It’s not often that an organization as prestigious as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) bothers to issue a public statement regarding something as trivial as the release of a mere movie. Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. They are the publishers of Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.
You’re stunned, right? AAAS issued a statement about a movie? Well, yes, but Ben Stein’s Expelled is no ordinary movie. Here is their Statement Regarding the Importance of the Integrity of Science as Depicted in Film. Excerpts:
For more than a decade, the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has been working to build a constructive bridge between scientific and religious communities through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion and other programs. There also have been many efforts by religious leaders to accomplish the same goal. For example, more than 11,000 clergy have signed an open letter supporting the view that faith and science should be seen as complementary, not competing.
That would be this: The Clergy Letter Project. Continuing with the Statement:
We were therefore especially disappointed to learn that the producers of an intelligent design propaganda movie called “Expelled” are inappropriately pitting science against religion. This production badly misrepresents the scientific community as intolerant of dissent, when, in fact, respectful disagreement and questioning based on physical evidence represent the core of the scientific process.
Skipping to the final paragraph:
Proponents of the intelligent design movement believe that an intelligent designer, rather than evolution, is responsible for key developments in the emergence of life. Repeated attempts to wedge this religious viewpoint into science classrooms — which is the underlying goal of this movie as well as legislation now pending in several states — have been divisive and damaging. We hope lawmakers will follow the course of Judge John Jones III, who ruled in the Dover, Pa. case that intelligent design meets none of the tests of a scientific theory and is simply an updated version of century-old creationist arguments. At a time when the United States faces serious economic challenges, we cannot risk derailing efforts to provide the best possible science education for the next generation of problem solvers. Our children deserve no less.
The use of the word “wedge” refers to the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Strategy. The Dover decision can be read here: Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al.