‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007


Saturday, 14 June 2008

Louisiana supports Critical Thinking in Science

Louisiana Encourages 'Critical Thinking' About Evolution in education

The Louisiana House voted in favour of a bill on Wednesday that would promote “critical thinking” in science education on topics that include evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. The Louisiana Senate has already passed a similar bill.

http://chronicle.com/news/article/4668/darwin-defeated-in-the-bayou-louisiana-encourages-critical-thinking-about-evolution?commented=1#c018858

The National Centre for Science Education however is not so pleased.

See for instance: Creationist bill passed by Louisiana House of Representatives

The NCSE comments that it 'opens the door to creationism in public school science classes.' However, the bill states that it wants to 'promote critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.' Whereas Louisiana appears to gaining some success in getting critical thinking of this sort into schools, the Texas school board has had less success.

I have recently commented on an article in the New York Times on the issue of Darwinism and Education Policy.

Darwinism and Education Policy

Darwinism and Education Policy

A New York Times Editorial [1] falls back on empty rhetoric and provides a rather confused argument in seeking to defend Darwinism in the US education system. Stating in the headline for instance that ‘creationism’ is a ‘con,’ and commenting that ‘creationists tend to struggle with reality’ in the first sentence, but then they fail to present a positive case for Darwinism...

The object of the NYT attack would seem to be the Texas State Board of Education that is seeking to maintain teaching standards in the school education system. The contested approach is one that insists that evidence must be presented to schoolchildren in terms of ‘strengths and weaknesses’ in scientific theories such as Darwinism.

In arguing against this the NYT falls back on the tired old dogma that ‘science must be naturalistic’ and ‘Darwinism is proved’ by naturalistic science, which is kind of a circular argument. If naturalism is assumed true at the start of scientific investigation, a naturalistic explanation will be the result, whether naturalism is true or not.

The secular humanists and Darwinists want people to believe that they are the guardians of science standards in education, but they want to restrict education to learning given ‘facts’ and not allow students to think through issues for themselves, such as understanding the 'strengths and weaknesses' of Darwinism. This in effect leads to the ‘dumbing down’ of education that was incidentally a part of the pagan social order proposed in Plato’s Republic. On the other hand Christians believe that all students should be educated to the level of thinking human beings so they may find their potential in Christ, thus enabling them to consider the deeper meaning and purposes of life and not be reduced to the level of productive economic units serving the purpose of a neo-pagan or secular elite. Education is not simply about producing materialistic, economic human units, but about giving human beings the skills and ability to find their full God given humanity.

Sources[1] Editorial, ‘The Cons of Creationism,’ New York Times, 7th June 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/07/opinion/07sat3.html?ref=opinion

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