University of Idaho affirms evolution


In a statement issued on October 4, 2005, the president of the University of Idaho, Timothy P. White, articulated the University's position on evolution. "As an academic scientific community and a research extensive land-grant institution," he wrote, "we affirm scientific principles that are testable and anchored in evidence." Hence only evolution, and not supposed "alternatives" to it, are taught in the university's science classes, he explained. White noted that such views might be appropriately discussed in "religion, sociology, philosophy, political science, or similar courses," and that the university respects the right of individuals to hold such views, but emphasized that they are inappropriate for the science classrooms.

President White's statement appeared at a time when the University of Idaho must be taking a special interest in the issue. Scott Minnich, a professor in the university's Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry and a Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, scheduled to testify for the defense in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the first legal challenge to teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools. Moreover, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott is to speak at the university on October 12, 2005, in the Randall Seminar Series, on "Why scientists reject intelligent design."

October 4, 2005

Letter to the University of Idaho Faculty, Staff and Students:

Because of recent national media attention to the issue, I write to articulate the University of Idaho's position with respect to evolution: This is the only curriculum that is appropriate to be taught in our bio-physical sciences. As an academic scientific community and a research extensive land-grant institution, we affirm scientific principles that are testable and anchored in evidence.

At the University of Idaho, teaching of views that differ from evolution may occur in faculty-approved curricula in religion, sociology, philosophy, political science or similar courses. However, teaching of such views is inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula.

The University respects the rights of individuals to their personal religious and philosophical beliefs, including those persons who may hold and advocate a faith-based view that differs from evolution.

The University of Idaho's position is consistent with views articulated by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and more than 60 other scientific and educational societies.

Timothy P. White, Ph.D.
President, University of Idaho