Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Teaching the controversy

(Let's see if this link works...)

The call has gone out for schools to "teach the controversy" about Evolution versus Intelligent Design / Intelligent Origin Theories. It's occurred to me that, if done properly, this could be a good thing.

Here's an example of a high school science teacher who does teach the controversy:

In a research project entitled "What is Science?", I allow my grade 11 science students to investigate any of the above. The project has two parts. In part "A", they clarify the meaning of science by researching and distilling a definition for it. They explain the scientific method and how it is applied. They also explain the process of peer-review and how it works. They also address the limitations of science and the types of questions that it can't answer (eg: how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin?) In part "B" they can select any other endeaver that they feel is a pseudo-science and proceed to demonstrate why it is not a science by comparing it to the criteria of part "A". This is a lot of fun for them and at times is even hilarious. What typically amazes the students is the way in which people seem to be driven to believe weird things. Of course, creationism, along with astrology, spiritualism, telekinesis and so on, are often chosen by students for investigation.

And the result of teachng the controversy?

I find it fascinating that when one actually "teaches the controversy" by allowing students to freely investigate the issue it always turns out the same: creationism, scientific creationism, and ID are NOT science. Do you think that's what the Discovery Institute was hoping for?

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