National Centre for Science Education

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National Centre for Science Education

Postby Scott » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:33 pm

JAF and All,
When creationism has become a legal battle over here, it has often been suggested, in an attempt to mollify them, that it could be taught as part of a comparative religions or philosophy course.  To my knowledge, those pushing to have it taught in science courses have never once availed themselves of this option.  Allow me to hazard a guess as to why this is so.  Such a religion and/or philosophy course would, in the North American school systems at least, be an optional, or elective, course rather than part of the required curricula.  As such, it would not serve the agenda of the creationist movement, which is to subvert the public school system for the purpose of proselytizing.  What they ardently desire and need for this purpose is a class that all students are required to take in order to maximize their hoped-for captive audience.  Hence, the focus on the science curriculum.  This also explains the pseudo-intellectual machinations of the ID movement, which has been shown to be nothing more than the same arguments divested of their overtly religious references.  It is a ludicrously transparent attempt to make the same material more palatable, particularly from a legal standpoint.  If all of this were not enough, such a course would inevitably expose those who took it to the wide variety of religious and philosophical views that people hold and have held over time, which would anathema to those hoping to further their own narrow sectarian aims.  I find this line of argument to be particularly effective with creationists in public forums as it makes them very uncomfortable indeed.

Scott

On 13-Oct-06, at 3:46 PM, jaf wrote:
On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 17:25:32 -0500, you wrote::Stopping the teaching of creationism in UK state schools is not the same as to have only science taught in science lessons in British schools. Can someone clarify the situation please?Yes. I'm not a university professor, just a bloke who cares. Sometimes Imake mistakes.All the same, though what I said may differ from the web page, it isn'tnecessarily wrong.If creationism gets taught in a general RI lesson, so what? To me, it's allmythology, and might as well be taught alongside the Homeric tales, NorseSagas, and Satanism; so long as the children are taught *about* it, and notindoctrinated *in* it. There are those who would have all religion removedfrom schools (and I'm amongst them), but as it is already there, the poorlittle darlings might as well be exposed to the full panoply.But, One stick at a time.And it's too late at night to do this.-- JAFanarchatntlworldfullstopcomKeep Science ScientificBCSE http://bcseweb.org.uk
MA in Archaeology, University College LondonAntiquity of Man: http://www.antiquityofman.com
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Re: National Centre for Science Education

Postby Brian Jordan » Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:54 pm

JimTheBrit wrote:
mikeybrass wrote:The aim of the BCSE is to eradicate this from those science classrooms and to promote the teaching of evolutionary biology.
In the science class, fair enough, but as jaf points out there's the issue of creationism being taught in RI. What's the BCSE's stance on this?


The group is focussed on getting creationism out of science classes. Once you start talking about religious education, people will opt for different interpretations - mostly, probably, about whether children should be taught "religion" or "about religion". I imagine that Michael would advocate an up-to-date version of Christianity, devoid of Biblical literalism. I'd be torn between banning RE and having lessons de-gutting superstition. But despite our superficial disagreements, inside the lab it's not an issue. It ain't science and it's got to go. Outside the lab, we go our separate ways. I think.

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National Centre for Science Education

Postby Jaf » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:06 am

On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 18:54:37 -0500, you wrote:

But despite our superficial disagreements, inside the lab it's not an issue. It ain't science and it's got to go. Outside the lab, we go our separate ways. I think.

Succinctly put.
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Re: National Centre for Science Education

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:29 am

JimTheBrit wrote:
jaf wrote:I think the BCSE should remain focussed on its (original) stated aim, ie, to have only science taught in science lessons in British schools, to keep science scientific.


Homepage: "The British Centre for Science Education (BCSE) is a new international group of individuals formed to act as an umbrella organisation, with the primary purpose of stopping the teaching of Creationism in UK state schools."

Stopping the teaching of creationism in UK state schools is not the same as to have only science taught in science lessons in British schools. Can someone clarify the situation please?


This is a problem that has plagued me from day one. During the summer we discussed it in great depth and there were two conclusions:

1. The BCSE opposes the teaching of creationism and ID in science lessons in state schools,

2. Or, the BCSE opposes the teaching of creationism and ID as science in state schools.

The consensus was in favour of 1.

However, I dissented in favour of 2 on the grounds that fundamentalists would otherwise sneak in in by the back door.

As we have seen with the Christian Institute and the Vardy schools, they have argued in favour of bringing into history, geography, maths, music and English literature.

However, 1. is much easier for us to handle as a single issue organisation.

I guess, though, that there is room for fudge in adopting 2.

My I suggest a compromise. We are, by intent, an umbrella organisation. What is to stop us saying that we adpot 1. for our own campaigns but support other organisations who target 2.

All comments would be highly appreciated.

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Postby George Jelliss » Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:41 am

I would say there are two legitimate classes in which aspects of creationism could legitimately be taught.

1. In religious education, which is about religions and their history. This would be concerned with showing that the myths of Adam and Eve, and creation myths of other cultures, are just that and not to be understood literally.

2. In history of science, which might be taught as part of science lessons. (It was so taught in my day but I'm not sure whether it is now.) This would for instance cover the views of pre-Darwinian biologists like Buffon and Cuvier, or contemporaries of Darwin like Richard Owen. This would show how modern "intelligent design" advocates are simply rehashing old ideas that have long since been shown to be wrong.

There must of course be some control, presumably through appoinmting good heads and other staff, and through the inspection system, to ensure that evangelical teachers are not using other classes to promulgate creationist or indeed any other extraneous ideologies.
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National Centre for Science Education

Postby Dave Oldridge » Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:59 am

On 13 Oct 2006 at 18:33, Scott wrote:

JAF and All,
When creationism has become a legal battle over here, it has
often been suggested, in an attempt to mollify them, that it
could be taught as part of a comparative religions or philosophy
course.  To my knowledge, those pushing to have it taught in
science courses have never once availed themselves of this
option.  Allow me to hazard a guess as to why this is so.  Such
a religion and/or philosophy course would, in the North American
school systems at least, be an optional, or elective, course
rather than part of the required curricula.  As such, it would
not serve the agenda of the creationist movement, which is to
subvert the public school system for the purpose of
proselytizing.  What they ardently desire and need for this
purpose is a class that all students are required to take in
order to maximize their hoped-for captive audience.  Hence, the
focus on the science curriculum.  This also explains the
pseudo-intellectual machinations of the ID movement, which has
been shown to be
nothing more than the same arguments divested of their overtly
religious references.  It is a ludicrously transparent attempt
to make the same material more palatable, particularly from a
legal standpoint.  If all of this were not enough, such a course
would inevitably expose those who took it to the wide variety of
religious and philosophical views that people hold and have held
over time, which would anathema to those hoping to further their
own narrow sectarian aims.  I find this line of argument to be
particularly effective with creationists in public forums as it
makes them very uncomfortable indeed.

Scott

It's an odd thing. In the rare event that I meet an HONEST
creationist, they are usually not creationists for very long.

Sadly, most of them lose their faith entirely over it. Having
been where they were (I was raised in a VERY fundamentalist sect
and walked out of it rather loudly at age 15), I can see why it
happens. It's actually a very common human reaction to false
propaganda. When the lie is turned, the liar's entire set of
claims is rejected, even illogically. We humans are SO prone to
fallacies and our culture, especially in North America,
reinforces it to the nth degree on TV, from the pulpit and just
about everywhere you look.

If you insist on strict logic in most creationist circles, you
get branded "insane!"


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