The situation with respect to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is more complicated. I believe that NCSE should also avoid taking a stand in favor of some religions over others, and in favor of religious versus non-religious interpretations of the conflict.
It's worth reminding people of how this issue has played out in the past so I'm posting a brief summary of an incident that took place over ten years ago.
In 1995, the National Association of Biology Teachers issued the following statement.
The diversity of life on earth is the result of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.A number of theologians and theistic evolutionists objected to the inclusion of "unsupervised," "impersonal," and "unpreditable" since this clearly conflicted with their religious beliefs.
In 1997, NABT reviewed their statement in light of these complaints and rejected them, voting to keep the original statement. At that point, Eugenie Scott, the Executive Director of NCSE stepped in and persuaded the teachers to drop "unsupervised" and "impersonal" from the statement.
Why did NCSE support the theologians and theistic evolutionists against the biology teachers? It's because Genie draws a line between materialistic naturalism and philosophical naturalism and she thinks the biology teachers stepped over that line (see National Association of Biology Teachers incident for a description of the event). She believes that science cannot know whether evolution is unsupervised and/or impersonal.
I suppose she would have been comfortable with the following statement ....
The diversity of life on earth is the result of evolution: a natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments. Science is unable to tell whether evolution was unsupervised and impersonal or whether it was supervised by a personal god.That's what she and her allies really want the teachers to say even though they don't insist upon it.
I disagree. I think that scientific evidence points overwhelmingly to a life that was not designed for a purpose. I think there's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that evolution was guided and I don't think we should censor ourselves from saying this.
I think Genie and NCSE are making too big of a distinction between methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. Saying that there is no evidence of purpose and direction is a perfectly good methodological statement and the conclusion that, therefore, evolution is unsupervised and unguided is rational based on what we know about science.
It was wrong of NCSE to pressure the biology teachers to change their statment.