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Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design 714

Posted by samzenpus
from the ragnarok-101 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that schools within the Australian state of Queensland are going to be required to teach Intelligent Design as part of their Ancient History studies. While it is gratifying to note that it isn't being taught in science classes (since it most certainly isn't a science), one wonders what role a modern controversy can possibly serve within a subject dedicated to a period of history which occurred hundreds of years before Darwin proposed his groundbreaking theory?"
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Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:41AM (#32420090) Journal

    "We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we're not biased in the delivery of curriculum," Mrs Doneley said. "We say, 'This is where we're coming from' but allow students to make up their own minds."

    I really wish they had gone into detail on what exactly a 'faith science basis' is. I'm not saying they're completely walled off from each other but attempting to give your children solid foundational logic should not be approached from an angle that contains any sort of faith.

    If they are indeed teaching intelligent design in much the same way as Niels Bohr's atomic model or -- perhaps more apt -- motivation for slavery then I have little problem with this. But if they spend anymore than a few hours discussing how it was flawed then I would consider this a waste of time instead of 'critical thinking.' It's great to see all the sides of a historical issue but that's all intelligent design is to me and, much more importantly, the peer reviewed journals and scientific community at large.

    If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem. If you want to teach it to my kids as an outstanding theory or hypothesis, I'm going to sit down and have a lengthy discussion with them. If you do you teach it in the United States, I'm going to be there arguing that you spend just as much time on Native American origin stories or even better the original Hindu creation story followed by Swami Vivekananda's logic of compatibility with Darwinism and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness's decision to largely reject it.

    Intelligent Design is an attempt to absolve the scriptures of ever being wrong in their creation story and salvage what is possible when presented with fossil evidence and short-term evolution evidence in smaller celled organisms. Other religions have similar damage control, why do the Christians only get theirs mentioned in state schools?

    They are arguing that this helps critical thinking and allows the child to make their own conclusions ... but curiously this "critical thinking" that presents an opposing view is curiously the view that the localized religion adheres to. If you want to teach critical thinking, expose the child to more views than what the adults are already largely marketing to them in the home and at religious services.

    This article bounces between acceptable and a BS facade to market Intelligent Design. Australia's a sovereign nation but I will speak up if this comes anywhere near my public schools.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:54AM (#32420280) Journal

      If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

      It's not even a disproved theory. At its core, ID is simply "somehow something somewhere is wrong with evolution". Other than a rather vague claim that some structures are too complex to have evolved naturally, ID makes virtually no positive claims at all, and I don't even that vague claim can possibly be considered positive.

      It's a smoke show, just Creationism stripped of any direct references to God, designed to fool idiotic Fundy-populated school boards, but in its only test in a Federal court, it got laughed out the door. One of its most important formulators, Michael Behe, made a fool of himself, and, unforgivable for a molecular biologist, showed an extraordinary ignorance of the literature on the evolution of complex systems like bacterial flagella and the vertebrate immune system. It's other major formulator is William Dembski, who, being considerably smarter than Behe, keeps away from ever having to defend his own notions of Irreducible Complexity and the outright nonsensical Information Filter (which, if it actually worked, would represent a quantum leap in the statistical study of information and would make Dembski one of the most lauded mathematicians in history, but is, in fact, just a load of pseudo-statistical mumbo jumbo).

      Who exactly ever believed in Intelligent Design? So far as I can tell, the two chief camps that promote it our Creationists and a small group of Theistic Evolutionists (mainly of Behe's mindset). The latter may even be sincere in so far as they believe that God's hand is in the mix somehow, but the former are only using ID cynically as a way around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and don't actually buy into any of it. In fact, as witnessed by the rubes in Dover, they don't even really care about ID, they just want to get Creationism in the classroom. They aren't even Theistic Evolutionists, they're out and out Creationists.

