My regular Google alert popped this page at the Crossrhythms website into my consciousness: Creationism In Schools Isn’t Science – Part 1: Rebecca Duffett reports on the campaign. According to her byline, Rebecca Duffett is a student of broadcast journalism at Staffordshire University. Anyway, the article seeks to take a look at the recently launched campaign against teaching creationism as science in schools (CrISIS). Fairly enough, she covers the bases evenly enough, with quotes from all sides – albeit uncritically presented.
As usual in these articles, Alastair Noble, Director of the Glasgow-based Centre for Intelligent Design (C4ID), is characterised as a ‘scientist’, though it’s several decades since he practiced research science. The lead up to the quotation from Noble reads as follows:
Some scientists [my emphasis] claim that the Intelligent Design theory explains creation. Alistair Noble is from the UK Centre for Intelligent Design,
If you look at the BCSE’s notes on Alastair Noble, it’s actually clear that to characterise Noble as a scientist in this context is a little generous, as most of his activities in recent years have had a religious focus. And the quotation rehashes a lot of the misinformation that C4ID peddle). The C4ID website has a few pdf documents for download, and you can read my analysis of them on this blog (Intelligent Design). The principal reason why Intelligent Design is not science but a rebranding of creationism was hashed out in court in the USA (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District), where there is a constitutional separation of religion from the state.
From my perspective, it’s clear that the appearance of design does not equal a demonstration of design. Furthermore, one notes that Intelligent Design proponents fail to elaborate on who or what their ‘Designer’ was or is. And ID is intellectual cowardice – essentially it says “I can’t understand how this complex thing arose, so a Designer/God/Deity must have designed it”.
The British Society for Science Education wants to see Intelligent Design eradicated from the classroom and deems it a strand of the Creationists Movement.
From my perspective, it’s important to note that the BCSE is religiously neutral (and indeed includes members who are church members) and that the CrISIS campaign (to which Rebecca refers but doesn’t provide links to) is actually aimed at preventing creationism being taught as a reputable scientific theory. In my view, there’s no reason not to teach creationism in all its flavours along with all the other mythical, mystical and religious material in RE classes. Remember: there is no evidence for biblical accuracy in the context of the origins of the world, other than the bible.
A final couple of notes for Rebecca: Web articles really ought to be supported by links to other sites; ‘Terry Moretonson’ is probably Terry Mortenson. Intelligent Design is creationism (just not the same as Young Earth Creationism) – Wikipedia has a useful discussion (Intelligent Design). Perhaps Part 2 will actually look at the claims made by Noble and Mortenson (particularly the dishonest claims by Mortenson about the biological and palaeontological evidence of evolution).