation of science and religion yet these same men and women are conspiring with mostly non christians to arbitrarily create a differrent religious doctrin and dogma, one where the creator is just a fairy tale. There may well be a naturalistic undiscovered explanation for life but Darwinian evolution is getting the tar whipped out of it not by bible thumpers but by its own researchers. No one owns science and no one can speak for science it is divine in its own right and is no respector of democracy or concensess. It looks like Zimmerman and his friends from the academy have got in to the snake oil bussiness.

  5. RB says:

    Ben: Please read from non conservative Christian sources please. I no longer have the interest in going through this issue with people who come here loaded with religious conservative misinformation. There is just so much that is wrong with what you just said…

    But to be clear, evolutionary theory does not require political, judicial and theological activism to justify it. Evolution is as airtight as any other model of reality in science. The politics and public relations stuff is the result of mass misinformation and pseudoscientific posturing of religious groups.

    If I were to start smearing a celebrity, saying horrible things about them. That the celebrity might seek the help of the authorities and a publicist to counter the smear campaign does not confirm that the smear campaign is accurate.

  6. RB says:

    Ben: One of the most highly regarded sources defending the science of evolution against ID/Creationism is http://www.talkorigins.org

    Here is the link to their index of responses to creationist claims (including to the Pasteur law of biogenesis claim):


    I should also point out the irony in your claim that evolution is not worth its salt because it needs political, judicial and theological activism to justify it. What is ironic is that it is Intelligent Design and Creationism that require these things, not evolution. In fact, it’s entirely the other way around. The Intelligent Design and Creationism movements are nothing more than public relations political movements. They’re not scientific at all. They don’t do science. They do campaigning.

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