      The whole thing is a scam, and one that has lost considerable force since Dover. The Discovery Institute, which is pretty much the leader in the ID charge, had already started moving to the bait-and-switch Teach the Controversy scam even before ID collapsed in court. The real problem here is that there are a lot of really stupid Creationists who themselves don't even know what ID is, and just assume that the scam artists who created it actually produced a scientific theory of Creationism.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by oldspewey (1303305)
        In an academic setting, the correct place for ID is as a case study during a course on critical thinking.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by biryokumaru (822262)
          Not really. There's no need to include more than one or two simple examples of a complete lack of critical thinking in such a course.
      • by qortra (591818) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:18PM (#32420588)

        It's not even a disproved theory.

        That much is right. By its nature, it would be basically impossible to prove or disprove.

        The whole thing is a scam, and one that has lost considerable force since Dover.

        I'm sorry to break up your rant here, but it isn't a scam. Many people sincerely believe in ID (or a variation thereof). Many of those people would acknowledge that it isn't science in any meaningful form, and nearly all of those people would willingly keep ID out of the science curriculum in public schools.

        However, it seems to me ancient history is a perfectly fine place to present the fact that people have believed in ID historically. While ID in its current form is a fairly modern interpretation, the notion of an intelligent designer has been around for quite a while, and has had a profound influence on our world (for better or for worse).

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#32420636) Journal

          I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design. There are lots of Creationists who will wave it around, but generally to them ID==Creationism. As was pretty clear from Dover and other attempts to teach it, the school boards in question were populated with Creationists who had been scammed by DI into believing that Creationism was going to be taught in the classroom.

          As to the ID formulators, considering the amount of work they put into formulating ID as a neutered replacement of out-and-out Creationism, I think it's hard to accept any claim of sincerity. ID is a legal creation, a fabrication with but one purpose, to get Creationism past the Establishment Clause.

          • by qortra (591818) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:45PM (#32421062)

            I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design.

            Then you don't really understand people very well. From the Center for Science and Culture (a pro-ID organization) here [discovery.org]

            The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

            Even aside from religious beliefs, it is very difficult for many people to believe that the world and people as they are came about because of chance. Just look at the number of references in popular culture to fate and "the meaning of life". Going back even as far as the Greeks, it was a major theme of their literature and plays. The notion that natural selection determines that outcome of the universe is, to many people, a profoundly unsettling explanation. None of this should be taken as a challenge to natural selection or a defense of ID. However, your assertion that nobody actually believes in ID is naive.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by careysub (976506)

              I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design.

              Then you don't really understand people very well. From the Center for Science and Culture (a pro-ID organization) here [discovery.org]

              The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

              Right. Every statement from an advocacy group's website is an honest statement belief, and not disingenuous in the slightest.

              Are you acquainted with the evidence that was introduced in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District?

              It was discovered that the ID text that Dover sought to introduce was originally written as an advocacy tract for creationism, which called it by that very name. Then, to try to do an end-run around a Supreme Court prohibition on teaching creationism in public schools, they simply did

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by williamhb (758070)

              Even aside from religious beliefs, it is very difficult for many people to believe that the world and people as they are came about because of chance. Just look at the number of references in popular culture to fate and "the meaning of life". Going back even as far as the Greeks, it was a major theme of their literature and plays. The notion that natural selection determines that outcome of the universe is, to many people, a profoundly unsettling explanation.

              For most religions, as I understand it, the issue is actually much more fundamental than that. (Trying to describe this here is going to be a little like trying to describe the socialist rationale to George W Bush, but here goes:)

              For a moment, set aside the pure materialist assumption that everything is mechanical and repeatable (historically that was viewed as a sweeping and unproven claim to make) and consider the world from a perspective more akin to mathematics or philosophy.

              Here is a mathematical desc

        • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:03PM (#32421314)

          I'm not American, so you'll have to bear with me here.

          I gave up physics, biology and chemistry at 16, so that's a few years ago now, but I don't think we were once told that the word "theory" has a slightly different meaning in science to its colloquial meaning. The colloquial understanding of the word "theory" is probably closer to "hypothesis" - and it's absolutely crucial to understand this because without it the creationist "it's just a theory, we don't know for sure" argument is much harder to refute.

          At least if you know the definition of the word "theory" in a scientific context, you can understand that the statement "it's just a theory" is utterly fatuous.

