Monday, June 26, 2006

Teaching Evolution

This article, at the referenced URL, is the basis for the identified comments that follow.

'Scientific world unites over origins of life'

"THE world's leading scientists have issued a damning statement against the teaching of creationism in schools, arguing that denying the facts of evolution damages the development of children.

The national science academies of 67 countries, including the Royal Society, issued a joint statement warning that scientific evidence about the origins of life was being "concealed, denied, or confused" in many schools."

[Bradford]: This comment surprised me. I would expect a complaint about confusion related to the evolution of organisms not "scientific evidence about the origins of life." What "scientific evidence" did they have in mind? Scientific evidence indicates that prevailing theories of abiogenesis are theoretically flawed and lacking in empirical evidence.

"It added that teaching children about Darwinian evolution and the natural world was integral to protecting the planet."

[Bradford]: Protecting the planet? This is rambled thinking gone into overdrive.

"The statement aims to present a united front against the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in schools in the United States, the UK and elsewhere.

Creationism argues that the origin of life on earth is recent and divine and that all forms of life have always existed in their present form.

Intelligent design, which has been called "thinly veiled" creationism, argues that some species are too complex to have evolved through natural selection and must therefore be the product of a "designer".

The statement says: " Knowledge of the natural world in which they live empowers people to meet human needs and protect the planet. [Life has] evolved in ways which paleontology and the modern biological sciences are describing and confirming with increasing precision."

It continues: "Within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence ... [is] being concealed, denied or confused with theories not testable by science."

[Bradford]: Or not falsifiable as is the case with standard origin of life hypotheses right? The truth is that what is being concealed is evidence against abiogenesis and evolution. Why not place greater emphasis on the lack of evidence for the generation of basic and universal systems like the transcription and translation functions related to protein synthesis or universal metabolic pathways? There are legitimate complaints that can be made about the teaching of scientific evidence related to the origin and diversity of life. Teaching should encourage critical thinking by encompassing biological systems that are problematic for standard theories. Otherwise we risk confusing good teaching with indoctrination.


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