The Science League of America
The Science League of AmericaWhile we most deeply regret the necessity for such a society, we take pleasure in announcing the formation of The Science League of America, which has been forced into existence by the attacks upon science of those who call themselves theologians.
The most casual observer has seen notices of what has been going on in various legislatures throughout the country. Laws prohibiting the teaching of evolution in state institutions have been introduced widely throughout the country, and in certain states have been passed and have received approval of the governor. The general adoption of such laws would go far toward plunging us backward into the abyss of the Dark Ages.
The Science League of America announces itself as a nonsectarian and nonpolitical association which has been formed to protect the rich fruits of scientific freedom, to combat attacks of so-called fundamentalists who insist on accepting the Bible as an authentic text-book on biology, and who would take away from thousands of earnest and progressive students the right to investigate the phenomena of nature and announce their discoveries.
A similar battle was fought when Darwin published his books on evolution. Many theologians took the ground that one or the other must be true, and that one had to fall before the other. In this country the situation was saved by that sturdy old Scotch Presbyterian, McCosh, then the President of Princeton University, and today there are many earnest and devout Christians who believe in evolution as taught by science, and who see nothing wrong in such belief contradictory to the Biblical description of creation.
We welcome a certain amount of opposition - it is always healthy. However, the Constitution of the United States declares that "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any public trust under the United States." Since, therefore, those who hold positions in state universities and in state-supported institutions would be prohibited from teaching truths of science if such laws were passed, we cannot but feel that the Constitution of the United States would be violated in spirit if not in fact. If the misguided and ignorant should succeed in obtaining their way, America could no longer be considered a land of religious freedom. There would be good reason to fear that persecution of those whose beliefs were not in accord with those of the fundamentalists would follow.
The JOURNAL makes no attempt to teach religion nor to influence the beliefs of anyone in religious matters. It is interested in the progress of science and is read almost entirely by those who believe in progress and in the wonderful revelations which science has brought to us. Our protest is against the control of science by fanatics who consider themselves religious. We have nothing to say against their tenets so long as they let science alone.
The Science League of America had its birth in California, a state which has for many years been the Mecca for every type of cult, religious and otherwise that the twisted mind of man could invent. The scientiic men of California have necessarily come into contact with these cults more directly than most of us. We bespeak the support of this League by all who are interested in scientific freedom.
Application for membership and countibutions whould be sent to Conrad J. Biron, Secretary-Treasurer, Room 618, Liberty Bank Building, 948 Market Street, San Francisco
From Maynard Shipley, The American Journal of Public Health 15, 631-632 (1925)