Jump to content
Science Forums

Is The Teaching Of Intelligent Design Legal In England?


Recommended Posts

My son attends a catholic school in England, he knows his father is atheist and I make it my business to offer an alternative viewpoint to his religious education. He recently informed me that his teacher had introduced the class to the argument for intelligent design, I found this fairly disturbing. Is this even legal never mind ethical? Anyone have a similar experience?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My son attends a catholic school in England, he knows his father is atheist and I make it my business to offer an alternative viewpoint to his religious education. He recently informed me that his teacher had introduced the class to the argument for intelligent design, I found this fairly disturbing. Is this even legal never mind ethical? Anyone have a similar experience?

 

 

If I were you I would look into it very closely with local authorities, teaching children a fairy tale as a reasonable representation of reality is not ethical and if it is legal then you have work to do...

 

In the US this has been hashed out in the courts, it is illegal here to teach ID as science...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, yes, it is illegal here too to teach id "as science", the problem I have is that it is the religious education teacher instructing the pupils on this not a science teacher. It is at best a slippery method to usurp the law, I think you're correct, I have some work ahead of me, any ideas or advice would be welcome.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MacPhee

teaching children a fairy tale as a reasonable representation of reality is not ethical

 

But if you take that approach, shouldn't you stop Quantum Theory being taught in schools, on the the grounds that it's not a reasonable representation of reality?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My son attends a catholic school in England, he knows his father is atheist and I make it my business to offer an alternative viewpoint to his religious education. He recently informed me that his teacher had introduced the class to the argument for intelligent design, I found this fairly disturbing. Is this even legal never mind ethical? Anyone have a similar experience?

I live in the US, so know much less about English than US law, but from this wikipedia article section, gather that mentioning ID is legal and officially sanctioned in the UK, provided that it is part of a religion or other non-science curriculum, not a science one.

 

US and UK law appear to me to differ significantly in their approach to state-provided religious education. Per the above wikipedia article, “In the United Kingdom, public education includes Religious Education as a compulsory subject”, while in the US, our Supreme Court has interpreted our Constitution’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...” language as prohibiting the teaching of religion in our public schools, other than its cultural and historical impact.

 

Our two countries school systems have in common that have been the focus of efforts to promote ID by a US-based anti-science organization, The Discovery Institute, and both have successfully opposed these efforts. In the US, a key court decision preventing DI materials from being presented as credible science education material was 2004’s Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. I know of no similarly highly publicized administrative or court decision in the UK, but this Nov 2006 Guardian article states:

“The [uK] government has made it clear the Truth in Science materials [published by the DI] should not be used in science lessons”

A personal note: as an atheist parent, I felt some alarm when my kids voiced interest in Intelligent Design. As with everything else, I tried to keep calm and reasonable, and discuss it to the best of my ability with them, pointing out that while the core concept of ID – that physical reality may be subtly influenced by an intelligent agent – is intriguing, claims of scientific (and some of mathematical) evidence that this is actually occurring are bogus, and being made dishonestly by people intent on steer people away from reliance on science and reason and toward religion. The clearest evidence of this is “the Wedge Document”, in which the DI outlines its goals as:

“To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

I think all thoughtful people, especially children, should explore the core ideas of Intelligent Design, while being mindful that many of the people seeking to establish it as accepted science are doing so in an effort to discredit accepted science. In short, have an open mind, but don’t be a sucker.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

There is nothing wrong with discussing ID in a biology class as an alternative view of origin of life that is completely outside the scientific method. By definition, ID as an explanation for origin of live only comes into play when known laws of nature cannot explain. ID is a non-scientific explanation for questions on origin of life and I think it is critical that biology teachers make this fact crystal clear in their classrooms. That being said, any biology teacher than treats ID as a scientific explanation should be removed from the classroom.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Well it could be argued that Man is having a go at Intelligent Design now, by interfering in genetics but I'm not sure all the designs are 'intelligent.' B)

 

GM crops for instance and why do you need glowing sheep? :rolleyes:

 

It all makes me wonder as to what is wise and safe (Because we can, does that mean we should 'play God?').

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...