        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:13PM (#32421426) Homepage Journal

          it isn't a scam. Many people sincerely believe in ID

          Many people sincerely believe that someone in Nigeria wants to give them a million bucks, too. Many people sincerely believe that wearing magnets will cure everything from foot pain to cancer. Many people sincerely believe that the politicians they vote for will live up to campaign promises. Etc. Belief has nothing to do with whether or not something is a scam.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RKThoadan (89437)

            If the person "selling" whatever it is sincerely believes it, then it can't properly be called a scam. A scam does largely require the perpetrator to be making intentionally false statements to get money, or at least allegiance, from someone else. If they truly believe what they are "selling" then they are just deluded, not evil, and may otherwise be a kind and relatively normal person.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dracophile (140936)

          However, it seems to me ancient history is a perfectly fine place to present the fact that people have believed in ID historically. While ID in its current form is a fairly modern interpretation, the notion of an intelligent designer has been around for quite a while, and has had a profound influence on our world (for better or for worse).

          Yeah, but they want to teach it as a "controversy" in "Ancient History", which is clearly bullshit.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        It's not even a disproved theory. ...

        --
        The world's burning. Moped Jesus spotted on I50. Details at 11

        How surreal that ended up with the signature line in a discussion about intelligent design.

        I'm awaiting a painting worthy of Salvador Dalí.

      • It's a smoke show, just Creationism stripped of any direct references to God

        So therefore, since it's at it's core an ancient belief, it fits in perfectly in Ancient History. Alongside Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Babylonian, Chinese, African, etc creation myths.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian (840721)

          So therefore, since it's at it's core an ancient belief, it fits in perfectly in Ancient History. Alongside Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Babylonian, Chinese, African, etc creation myths.

          No, it's not an ancient belief. It's roughly 22 years old.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by qortra (591818)

            No, it's not an ancient belief. It's roughly 22 years old.

            Yes, it is an ancient belief. It's roughly 2360 years old. Read Plato's Timaeus [stanford.edu]. Perhaps you're thinking of the term "intelligent design" which is roughly 21 years old. The concept is far older.

      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:27PM (#32420770) Homepage

        I'm curious about these Theistic Evolutionists. One of the major holes I've always seen in using "Intelligent Design" as a counter to Evolutionary Theory by the Religious Right is that it's not inherently incompatible with Evolution. If the basic theory behind "Intelligent Design" is that life is to complex to have evolved randomly and therefore must have a designer, who's to say that the designer doesn't simply use Evolution as a tool to accomplish Its goals. From inside the system it would appear to us that such small tweaks and experiments were random mutation.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that this is the case, just pondering how the two concepts are theoretically compatible.

        • by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:58PM (#32421240)
          That's not actually a hole in the use of ID. It's a reason why most Christians -- even many fundamentalist Christians -- don't need ID. But there are some Christian fundamentalists whose reading of Genesis leads them to conclude that God created all the species as they are now on whichever of the seen days it was. They believe in development within a species, so they accept that horse breeding programs can lead to faster horses, for example, but not that new species can emerge. For those fundamentalists the idea that the creator used evolution is acceptable for development within a species but not for the emergence of new species because (they believe) that doesn't happen.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cyberax (705495)

        Playing devil's advocate.

        Some parts of ID can be treated as real scientific theories. For example, ID makes a prediction that large irreducibly complex systems can't be created by evolution.

        This prediction, of course, is not correct - it's quite possible to evolve irreducibly complex systems from reducibly complex systems.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:56AM (#32420304)

      First, intelligent design is NOT a scientific theory.

      On the other hand, Niels Bohr's aromic model IS a scientic theory.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_model

      Here is why this is the case,
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory#Essential_criteria

      Therefore it is incorrect to teach I.D. as a "disproved theory". It never was one in the first place. Where it can be mentioned is as a difference between theory and dogma, where I.D. is clearly an example of the latter,
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma

      PS: Freaking slashdot reads my mind everything. CATPCHA: instruct

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      I really wish they had gone into detail on what exactly a 'faith science basis' is.

