Friday, September 02, 2005

Dawkins Wins the Internets

""Intelligent" Design: Get it out of the science classroom and back to the church where it belongs"


At 3:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right, this is an issue which rather interests me as a prospective teacher. In the article, considering the quote ' "Intelligent" Design: Get it out of the science classroom and back to the church where it belongs' they want I.D taken out of the NC completely.

To me, this is such a ridiculous proposal because it is a scientific theory and a religious belief, and so should appear in the teaching of science and R.E. I don't even believe that it should be resigned to one subject category. Cross curriculum teaching is an essential part of the NC and teachers strive to link as much as they are teaching together.

ID in science would provide the opportunity for students to see that scientific knowledge is not static, and understand that people still disagree over such issues. Whereas in R.E, not only will the children already know about it through their science lessons (or vice versa) which is important enough, they will learn that it is one of many religious beliefs.

Anyway, surely they should all be taught considering that we do only have theories. I don't think anyone should confine ID to the Church, as it cannot be decided that, well, actually we're just going to say that Darwin was right, and teach that. That's as bad as teaching creationism as truth. At the moment nothing is taught as 'truth' and students are free to make up their own minds. If evolution was to be accepted then this is forcing children into a belief surely?

You may also be interested to know that a project in York in 2003 where students aged 14-16 took '21st Century Science' exams, instead of the common single/double science exams GCSE pupils currently take; and part of their course did include 'Theories of the Origin of Life'. So it doesn't look like anything will change any time soon, even if these new, revised science exams will replace our beloved 'science' exams.

At 6:42 pm, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

No, I think you've missed the point entirely. Dawkins' case is that Creationism is, quite simply, not a scientific theory.

"If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn't happen. It isn't that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn't any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.


In all cases there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it. Note how unbalanced this is, and how it gives the lie to the apparent reasonableness of "let's teach both sides". One side is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to produce one iota of evidence, but is deemed to have won automatically, the moment the first side encounters a difficulty - the sort of difficulty that all sciences encounter every day, and go to work to solve, with relish." [Emphasis mine]

Whilst I approve of your argument for cross-curricular education, your claim that Creationism "is a scientific theory and a religious belief" is quite plainly wrong. It is merely a religious belief.

Perhaps there is some value in making passing mention of Creationism in the interests of broadening, interlinking, and balancing education. However, it should not be presented as an acceptable alternative theory - at least from a scientific perspective - because it is completely unevidenced, and supported by fallacious logic.

I would have no more time for the discussion of Creationism in my Science class than I would for the assertion that "the Apollo moon landing never ocurred because we have no way of proving that the pictures weren't faked and the moon rocks made on Earth" in my History class.

At 7:52 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But if creationism is merely a religious belief, then you are saying it's wrong because the children will be taught about evolution in science and then in RE that some people believe this to be false. Teaching one truth is imposing what the majority think on children, when after all, evolution is still a theory.

(I could be talking rubbish, and it is with this fear that I try not to comment if I can help it.)

At 8:28 am, Blogger Laura said...

Jumping in because the "just a theory" line is one guaranteed to get me going: a theory, to scientists, does not mean speculation or guessing. Quoting from the American Heritage dictionary, it is A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena. By that token evolution is, yes, a theory, as is gravity or relativity. The work of Newton and Einstein and their successors has not been proven beyond doubt, but so far has, with some adaptions, managed to provide a clear and consistent picture of the universe and physical processes. The same applies to evolutionary theory; attempting to supercede that is merely easier to exploit for political capital.

At 8:31 am, Blogger Laura said...

(I am never usually wake at this time. Apologies in advance for any misspellings or lack of clarity.)

At 11:51 pm, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

"But if creationism is merely a religious belief, then you are saying it's wrong because the children will be taught about evolution in science and then in RE that some people believe this to be false."

Yes, in the same way that they will be taught about the six day creation in Sunday School, and then in Biology that some people believe this to be false. Do you see that your argument here is lopsided?

"Teaching one truth is imposing what the majority think on children"

No, two "truths" are still being taught, but one is being taught in Biology, because it is a scientific theory, and one is being taught in Divinity, because it is a supernatural theory.

Evolution and the Genesis account are not mutually exclusive, if the Creation is accepted to be metaphorical. The Bible does in fact state that a day to God is like a millenium to man. This time scale is still off by several orders of magnitude, but literature is not renowned for prizing scientific accuracy over figurative aesthetics. Many Christians accept this interpretation.

Therefore, I argue that Evolution should be taught in Religious Education classes rather than Creationism in Science classes, because it is supported not only by overwhelming scientific evidence, but also by a plausible and accepted interpretation of the Bible. Since Creationism is supported by another plausible interpretation of Genesis, but not by any scientific evidence, it should be taught only in RE.

At 11:02 pm, Blogger Sable X. Veins said...

Side note:

It has been brought to my attention that Intelligent Design is, in fact, a subtheory within evolution, and not synonymous with Creationism.

ID accepts shared ancestry and evolution trhough mutation and survival of the fittest, but argues that some evolutionary systems are too complex to have mutated randomly, and that evolutionary mutation is guided by a supernatural influence. (Not necessarily God, just someone with the same basic skill set - i.e. the ability to create a fully functioning universe.)


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