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September 26, 2007

Scientists, theologians agree: Intelligent Design is dishonest bollocks

by Feòrag

United Kingdom: The British government has issued the promised guidelines for teaching creationism in school, and they make it perfectly clear that the only place it has is in the science curriculum is to explain why it's not science.

After explaining the place of science and religious education in the British national curriculum, the guidance document unequivocally states: Creationism and intelligent design are sometimes claimed to be scientific theories. This is not the case as they have no underpinning scientific principles, or explanations, and are not accepted by the science community as a whole. Creationism and intelligent design therefore do not form part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study.

Apparently with Truth in Science's materials in mind, it recommends, Any resource should be checked carefully before it is used in the classroom. If resources which mention creationism or intelligent design are used, it must be made clear that neither constitutes a scientific theory.

The guidance document explains that although it is inappropriate to teach creationism, it is not necessarily inappropriate to teach about creationism as an ideological movement and philosophy.

It says: Any questions about creationism and intelligent design which arise in science lessons, for example as a result of media coverage, could provide the opportunity to explain or explore why they are not considered to be scientific theories and, in the right context, why evolution is considered to be a scientific theory. ... Science teachers can respond positively and educationally to questions and comments about creationism or intelligent design by questioning, using prompts such as 'What makes a theory scientific?', and by promoting knowledge and understanding of the scientific consensus around the theories of evolution and the Big Bang.

The guidance suggests that the proper place for religious ideas about the origins of life is in the Religious Education curriculum, but some Christians disagree—they think it's a load of bollocks in theological terms too:

[Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think-tank Ekklesia] commented: Creationism and Intelligent Design are not legitimate scientific theories. They are constructs based on discredited ideas about biblical texts, a misunderstanding of the idea of creation (which is an understanding of the world process as gift, not a theory of origins in competition with evolution) and a god-of-the-gaps approach rejected by serious theologians....

Pupils seeking to acquire an understanding of religious and other life stances need to understand how and why fundamentalist world views emerge, said Barrow. But they also need to know why they are rejected by mainstream theologians and scientists. Likewise, as the government rightly says, creationism and ID have no place in school science classrooms.

Government issues guidelines to teachers on creationism and IDEkklesia, 26th September 2007; Creationism teaching guidance—Teachernet.

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Posted in Church and State and Science Fiction at 14:28. Last modified on September 26 2007 at 14:40.
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1: Posted by: Thomas | September 26, 2007 10:05 PM

Being a Pagan in the US, this debate is both funny and terrifying, especially considering that no body in the US is both enlightened and powerful enough to issue such a decree.

My question has always been, how misdirected must one's faith be to fly in the face of something so obvious. I've never had a crisis of faith resulting from a scientific insight and I imagine I never will. As a rule, Pagan beliefs and science don't address the same questions and thus never intersect antagonistically.

The fact that there are serious adults arguing for the teaching of creationism in schools and what that says about the people who hold those religious beliefs really scares me.

2: Posted by: James | September 28, 2007 8:40 PM

If young-earth creationism or intelligent design were treated in science classes by teachers genuinely committed to analysing them using the scientific method, perhaps then these ideologies' claims to be doing science would finally be undermined.

Many people filter out all the scientific evidence because of things they have been taught in a religious context. Perhaps the only way to get people to understand the science is to first address the religious issues and presuppositions that are hindering them from accepting the overwhelming scientific evidence and arguments.

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