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Dawkins and a ‘National Disgrace’

According to a Mori poll in the UK, 29% of science teachers want to allow teaching of creationism in school science classes. Presumably that includes intelligent design, which is usually lumped into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ creationism. Furthermore, 73 percent of science teachers think creationism should be discussed in other lessons. Dawkins calls the fact that 29 percent of science teachers want to allow creationism to be taught in schools to be a ‘national disgrace.’

Richard Dawkins and Steve Jones give their views on creationism teaching poll

Quarter [29%] of science teachers would teach creationism

Firstly, I will leave aside the interesting question of how Dawkins might consider something to be a ‘dis-grace’ when he himself believes ‘grace’ to be a meaningless concept in the first place. But on the question of a ‘national disgrace;’ when a majority of teachers want to respect children’s worldviews in schools it is odd that something can be a ‘national disgrace.’ Or even for a large minority, surely they should have their views respected in a democracy. I would suggest that giving a small clique of secular humanists and atheists ‘carte blanche’ to dictate education policy that disrespects children’s worldview in a multi-faith society is the real national disgrace here. But Dawkins wants to re-educate teachers until they all accept evolution as fact, or if they don’t presumably to remove them from their jobs. It would seem that Dawkins and friends do not have much respect for a free society. AC Grayling has also called for an ongoing ‘war’ against religion in general, mainly on the basis that religion is the cause of war in the first place. I’ll let that one sink in. Secularists’ vital war on religion – AC Grayling

But what Dawkins cannot stand is that the reason that intelligent design is gaining ground is because science itself is advancing, and knowledge about the biological complexity of life is leaking out despite attempts to stifle knowledge by the powers that control science education policy. But if Dawkins is serious about preserving belief in evolution then he needs to stop children finding out about the incredible complexity of the cell. Here are a few tactics he could use to keep the sheep in check and maintain the Darwin dogma.

1. Dumb down biological science and hide knowledge about the degree of complexity of the cell until children are thoroughly indoctrinated into evolution.
2. Publish textbooks with out-of-date research or use already falsified evidence – they will be too young to know.
3. Use emotional, polemical and rhetorical arguments against intelligent design proponents and therefore use fear and peer pressure to stop children asking awkward questions, or investigating the evidence outside of the narrow curriculum and risk switching sides.
4. Misrepresent the arguments of intelligent design proponents, and use logical fallacies in criticisms of intelligent design. Furthermore, do not give children the skills necessary to recognise logically fallacious arguments.
5. Bamboozle and confuse children with fallacious arguments so that they give up science altogether – and the Darwin myth is preserved in them for life.

Science and Values

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15 Responses to Dawkins and a ‘National Disgrace’

  1. If only there were a position, a professorship, for example, that would enlighten people as to the proper understanding of science.

    We could call the position the Professor of the Public Understanding of Science. Then this nonsense about ID wouldn’t get around.

    Right?

  2. Barb,

    That’d be a good idea. It seems like what “science” is has become subjective. Considering there is so many different fields with so many different subjects it’s hard to just have one strict definition of science. For instance, archeology seems a lot different from biology, but they’re both considered science.

  3. And off subject, but why in the world is there an ad on this site for “The God Who Wasn’t There”?

    That movie is so off its rocker it isn’t even funny. Brian Flemming basically just lies his face off. :-P

  4. How much of this 29% is affected by the large Muslim population in some areas of the UK? I don’t pretend to know anything about it but we receive reports here in the US about certain areas of the UK bending over backwards to accommodate Muslims on certain issues.

  5. I don’t imagine even 1% of teachers here in the UK are Muslim, so I can’t think it would be a huge influence.

    Most of the stories about bending over backwards are generally made up by certain areas of our media for mischievous purposes. Though there are solid examples, it’s mostly scaremongering.

  6. Jerry, there IS a big problem with the accommodation of Islamic extremists in education systems (contrary to the wishes of most Muslims). But that doesn’t especially apply to this situation.

    Most people think that there is some kind of design or purpose behind the universe. A minority of academics (and assorted criminals in jail) think that there is no design or purpose. The former group is more influential than the latter in forming public opinion.

    When teachers say that “creationism” should be taught, I expect they mean that science courses should not be constructed so as to imply that there is no design or purpose in the universe, and that demonstrating that fact is the GOAL of science.

    And also that evidence-based critiques of Saint Charles Darwin’s theory should be permitted.

    Those are the problems a lot of teachers have (in common) with the current system.

    The Islamists’ big issues tend to be Israel and Hollywood and scantily clad women, and so forth. You rarely hear them talk about science.

    Just as well, I suppose.

  7. I’m just curious what type of “creationism” they want taught. YEC? OEC? Progressive? OOL only? Competing cosmological models?

  8. What we need a Darwinism Czar heading up an independent supercommittee with cabinet-level authority. Much like Homeland Security, the czar (or czarina) would be tasked with rooting out all possible cells of resistance to “the modern synthesis” and preventing inconvenient irruptions of free thought before they happen.

    A national emergency requires extraordinary measures. Like all concerned citizens, I have my own Christmas list, including (but not limited to):

    1. Ban all discussion of microbiology from the classroom. Such sidebars only confuse the students and are likely to prove all too tempting to subversive teachers who would otherwise know how to hold their tongues.

    2. Add “Darwin Day” to the list of national holidays. We honor politicians, we honor warmongers, we honor preachers, we even have a holiday for the “God who wasn’t there,” for heaven’s sake. Why not one for scientists, our modern priesthood and friends to humanity?

