Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

“Science Friction” in Australia


Science friction: God’s defenders target 3000 schools
By Linda Doherty and Deborah Smith

November 14, 2005


Up to 3000 schools have been targeted in a DVD blitz aimed at challenging Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in favour of an “intelligent designer”.

The right to teach intelligent design in science classes is being tested in US courts and a fiery debate has erupted in Australia that has pitted scientists against advocates for the “alternative theory” to evolution.
Proponents of intelligent design say some forms of life are so complex they can be explained only by the action of an unspecified “intelligent designer”, who some say is God.

A commonly cited example of this complex life is the flagellum, a natural “outboard motor” that propels a bacterium along. The argument is that it could not have been produced by the incremental steps of evolution, because it would not function if it was missing any of its parts.

The Minister for Education, Carmel Tebbutt, said intelligent design “can’t be taught as part of the NSW school science curriculum” because it was not scientific or based on evidence.

More than 100 schools are already teaching intelligent design as science, alongside the mandatory curriculum requirement to study evolution. These schools include Christian community, Seventh Day Adventist, and a small number of Anglican schools.

Many more may follow once the $21.95 DVD Unlocking the Mystery of Life: Intelligent Design is sent free to every school by Campus Crusade for Christ.

The DVD promises to reveal “the unmistakeable hallmarks of design – and the Creator’s skill – within our very cells”.

Campus Crusade for Christ’s national director, Bill Hodgson, said the DVD would be sent to all 3000 public and private schools by the end of the year. “We’re making available to schools a copy of the DVD as a resource,” he said. “There is no prescription on what people do with it.” Schools that refused to “re-examine the basis of evolution” were engaging in “reactionary censorship”.

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Maree O’Halloran, said the unsolicited DVD was a religious marketing exercise and “should be rejected” by schools.

In a landmark court case a public high school in southern Pennsylvania is fighting for the right to teach intelligent design as “an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view”.

Sue Serjeantson, the executive secretary of the Australian Academy of Science, said the teaching of intelligent design in science classes was of grave concern. “It’s creationism by another name.”

Mr Hodgson said it had “nothing to do with creationism”, but there was widespread confusion even in religious circles. However, John Hammond, national director of Adventist Schools Australia, said: “We’ve always taught it but not necessarily under that title … creationism would have been the term used 20 years ago.”

“I wonder if this is a revolution that is occuring in countries without a Christian heritage.” A quote from a Chinese paleontologist working in the Chengjiang Cambrian fossil bed: "It is strange but in American you can question the government but not Darwin. In China we can question Darwin but not the government." DaveScot
dodgingcars I would never equate such vitriol with you or any of the groups you menioned. Comments like CharlesW's would be humorous if history hadn't shown us their potential for such grievous harm and evil. jmcd
jmcd, Just wanted to make it perfectly clear that Charles W does not speak for me as a Christian, ID supporter, American, or human being. dodgingcars
3000 schools... if they coordinate this properly it could set off quite a ruckus. Concerned parents from both sides will start asking about the DVDs and debates over ID in schools will pop up everywhere. I just hope there's enough well-informed ID supporters there to keep the well-meaning but uninformed Darwinism-supporting parents out there in check. jasonng
Wow!!! Charles W right on man! "atheist scum" "atheists ... destroy our society" Way to tell those bastards how it is. Anyone that doesn't fall back on religion for a source of morals is a cancer in society that needs to be cut out. People deciding what is good for the world without taking what someine tells them to believe for granted,,, maggots. We ought to squish them under our goose stepping heels! jmcd
What is encouraging down here in OZ is that despite the heavily biased spread against ID in the paper (that was spread over 3 days) the letters to the editor were evenly split for and against. Also many of those for showed they had a reasonable working understanding of what ID proposes. petro
Really? Stripping atheists of their citizenship? I'd be scared to live in a country that did that, personally. I'm happy to live in a country where people are free to disagree with me. dodgingcars
"Religious marketing exercise" ?? To what end? Does the DVD encourage people give money to an entity or attend a particular church? Seems more likely to me that it's an altruistic enterprise to clear away the bonds of methodological naturalism. Solomon got it right when he said there was nothing new under the sun; the tactics are the same down under as they are up here: 1. Misconstrue ID as religious claptrap. 2. Employ self-righteous chest-beating to drive the point home that evolutionary indocrination is the One True Way. Brian
Muslims countries aren't as interested in ID because they don't need to deal with nearly as much atheist scum evolutionists with their evolving mind tricks. All our liberties are allowing the atheists here to destroy our society. George H.W. Bush was intelligent and thoughtful enough to say that atheists shouldn't really be citizens. Maybe his son will have the intelligence to make a similar point, maybe in his next state of the union adress outlaw evolution. He wouldn't need to say much, simply something like "every evolutionist is now an enemy of the Republic," and then explain why. The muslim countries know how to deal with these people(one of the rare things they do right). Why can't we follow their lead? CharlesW
"I wonder if this is a revolution that is occuring in countries without a Christian heritage." It sounds like right now only the U.S. and Australia are seeing much of the debate. However there are some Muslim websites that are promoting ID -- so it's certainly not just Christians who find it interesting. dodgingcars
I wonder if this is a revolution that is occuring in countries without a Christian heritage. jmcd

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