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Denmark: Slowly developing a conversation about design in nature

Karsten Pultz

From Karsten Pultz in Denmark: Recently a biologist and I held our second full day course for 8th – 9th-grade science teachers from Christian schools in Denmark. We aimed to equip these teachers with scientific facts to deal with the evolution/creation issues they encounter in their line of work.

The theory of evolution is mandatory in all schools, secular as well as Christian, private as well as public. But teachers are allowed, under Danish law, to mention alternative explanations for the origin of life. It is, therefore, appropriate to acquaint science teachers in the Christian schools with the intelligent design hypothesis.

ID is almost completely unknown in Denmark, and it is quite difficult to convey all the essential information with only four hours at one’s disposal. Giving a course in evolution would be a lot easier. As David Berlinski once wrote, it takes an afternoon to fully understand it, and about a week to become an expert. The reason for that is that a theory like unguided evolution is supported by very little evidence and therefore is quickly covered, while a theory like ID, supported by a huge amount of evidence requires a lot more time.

Kristian Østergård, with whom I work is, so far as I know, the only biologist in Denmark who actively and publicly opposes evolution. There are other Darwin-doubting biologists, but they tend to keep a very low profile—some of them have been severely heckled by mainstream media, so they have retreated for the time being. Lack of courageous biologists like Kristian has forced laymen like me, who run no risk of being expelled from academia, to engage in the ID cause and the fight for a return to honesty in what is being taught about the origin of life to our teenagers.

In this course, I emphasized explaining the difference between creationism and ID. Interestingly enough, teachers found the idea of keeping the science strictly separated from Biblical input very appealing. Private Christian schools in Denmark are constantly monitored by the authorities and, at the slightest sign of evolution being left out of biology classes, the hammer will fall. And by the way, no private schools are actually private, they are all partially subsidized by tax money. This makes them slaves to the public educational system because they must apply the same teaching standards as the public schools. So there is not much wiggle room to incorporate ID, despite it being permissible to teach.

The nice thing about ID, I explained, is that it deals only with empirical evidence, which makes it quite resistant to credible accusations of creationism. Shortly after teaching the course, I began to reflect on the need to teach the claims of evolution in order to specifically make the ID-related case against life being the result of blind, undirected processes. You actually have to teach more evolution than you otherwise would because evolution must be understood properly in order to really appreciate and understand the power of ID. It is also excellent to hold up two competing theories against each other; a theory will always be weak if it has no competing theory to be measured against. So there should be every reason to teach lots of evolution, especially when you want to make the case for ID. I will try to convey this idea the next time we give a course.

I gave the advice to these teachers that they just teach the evidence and let the students make up their own minds. I made the point that a fair, balanced presentation of the evidence for and against unguided evolution will necessarily lead to the rejection of the theory.

Kristian Østergård and I have both been involved in the translation and publishing of Douglas Axe’s book Undeniable, and it was very satisfying to be able to provide the teachers who attended the course with copies of this important work. We hope they can find inspiration in Axe’s book for their biology classes; unfortunately we still haven’t got any Danish ID educational material.

Østergård and I are part of a small group of ID proponents lead by professor Peter Øhrstrøm whose goal it is to translate and publish one new book critical of unguided evolution every year. <Undeniable by Douglas Axe is first and The Evolution Revolution by Lee Spetner is probably the next.

Order Exit Evolution online. 198 kr. Karsten Pultz is the author of Exit Evolution

See also: Something Is Rotten In The State Of Denmark


Denmark: Perhaps Not So Rotten After All

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This is interesting. The reference to the “closet” ID-friendly biologists in Denmark reminded me that apparently over half of UD’s anonymous readers are outside the US, at least according to Alexa’s statistics? PaoloV

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