      They don't need to, just reading the phrase tells you all you need to know: it's a bunch of religious hokum clothed in pseudo-scientific garbage to try and sneak it into schools as if it were legitimate information.

      If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

      I do, because it is not provable, disprovable, nor was it ever a theory. It should be held up as an example of anti-scientific thinking and religious

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:58AM (#32420340)

      If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

      I do, because intelligent design being taught in schools is little more than an attempt to allow prosthelytizing in the public school system. The goal there is to replace education with saving the children's souls from us evil secular scientists.

      They don't care about science, this is all about "I have it in my little head that God wants me to spam everyone with advertising, and I'm willing to destroy education to do so."

      Frankly, I'd prefer students be exposed to advertising for coca-cola or McDonalds. Even though that's generally less healthy than being a christian fundamentalist, it's far less annoying.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bill_kress (99356)

        Keeping people uninformed is generally bad. If you teach EXACTLY how silly ID is and how to think critically by trying to support/disprove ID in class it could be quite the inoculation for a generation of kids.

      • by qortra (591818)

        "I have it in my little head that God wants me to spam everyone with advertising

        For the life of me, I can't understand why people like you are posting this crap, and I'm even more confused why you keep getting modded up. Has anybody even read TFA?

        In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of "controversies".

        ID (in some form or another) has been a very large part of our history, and it is most certainly controversial. Thus, this seems like the perfect place for it. If you want to pretend that people never believed anything other than evolution throughout history, you are more full of shit than the people you so flippantly criticize.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by qortra (591818)

      If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

      Bad grammar aside, that isn't a good idea either. It isn't a disproved theory - it can neither be proved nor disproved in any scientifically valid sense. That's why it isn't science in the first place.

      If they are indeed teaching intelligent design in much the same way as ... motivation for slavery then I have little problem with this.

      This should earn you a flamebait mod. Once again, it isn't proper to say that it is wrong or right, to condemn it or glorify it. It is apart of history - it merely needs to be acknowledged so the students can form their own judgments.

      They are arguing that this helps critical thinking and allows the child to make their own conclusions ... but curiously this "critical thinking" that presents an opposing view is curiously the view that the localized religion adheres to

      Of course it is. Starting with viewpoints that students are at least familiar

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        it can neither be proved nor disproved in any scientifically valid sense.

        It contradicts all existing evidence. To the extent any scientific theory can be disproved, it is.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:09PM (#32420486) Journal

      They are arguing that this helps critical thinking and allows the child to make their own conclusions ... but curiously this "critical thinking" that presents an opposing view is curiously the view that the localized religion adheres to. If you want to teach critical thinking, expose the child to more views than what the adults are already largely marketing to them in the home and at religious services.

      Yes. Oh God Yes (pun intended).

      I went to a Catholic School growing, though here in Canada that doesn't mean a whole lot. Since there is such an unbelievable mix of culture, you get kids who are Half-Christian Half-Buddhist, or Catholic Jews, or just about any combo you can think of. Even people who weren't exactly Catholic could get in, there were kids who didn't have catholic parents, but said they weren't sure what they believed in, and were able to go.

      In my High school year, one of the big projects was to research a religion you had little to no knowledge about, in small groups, and then present it to the class.

      I think it was one of the most educational lessons I've ever recieved from High school. Not only do you see the differences between Eastern and Western Religions, but also why certain ones spark conflict, and the histories of how they've interacted.

      I think most of all, it was interesting to hear a Jewish peer's view on Catholicism and Christianity as a whole, as well as a Buddhist and Hindu. Likewise, they found our explanations of their religions also valuable. I mean its easy to look at a hasidic jew and criticize their way of life, only to have someone point out how your holidays have evolved into some corporate spend-a-thon, since Santa Claus has nothing to do with Christ.

      I dunno, it was kind of like taking a step back and seeing the big picture for once, and I wish more schools did this (and I hope mine still does)

  • Teach it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenoli (934612) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:45AM (#32420144)
    What, exactly, is there to teach about intelligent deign?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Just show them this video - sums it up really Robin Ince on ID [youtube.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Danse (1026)

      What, exactly, is there to teach about intelligent deign?

      Well, I suppose you could use it as an example of what happens when you fail at science.

    • The duckbilled platypus.

      There ought to be very little doubt about the integrity of Intelligent Design after that.

    • Lots of textbooks! (Score:3, Informative)

      by StefanJ (88986)

      There are many textbooks available on Intelligent Design, and it is really easy to make more.

      First, you get one of the wishy-washy creationist textbooks written in the 1980s, before the Discovery Institute decided that actually calling creationism creationism wasn't going to fly.

      Then you do a search and replace, substituting "intelligent design" for "creationism."

      Then you add a chapter at the end with the nuggets of sophistry that ID supporters came up with, and add some references to other ID textbooks and

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:02PM (#32420402) Journal

        You're talking about Of Pandas and People [wikipedia.org], the infamous Creationist textbook which was rewritten via search and replace after Edwards v Aguillard [wikipedia.org] banned the teaching of Creationism in public schools. The phrase was cdesign proponentsists, from an imperfect search and replace of "Creationists" to "design proponents" in one of the post-Ewards v Aguillard drafts.

        It was that, coupled with the fact that the Dover Schoolboard were a bunch of incredibly inept liars (one even claiming an Oxycontin addiction to explain his clearly deceptive behavior) who perjured themselves multiple times during the Dover trial, that pretty much tossed it out of the water. The best bits were Michael Behe's time on the stand (William Dembski was too smart a fox to get involved), where his claims of irreducible complexity of bacterial flagellum were wiped out by article after article in the literature showing precisely how such a system could in fact evolve without intervention.

      • Well, yes, there are a lot of books but basically they all boil down to going at length into some (logically invalid and/or based on strawmen) way in which Darwinism is all wrong.

        Just ask anyone to explain ID to you without mentioning Darwin and evolution. No seriously. All that is left is basically "god did it!" No more, no less, no falsifiable claim of its own.

        It's not even a theory or even hypothesis in its own right. It can't even tell you if God made the Platypus on day 5 of Genesis 1 together with the

  • Could Australian schools teach about flying spaghetti monsters too?

  • The fact that people who think we should teach ID in schools is what made me realize there's no god.

  • NOOOOOO! (Score:2, Insightful)

    WTF! Seriously. I'm glad I don't live in Queensland. I hope intelligent people are working to put a stop to this absolute fucking garbage! Christian "values" are taking Australia straight to a Authoritarian Theocracy. Americans we have uranium I promise to let you have some if you bring us democracy.

    Totally blown away by this article!

  • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:53AM (#32420258)
    Australia's legislature seems to be riding some kind of runaway jesus train lately, with all the anti-porn initiatives and net-filtering. I can't imagine the majority of Aussies are behind this stuff. How is this happening? What is the election cycle like there?
  • I mean, "educators" can not possibly be so stupid as to waste tax dollars on such ignorance, can they? The sad part is, even with this, they still aren't as bad as some parts of the USA.
  • Intelligent Design fits well between all the other failed theories: Earth-centric universe; immovable stars; bleeding patients; Froot Loops over Frosted Flakes....all famous in their time, all horribly misguided. In 2000 years, people will look back at our history, now ancient to them, and be amused just like we are.

  • "controversy" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:54AM (#32420288) Homepage
    The use of the word "controversy" here is taken directly from the creationist playbook. There is "controversy" about whether a big earthquake could cause California to fall off into the Pacific Ocean, but it's only a controversy between two guys sitting in a bar, it's not a controversy among geologists. When creationists say "teach the controversy," they're really asking teachers to present something that's not scientifically controversial as if it were.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)
      Well, if taught as part of history, I don't have any objections about it if ID is not presented as being the state of current science but as religion. As part of history, there have been many controversies over religion: the Crusades, the Protestant Reformation, the Inquisition, etc and those are just ones involving Christianity. I would expect students to learn about other religions as part of history especially how some ancient cultures were polytheistic like the Greeks and Romans.
  • Studies is that that field is less likely to be taught by people with a scientific background. If I wanted to peddle pro-religion non-science, I'd rather take my chances with history teachers than biology or physics teachers.

