Intelligent Design

Evolution and intelligent design in Hong Kong

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Nature 458, 571 (2 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/458571b; Published online 1 April 2009

Jerome H. L. Hui1

  1. Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Michael Smith Building, Manchester M13 9PT, UK

Your News story ‘Hong Kong evolution curriculum row’ (Nature 457, 1067; 2009) reports a call by faculty members at Hong Kong University for a sentence to be removed from new guidelines for secondary-school biology education. At present, these state: “In addition to Darwin’s theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge”.

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8 Replies to “Evolution and intelligent design in Hong Kong

  1. 1
    Ludwig says:

    What a strange guideline. Wouldn’t a large part of the “explanations for evolution and the origins of life” in a modern biology course be “in addition to Darwin’s theory” already?

    Regarding “explanations for evolution,” Darwin proposed descent with variation and natural selection, but he didn’t know anything about genetics or even cells.

    Regarding “explanations for . . . the origins of life,” it’s my understanding that Darwin wrote very little on the subject, certainly not enough to base a curriculum on it.

  2. 2
    Green says:

    I remember Stephen Meyer saying that a palaeontologist he once knew in China said something like, ‘In your country you can question the government but you can’t question Darwin. In my country you can question Darwin, but you can’t question the government.’

    Looks like even this is beginning to change.

  3. 3
    tragic mishap says:

    Interesting argument going on in the comments here:

    Also, I’ve been to China. I happened to meet a woman involved in education administration there. Obviously to get anywhere in China you must be a member of the Party. But she asked me why I was interested in biochemistry and I told her because of evolution, and that I didn’t believe it. She asked me, “Where did God come from?”
    I replied, “Where did matter come from?”

    She got up immediately without answering and went to the other side of the room and began a conversation with someone else.

  4. 4
    kendalf says:

    Green, your comment reminded me of a quote in an article by Fred Heeren on Haikouella fossils:

    “Evolution is facing an extremely harsh challenge,” declared the Communist Party’s Guang Ming Daily last December in describing the fossils in southern China. “In the beginning, Darwinian evolution was a scientific theory …. In fact, evolution eventually changed into a religion.”

  5. 5
    nycjeff says:

    Any chance there’s a time-sensitive message at the bottom of that nature article?

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    @4 kendalf,

    Thanks for the link to a very interesting article. This may sound like Maoist propaganda but Eastern societies have everything to gain from challenging the hegemony and imperialism of Western science. Evolution and physics, in particular, are ripe for sustained and ultimately sucessful attacks from a rapidly awakening and assertive China.

  7. 7
    mentok says:

    Maybe they should look at this in their own backyard — Mandarin Ducky — and try to explain to their students how mutations can see well enough to create color coordinated masterpieces.

  8. 8
    anonym says:

    It’s a touchy subject, but how certain is it that the really spectacular recent Chengjiang discoveries like Haikouella are completely genuine?

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