‘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


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Dawkins and a 'national disgrace'

According to a Mori poll in the UK, 29% of science teachers want to allow teaching of creationism in school science classes. Presumably that includes intelligent design, which is usually lumped into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ creationism. Furthermore, 73 percent of science teachers think creationism should be discussed in other lessons. Dawkins calls the fact that 29 percent of science teachers want to allow creationism to be taught in schools to be a ‘national disgrace.’

Richard Dawkins and Steve Jones give their views on creationism teaching poll

Quarter [29%] of science teachers would teach creationism

Firstly, I will leave aside the interesting question of how Dawkins might consider something to be a ‘dis-grace’ when he himself believes ‘grace’ to be a meaningless concept in the first place. But on the question of a ‘national disgrace;’ when a majority of teachers want to respect children’s worldviews in schools it is odd that something can be a ‘national disgrace.’ Or even for a large minority, surely they should have their views respected in a democracy. I would suggest that giving a small clique of secular humanists and atheists ‘carte blanche’ to dictate education policy that disrespects children’s worldview in a multi-faith society is the real national disgrace here. But Dawkins wants to re-educate teachers until they all accept evolution as fact, or if they don’t presumably to remove them from their jobs. It would seem that Dawkins and friends do not have much respect for a free society. AC Grayling has also called for an ongoing ‘war’ against religion in general, mainly on the basis that religion is the cause of war in the first place. I’ll let that one sink in.

Secularists' vital war on religion - AC Grayling

But what Dawkins cannot stand is that the reason that intelligent design is gaining ground is because science itself is advancing, and knowledge about the biological complexity of life is leaking out despite attempts to stifle knowledge by the powers that control science education policy. But if Dawkins is serious about preserving belief in evolution then he needs to stop children finding out about the incredible complexity of the cell. Here are a few tactics he could use to keep the sheep in check and maintain the Darwin dogma.

1. Dumb down biological science and hide knowledge about the degree of complexity of the cell until children are thoroughly indoctrinated into evolution.
2. Publish textbooks with out-of-date research or use already falsified evidence - they will be too young to know.
3. Use emotional, polemical and rhetorical arguments against intelligent design proponents and therefore use fear and peer pressure to stop children asking awkward questions, or investigating the evidence outside of the narrow curriculum and risk switching sides.
4. Misrepresent the arguments of intelligent design proponents, and use logical fallacies in criticisms of intelligent design. Furthermore, do not give children the skills necessary to recognise logically fallacious arguments.
5. Bamboozle and confuse children with fallacious arguments so that they give up science altogether – and the Darwin myth is preserved in them for life.

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