    Not being familiar with Australian education, I don't know what sort of qualifications high school teachers have with regard to the field they teach, but even if in-field qualifications are much better than in the US, a lot more people study history seriously as a result of their relig

  • Which VERSION? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @11:58AM (#32420344) Homepage Journal

    There are at LEAST 6 different versions of this:
    1. Biblical Creationism- the world is 6000 years old (maybe 7000 now) and was created in 7 days.
    2. Darwinian evolution- life was created in stages by natural selection.
    3. Intelligent Design Engineer/Scientist- Life was created in stages by an engineer-diety using natural selection as an engineering process to an intended end.
    4. Intelligent Design Parenthood- God gave birth to the first DNA as an offspring and only interferes as a kindly parent guiding, but not influencing, the end result. God doesn't know the future in this version.
    5. Quantum Mechanical Atheistic Evolution- Natural selection is entirely unguided and random- the only thing limiting evolution is death of bad mutations.
    6. Intelligent Design Creationism- a bad quasi-scientific cover for Biblical Creationism.

    And that's not even going into NON-CHRISTIAN myths, I'd expect in Australia they should at least be teaching the myths of the natives in an ancient history class!

  • So feel free to ignore the paleontological, cosmological, geological, and archeological record, 'cuz God wants you to be ignorant all by yourself.
  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:01PM (#32420380)
    From TFA:

    "We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we're not biased in the delivery of curriculum," Mrs Doneley said. "We say, 'This is where we're coming from' but allow students to make up their own minds."

    Without a solid foundation in scientific methodology and critical thinking, students aren't equipped to determine what is evidently correct and what is not. I can't tell from the article what grade they're including this topic for, but unless their schools are a lot better than US schools, I doubt that any high school student is equipped well enough to determine the validity of an assertion such as Intelligent Design.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)

      I can't tell from the article what grade they're including this topic for, but unless their schools are a lot better than US schools, I doubt that any high school student is equipped well enough to determine the validity of an assertion such as Intelligent Design.

      WTF? Scientific theory is something that can be taught at the 8th grade. A 6-year old can understand the difference between"magic" and "here's how you test it".

      Start expecting more from kids, and you will get more from them. Expect less, and you will get exactly that.

  • word for word from creationism. So while it is "updated" with more modern ideas, the core concept is still pretty old. So no different than studying Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
  • I find it odd they'd file (intelligent) design of things under Ancient History, rather than Engineering. It's true that people designed things long ago, but they still do, at least at some companies. Anyway, it's good they're specifically teaching an important skill like intelligent design, as this is often neglected in engineering.
  • I don't know about you, but ancient history classes for me included discussions of the paleolithic. You know, things that happened more than 6000 years ago?

    Intelligent design is creationism in a cloak of pseudoscience bullshit. Intelligent design attempts to pass itself off as a scientific theory when you can't prove it, therefore it's not a theory, it's a random hypothesis with no supporting evidence. And yet because proponents of ID keep trying to do this annoying tap dance around scientific principles when it's not science.

    I refuse to allow ID in any school in any way because it's a lie. Creationism as a philosophy isn't a lie, it shows itself exactly for what it is, it's a philosophy of how people think the universe was created, but there's no science behind it. Fine, so it belongs in a philosophy class that discusses multiple philosophies and ideas and critical thinking and that's it. ID is an attempt to get creationism outside of philosophy and into any other class, and that's because when you allow people to think about and question an idea, critical thinking will expose the truths and flaws. By getting it into another class, it suddenly becomes something that gets more legitimacy. The average person in a history/science/math class simply accepts what they are taught as so. People who are vested in teaching creationism don't want you to think about this or have a real critical thinking discussion, they are just hoping for more sheep.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:12PM (#32420514) Journal
    They taught intelligent design in my school. A lot. In social studies class, or current affairs. Along with evolution. In fact they did it much more in those classes than they did in an actual science class. The actual science class discussion, when it came around, was like one day. It is amazing to me the amount of political effort that goes in to a single day of class. Especially when the kids all have their mind made up about the topic by that point anyway.

