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“Unlocking the Mystery of Life” 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.”

Bill: "From there I segue into SETI, etc." I noticed that during the Boston U. debate, Scott chided you for "screwing up" the SETI analogy. I suggest that you start appealing to actual SETI methods as they are really used and show how those scientists use CSI concepts to differentiate random noise from designed radio signals. Also, since ID opponents love to point out that examples of CSI used so far have confirmable terrestrial connections, perhaps you could appeal to something that doesn't. Check this out: http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2005/Boxley/boxley2005a.html Was it designed by an intelligent agent or not? Their responses should be interesting. David crandaddy
jboze "the critics would claim that the IDers aren't interested in science but rather in publicity and propaganda" I agree but at least it won't be left in their hands to define what ID is and isn't. Don't forget we have one thing on our side a majority of the public which are sympathetic to ID in some form or another. So let the critics rave on! Their rants will only look more and more purile in the face of what ID theorists are actually proposing. petro
petro- i dont think it would make any difference. the critics would claim that the IDers arent interested in science, but rather in publicity and propaganda. problem is- these critics are the same people who keep ID papers and their authors and supporters out of their peer reviewed publications. i mean, these critics ARE the peers in question. then these same critics complain that ID papers and authors arent putting stuff into peer reviewed publications. well, gosh, i wonder why?! you refuse to allow them, and actually write rules that ban any papers discussing ID- then you complain that no papers exist that dicuss ID! the majority rule will continue to stifle debate. i mean, we have people who want to ban the mere mention of the phrase intelligent design from students in high school. they want rules in universities banning any mention of it as well...even when ID classes pop up in the humanities, they try to take them down! this is close minded ignorance at its purest. put your fingers in your ears and start screaming so you cant hear anything...then maybe the critics will go away. but they wont. the american public, especially high school kids, and even college kids are being indoctrinated. a democracy doesnt allow thought to be banned. what other thoughts are banned from colleges? do the elites think college kids arent smart enough to hear an idea and figure out the facts for themselves? most americans support outright creationism...they pay for the public universities. they spend the obscene amts to send their kids to these schools...then theyre told that their kids are banned from even bringing up certain ideas. this whole debacle is an embarassment in the sense that these are the actions that would be taken in communist china or the former soviet union. im surprised theyre not actually out in college campuses burning ID books and burning dembski, behe, and others in effigy! the lies and distortions are tiresome, but we need to get to young people to teach them to have open minds. stop the courts from distorting the constitution- allow parents who pay for the school to decide what is allowed and allow them to demand an end to 'thought banning' which is taking place all over the nation. if NDE is so strong, why the fight against even mere criticism of it in schools? when someone has a position they know is rock solid, they freely allow debate...if only to crush the critics and show that their theory can withstand all these criticisms. in this case, the opposite is happening- what does that tell you?? jboze3131
What about a couple of well timed media releases - half page spreads in papers. This would go a long way in clearing up the confusion for your average Joe, and neatly expose the misinformation that's continually trotted out by the so called experts? As jboze said these arguments are getting old, so isn't it time to show that the emperor has no clothes? petro
The first sentence out of my mouth these days when talking to media is "ID is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence." From there I segue into SETI, etc. and from there I'm able to ask, "So what's the problem with considering ID in biology?" William Dembski
jboze3131 said: "the media distortion, the distortion among many other scientists, and the propaganda in academia is getting very very very very very very very very old" Its going to continue though until the ID side gets a whole lot smarter in presenting its case! Explaining what ID is in a simple sharp sentence might be a start. These papers trot out the same old line - ID advocates say say 'life is so complex it must have been designed'. In the same paper today another critic says ID is about rejecting secondary causes. All these critics then they get out there bats and belt away at the straw man. When is ID going to better define itself so its will be understood as a genuine scientific challenge to NDE? Until they do don't be surprised if the media and anti ID scientists keep kicking goals where there is no goalie to stop them. petro
If you cant beat em, call em a quack! vpr
"in Australia that has pitted scientists against advocates for the “alternative theory” to evolution." yeah, because ID theorists arent really scientists! "dey jus' dumb foo's" the media distortion, the distortion among many other scientists, and the propaganda in academia is getting very very very very very very old. jboze3131

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