The Guardian: Experts call for creationism in the classroom

Guardian Online

The ‘controversy’ about teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in schools may have an unexpected side-effect, namely that schools will more strongly emphasize the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution while also pointing out how Intelligent Design and other forms of creationism are not scientific and in many cases even anti-scientific and misleading.

Growing numbers of pupils believe in creationism, and science teachers should be prepared to cover the topic in their classes, education experts said today.

Talking about the recent decision by the Council of Europe

The parliamentarians said there was “a real risk of a serious confusion” being introduced into children’s minds between belief and science.

They added: “The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts. Intelligent design, presented in a more subtle way, seeks to portray its approach as scientific, and therein lies the danger.”

They said creationism was affecting “quite a few” CoE member states, including Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK.

showing that the COE is concerned about the misleading aspects of creationism and Intelligent Design. As I have argued, and I am hardly alone here, Intelligent Design uses confusing language to suggest to its followers and adherents conclusions which cannot and do not follow from the foundation of Intelligent Design. In addition, Intelligent Design attempts to use ‘doubt’ to present its own alternative which is nothing but another form of ignorance.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said creationism should not be taught in science lessons.

“Guidance for schools and teachers, published today, makes it clear that creationism and intelligent design are not recognised scientific theories, and therefore must not be taught as fact in science classes,” he said.

“When questions about creationism and intelligent design come up in science lessons, it may provide the opportunity to explain or explore what makes a scientific theory. There is a real difference between teaching something and discussing something.

“It is important that young people learn about the world around them, and are aware of different beliefs. There is scope for discussions around different beliefs in RE, history and citizenship classes.”

Only by exposing the misleading aspects of Intelligent Design can education provide the necessary background that will minimize the damage to science. As a Christian I applaud their efforts and I believe most Christians would accept the simple warning by St Augustine that when Christians are perceived to be teaching scientific nonsense as fact that this kind of foolishness will affect how non-Christians perceive the rest of Christianity.

In fact, YEC and Intelligent Design may be some of the best ‘fund raisers’ for atheism and agnosticism.

As such it is good that

[t]he national science academies of 67 countries warned that scientific evidence about the origins of life was being “concealed, denied, or confused”.

Source BBC

Read the full statement

We, the undersigned Academies of Sciences, have learned that in various parts of the world, within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science. We urge decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature. Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet.

We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:

  1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.

  2. Since its formation, the Earth – its geology and its environments – has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.

  3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen that we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.

  4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which palaeontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.

We also subscribe to the following statement regarding the nature of science in relation to the teaching of evolution and, more generally, of any field of scientific knowledge :

Scientific knowledge derives from a mode of inquiry into the nature of the universe that has been successful and of great consequence. Science focuses on (i) observing the natural world and (ii)