Intelligent Design from CASE

So, GCSE science students are to debate ‘intelligent design’ vs. evolution, eh?

Bring it on.

For many years CASE has promoted debate and discussion of science controversies in the classroom.  Our level one module Earth Story, taught by my trusty colleague Martin Griffiths, he of the 8", features a student forum on the question of evolutionism vs. creationism.  And around 4 or 5 years ago Martin and I visited the London HQ of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, QCA, the body responsible for designing GCSE curricula, providing their Principal Advisor for Science, Rebecca Edwards, with examples of our CASE modules.

Now, it seems, the QCA have followed our lead.

Creationist theories are to be debated in GCSE science lessons in mainstream secondary schools in England in a new syllabus for biology produced by the OCR exam board, due out in September.  But it is the QCA that are pulling the strings.  According to the BBC, the QCA say discussions of ‘intelligent design’ or ‘creationism’ should take place in science classes.

Of course, you’re going to get some stuffed shirt types baying blue murder over actually discussing something interesting and topically relevant in a science class.  Step up James Williams, science course leader at Sussex University’s Education department.  James, it seems, believes that debating lively issues such as ID "could lead to a false verification of their status as being equal to scientific theories."

Not at all, mate.  It is a fine opportunity to provide students with all the reasons why the theory of evolution is so much more robust than ID.  Evolution, like science in general, is our best current interpretation of the natural world.

And evolution is falsifiable.  Falsifiability is an important concept in the philosophy of science that amounts to the principle that a proposition or theory cannot be considered scientific if it does not admit the possibility of being shown false.  As in all scientific inquiry, any theory that is not falsifiable is unscientific.

ID R.I.P.



3 comments


    Jonathan Bishop

    March 10, 2006

    Professor Brake; I may not be a supporter of intelligent design, but
    I beleive as a skeptical scientist that all that those who try to prove
    the origins of life will be able to prove is intelligent design. If
    someone discovered a way of creating life similarly to how people
    who believe in the theory of evolution beleive life was created, all
    they could prove was an intelligent being (in this case the scientist)
    can create life. I’d be interested to hear what you think on this. Do
    Darwinists claim to predict the past like psychics claim to predict
    the future?

    Donna

    March 10, 2006

    To encourage debate early in education is essential in developing balanced and informed views. I remember this debate rearing it’s head in my 5th year biology class and one boy storming out and missing the evolution module because he was ‘forbidden to listen’ or even entertain the possibility of evolution by his parents as a result of their faith. Heated debate and much awkwardness ensued until we eventually agreed to disagree and in our 15yr old wisdom decided that it had no real bearing on our day to day lives any way! This outcome aside, the debate over whether my friend should be allowed to take the class or not and whether there was any debate at all, has remained with me and as such so has the question of ID v Evol. and how a given attitude to either can cause a marked ripple effect.
    I suppose my only real issue with the inclusion of the ID/ Evoln. debate in the curriculum is that it will be confined to science classes. Surely the question should be dealt with in a multidisciplinary format in order to serve any real purpose? After all, a science class may be percieved as having a predisposition to evolution and as such negate the benefit of the exercise.

    meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    March 10, 2006

    aww! monkey! its so cute, it’s just adorable. AWWWW!

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