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Australia Education Government Politics Science

Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design 714

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

    by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:52PM (#32420236) Homepage Journal

    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 tracts in the bibiliography.

    Voila! ID textbook!

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:06PM (#32420458) Journal

    Maybe teach creationism, ID AND evolution in school... teach them as the three most widely-accepted ideas on how the world started and push them forward as all *theories* and there is no scientific proof (there is evidence for some, but that is not conclusive proof) for any of it yet?

    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution [talkorigins.org]

    The number of scientists, and more importantly biologists, who think there is any question about the factuality of evolution is so exceedingly remote as to pretty much be considered universal consensus.

    As to how the world started, um, that's cosmology, stellar formation, planet formation and geology. Evolution is the study of genetic change in populations, not in how the world came about.

  • by Rantastic ( 583764 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:16PM (#32420574) Journal

    Yet, we still call it a "Theory" for some reason. And yes, I know about most of the evidence, and yes I buy that (more than anything else right now). I also understand that we might possibly be all wrong at any moment.

    We still call gravity a "Theory" as well. You are making the common mistake about the scientific use of the word.

    According to the United States National Academy of Sciences: Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:23PM (#32420682) Journal

    Ah yes, argumentum ad dictionarum. Dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive, and are meant only for cursory definitions.

    ID is not science. It makes virtually no testable claims at all, beyond overly expansive ones, and the two cases where it has been attempted to use it; bacterial flagellum and the vertebrate immune system, there were decades worth the literature already in place demonstrating how those systems evolved.

  • by Minion of Eris ( 1574569 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:25PM (#32420714)
    as per: http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2008/06/02/a_new_step_in_evolution.php [scienceblogs.com] - evolution has been seen to occur, and we even have every-500th-generation snapshots. This made a wava about a year ago, then went kinda quiet. In brief, a bateria was exposed to a mild poison (a citrate), and over 44,000 generations, mutated into a form able to metabolize it. Evolution in action.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:38PM (#32420938)

    Odd that the bible, including creation, was taught in public education until approx 1948.

    Why is that odd? Lots of unconstitutional things have been done throughout our history, and continued until they were successfully challenged in court. Creation is obviously a religious belief, and public school teachers are obviously employees of the state, so it's quite evident that teaching creationism is the advancement of specific religious belief by the government. This is quite plainly unconstitutional. Unless we are going to teach all of the other religious creation myths alongside it, it has no place in public schools. Even if it were to be taught alongside other religious beliefs, it should not be in a science or history class, as it has no evidence to support it as either science or history.

  • by Rantastic ( 583764 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:39PM (#32420958) Journal

    Our higher education system is being destroyed by keeping dissenting viewpoints out when science has the intent of examining everything.

    Your very premise is faulty. The word "viewpoint" is just another word for opinion. Science isn't about opinions. It is about evidence, experiments, and a rigorous commitment to setting presumptions aside.

    The areas where scientists tend to disagree are those where there is not yet sufficient evident to establish a widely accepted, verifiable conclusion. Evolution is not one of them.

    The evidence for Evolution is vast and well defined. If you want to falsify Evolution, you need more than a dissenting viewpoint. You need to provide some clear, repeatable, and scientifically testable evidence.

  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:40PM (#32420990)

    ID==Creationism with the God tags removed so they can pass Constitutional muster (in the US..yes I realize this is a story about Australia...)

  • Re:This comment (Score:3, Informative)

    by nyctopterus ( 717502 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:51PM (#32421140) Homepage

    It's a stupid old creationist argument based on the erroneous notion that evolution is random. The only significant part of the evolutionary mechanism that could be said to be random is the relation of mutation to fitness. Mutations aren't random, and selection certainly isn't.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:23PM (#32421564) Journal

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ [talkorigins.org]

    You're either an ignoramus or a liar. There really are no other choices.

    And just to put it in your pipe and smoke it, macroevolution (speciation) has even been observed:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html [talkorigins.org]

  • by ricosalomar ( 630386 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:53PM (#32422048)
    around 4.5 billion
    Likelihood (Probability) = 1
    Open your eyes.
  • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:04PM (#32422210)

    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 a mechanical search-and-replace to change "creationism" into "intelligent design", and "creationist" with "intelligent design proponent".

    "Intelligent Design" is a transparent construct invented in the 1980s by people who self-identify as "creationists".

  • by ricosalomar ( 630386 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:13PM (#32422324)
    I didn't dismiss your questions, I answered them with the facts available.
  • Re:This comment (Score:3, Informative)

    by nyctopterus ( 717502 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:21PM (#32422408) Homepage

    Mutations are random with respect to fitness, but they are in themselves constrained by the laws and processes of organic chemistry, so cannot be said to be entirely random. Some base pairs are more fragile than others, for example.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:04PM (#32422980)

    After reading about this a bit more, I have to say that you are right. Why the change of usage and why the deprecation of the word "law"?

    Because "law" implies that it is absolute, unchanging, and untouchable. Everything in science is up to repudiation because scientists concede that we don't know everything. The revision was made because "laws" like gravitation were modified showing that they are not absolute.

  • by Dracophile ( 140936 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @10:30PM (#32427024)

    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.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury