Tuesday January 23, 2007
Teenagers will be asked to debate intelligent design (ID) in their religious education classes and read texts by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins under new government guidelines.
In a move that is likely to spark controversy, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has for the first time recommended that pupils be taught about atheism and creationism in RE classes.
Atheism is being addressed as a religion. A step in the right direction because that’s exactly what it is – a Godless religion and Darwin is its prophet.
ID, which argues that the creation of the world was so complex that an intelligent – religious – force must have directed it, has become a contentious issue that has divided scientists and Christians in Britain.
Note the gratuitous conflation of intelligent force and religious force. This is the only effective way that ID can be attacked – by making it into a religious strawman. This intellectual dishonesty reflects poorly on those that stoop to it. Dawkins and his ilk are nothing but liars, creeps, and mental lightweights.
Some of the world’s top scientists have expressed outrage over the teaching of creationism and ID in school science classes, which they say is an attempt to smuggle fundamentalist Christianity into science teaching. They argue that it should be made clear to pupils that science backs the theory of evolution.
Now the QCA wants pupils in England to debate the relationship between science and religion in their RE lessons. The teaching of ID and creationism should prove less contentious in this part of the curriculum (although the scientists who argue that ID is a science may be disconcerted), as pupils will investigate and role-play disputes between religion and science, such as Galileo, Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins.
Galileo is the only real scientist in that short list and he was also a devout Roman Catholic. Darwin was just a religiously conflicted naturalist (more of a stamp collector than a scientist) and Dawkins an atheist propagandist that’s never done a lick of science (or any other constructive activity AFAIK) in his entire life.
Pupils will be expected to understand terms such as creation, God as creator of the universe, intelligent design, the Big Bang theory, the sacred story and purposeful design, as well as words that are specific to a religion, such as Bible, Rig Veda, and Qur’an.
The key here is whether or not ID is presented in the strawman form conflated with religion or in the form held by its major proponents as the study of intelligence, complexity, and design in nature.
The new guidelines for key stage 3 (11 to 14-year-olds), published yesterday, say: “This unit focuses on creation and origins of the universe and human life and the relationship between religion and science. It aims to deepen pupils’ awareness of ultimate questions through argument, discussion, debate and reflection and enable them to learn from a variety of ideas of religious traditions and other world views.
“It explores Christianity, Hinduism and Islam and also considers the perspective of those who do not believe there is a god (atheists). It considers beliefs and concepts related to authority, religion and science as well as expressions of spirituality.”