    Seriously, why is this still an issue 150 years later? Why do people feel that evolution needs to conflict with religion, and not say, geology?
    • by Danse (1026)

      Seriously, why is this still an issue 150 years later? Why do people feel that evolution needs to conflict with religion, and not say, geology?

      Religion is resistant to change by its very nature. A lot of the change happens by groups breaking away and forming new sects with somewhat different beliefs because its very difficult to change beliefs from within the group. When the changes do occur within the group, then you still often get a part of the group that wants to stick to the old beliefs, so they break off anyway.

  • “teach” is for actual information about reality.
    The word for bullshit and brainwashing is “indoctrination”.
    You know, like people in North Korea are brainwashed into thinking touching something with the US flag on it, would make their hands rot of. (According to a guy who helps people get out of there.)
    Same thing here. Exactly the same thing.
    Only that the churches are the power-hungry dictators.

  • Queensland (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:22PM (#32421556)

    None of this stuff surprises me. There's lots of crazy religious whackjobs and woo-peddlers from Queensland, and besides wheat, coal and bauxite, Christian, right-wing and New Age crap is one of our biggest exports.

    Having grown up in regional Queensland, I can testify first hand that this place is, as some wag once said, like Alambama with better beaches.

    The place has a deep right-wing authoritarian streak going way back, and it periodically resurfaces in the form of the "Liberal National Party", a rabble of right-wing redneck farmers who occasionally scrape together enough votes to get into power and screw everything up. Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen (USians, think Huey Long), was the closest thing to a dictator this country has ever seen, and presided over a thuggish and thoroughly corrupt ostensibly-Christian police state which followed around and harassed its enemies. I have friends who had Special Branch files a foot thick... which the Joh government conveniently had shredded Stasi-style when they were kicked out for being outrageously corrupt.

    That kind of parochialism and petty right-wing nastiness breeds a xenophobic and superstitious outlook that hasn't changed a bit as long as I've been alive. Rural south east Queensland is a hotbed of cult activity, and our Christian fundamentalists are reknowned the world over; several of the world's biggest IDers and Creationists come fresh from beautiful and sunny Queensland to spread their vile ideas around the world. We also have export-grade racists and idiots like Pauline Hanson, who left Australia recently for London (without even a hint of irony) because there are "too many Asians" in Australia. We also have a lot of New Age silliness, and it tends to cluster in places like the New South Wales border. They're mostly harmless, apart from their embrace of dangerous silliness like the anti-vaccination movement, which has caused communities to lose herd immunity, and children to die from diseases thought eradicated 50 years ago.

    Outside of the fairly vibrant and fast-growing south east corner, Queensland is a Mecca for all sorts of stupid, vile and ugly people, many who purport to call themselves Christian.

  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:05PM (#32422230)

    Scientists don't agree with Intelligent Design. There's no scientific evidence to support it.
    Most Christians don't agree with ID. Nowhere in the bible is ID mentioned.
    No other religions propose ID.
    Most surveys indicate hardly anyone asked believes ID. (most either believe full religious creationism or evolution, not ID).

    Why then is it being taught in schools?

  • by buddyglass (925859) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:36PM (#32423506)

    So, generally speaking, I don't find the ID arguments very convincing. That said, I find part of this article's summary, and a common refrain from the anti-ID crowd (i.e. most everyone) to be troubling. Namely that ID "isn't science".

    It seems pretty obvious to me that one could "scientifically" go about determining whether something was "designed" or not. Suppose a meteor lands on earth with some "interesting" properties. Maybe it has a particularly regular stucture. Maybe its engraved with the prime numbers expressed in binary. Etc. Are we going to say its impossible to scientifically approach the problem of determining whether this object was "intelligently designed" or "naturally occurring"?

    It may well be that ID arrives at wrong conclusions for ideological reasons, but it also seems like the scientific establishment is overstating its case when it dismisses the entire problem of "design detection" (for lack of a better word) as "not science".

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard

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