In a science blog for the Guardian website Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, has today suggested that Intelligent Design and Creationism should not necessarily be excluded from science lessons in the UK. He says that when students raise doubts about the theory of evolution, teachers should do their "best to have a genuine discussion", while pointing out that "the word 'genuine' doesn't mean that creationism or intelligent design deserve equal time."
Reiss says that around "10 per cent of people in the UK believe that the Earth is only some 10,000 years old" and suggests that "creationism is best seen by science teachers not as a misconception but as a world view. The implication of this is that the most a science teacher can normally hope to achieve is to ensure that students with creationist beliefs understand the scientific position."
As the Guardian's James Randerson reports, Reiss's comments have not been well received by some members of the scientific community. University of Liverpool physicist John Fry said "Science lessons are not the appropriate place to discuss creationism, which is a world view in total denial of any form of scientific evidence," while New Humanist contributor Lewis Wolpert had a similar view: "Creationism is based on faith and has nothing to do with science, and it should not be taught in science classes."
It'll be interesting to see how much of a fuss Reiss's comments cause online (the comments are already starting to pile up on the Guardian site). You only need to read AC Grayling's dissection of Intelligent Design, Steve Fuller's response and all the comments we've had to see how heated these debates can get.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.
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