The AHA considers the integrity of scientific knowledge to be essential to a humanist society. For that reason, we insist that scientific studies that have been peer-reviewed and reproduced in accordance with the highest standards be the sole basis for public policy and education. Religious or sectarian doctrine is irrelevant and immaterial to discerning the best policy.
Recently, the AHA has forcefully argued these principles in opposition to attempts to revive creationism, “intelligent design” theories, and other religious teachings in schools, public organizations, and policymaking. The AHA has fought to allow research on treatments for debilitating diseases using embryonic stem cells and against the bar on federal funding based on the assumption that the small cluster of cells has the potential to be a person. Abstinence-only sex education in schools has been consistently unsuccessful in reducing unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, whereas teaching responsible sex practices such as condom use have resulted in a reduction in rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs. Superstition and unwavering belief in the unverifiable should never be an excuse for promoting broad religious beliefs in the public sphere in a pluralistic and secular society.