    3. Institute a national Darwin Circle photo ID card. This card would serve the useful purpose of identifying troublemakers upfront and eliminate the need for potentially awkward questioning.

    4. Develop a speech code for what words can and cannot be used in the science classroom, much like the excellent codes that have been developed to support diversity. If violation of the speech code leads to specific disciplinary measures, students will be much less likely to step out of line.

    5. Along the same lines, institute mandatory Darwin sensitivity training to all incoming students at the high school and college levels. Students want to do what is right. They simply need to be educated about what is and what is not acceptable.

    6. Develop a national system of Darwin Clubs, much like the Cub Scouts, to introduce children to the worldview and terminology of Darwinism at an early age. Dues from these clubs can be used to support legal challenges to wayward state legislators.

    Armed with these measures, the new czar should be able to shore up science education and insulate Darwinism from the multiform challenges it now faces.

  9. Domoman: I was being facetious. Richard Dawkins is the professor of the public understanding of atheism science at Oxford University. The fact that science itself seems to be veering away from his pet theory of evolution suggests that maybe he’s not doing his job.

  10. “Atheism” in my previous post should have a strikethrough, which showed up on preview.

  11. Off-Topic: Admins, feel free to dismiss this comment as mild whining.

    The semi-accurate comment preview coupled with an inability to edit mistakes is a frustrating combination.

    There are two WordPress plugins, either of which would make comment experiences more rewarding: Ajax Comment Preview (Michael D. Adams), and Ajax Edit Comments (Ronald Huereca).

    The comment preview plugin provides a pre-submit feature that lets the commenter see their text exactly as it will be formatted on the server. This resolves discontinuities between WordPress formatting and the preview formatting. This differs from the live comment preview in that it doesn’t update until you click the “preview” button; however it is 100% accurate.

    The comment editing plugin allows for a time limit. A five minute editing grace period would allow commenters to correct mistakes that slipped by, within a reasonable window, while preventing future redaction.

    Both of these are available from the WordPress plugins page.

  12. I can top all of you.

    As we know, evolutionary psychology (EP) is absolutely true – after all, it has the word “evolutionary” in its name, so it can’t possibly be wrong.

    EP tells us that all human behavior can be linked to neo-Darwinism, which in turn relies on genetics. So human behavior, if traced back properly via EP, is ultimately determined by genetics.

    Nowhere is this as evident as it is in the religious people among us. EP has predicted and scientists have found “God gene” which forms “God spots” in the brains of those people.

    Dawkins and company tell us that this is a mental affliction, a disease that needs to be eradicated. If it is indeed genetic in origin (as EP predicts, and EP is science because scientists say so), then we have very few options open to us to address this trouble.

    We could wait for scientists to come up with some sort of gene therapy, but considering the poor progress that had been made so far and the fact that the disease itself interferes with research to cure it, this option is not viable at all.

    We could begin a sterilization program to naturally select out all of these brain-damaged members of our species. Unfortunately, their disease-fueled fecundity will probably foil our plans, and if given a few years will heavily outnumber the “God-spotless” because of the latter’s lack of fecundity.

    So this problem is a very difficult one. I propose we meet about it and discuss a solution. A final solution.

  13. Since this sort of about the teaching of evolution. The Teaching Company has a new course, just out a couple days ago on the Darwinian Revolution. Will order it this afternoon and over the holidays watch it for its content.

    The author has presented other courses on the history of science which have been good so far. Here is a link

    http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/co.....8;cid=1527

  14. Jerry, so your answer is to make it into a “them” problem. A mild form of xenophobia. Look, it’s okay to pretend that Muslims are just like us, and we can pretend that it’s no big deal that they can get the same jobs as Europeans and their vote carries the same weight. We can pretend that there is nothing better about our culture than ours, but when they get into those positions, we can call it a “disgrace” because, in an erstwhile democracy, they think they can be heard. They think that getting a job that they might have studied for–and Britain gave them–is carte blanche to be counted along the 71% of high school teachers who disagree.

    Now, I understand from BGOG, that this is not the case. That is not the best defense, it’s to point out the nihilism that Britain hath wrought.

    I remember a while back the pride that people had over certain countries’ God-and-evolution score, and the shame that certain Americans felt about our low one. The suggestion was was that evolution adds a capability to a nation. Now, all of a sudden British apologists can spring into action with ready scapegoats whenever they see something about that population that dismays them. When they can’t oppose the very influence they might attribute to this “disgrace” because their sensibilities have been so abraded by corrosive skepticism.

    That sensibility that produced the high evolution score in Britain is the same society that made multiculturalism the path to follow, long before the “Muslims” causing the “disgrace” ever entered the land. It seems awful stupid to pride Britain on its “intellectual” consistency when it can do nothing against the imputed “causes” of the “national disgrace”. Instead, they would prefer to be reactive: “Oh, that’s the Muslims.” If that were true, wouldn’t Dawkins have known enough that his “disgrace” was the result of a different culture, which his culture allows to live there, vote their, and get jobs as high school science teachers?

    Regardless of the real distribution, a defense that conceives of a scenario that makes that defense silly, is self-consistently silly.

  15. Here’s the post I originally wanted to make:

    “1. Dumb down biological science and hide knowledge about the degree of complexity of the cell until children are thoroughly indoctrinated into evolution.”

    Why not? It worked for their fathers.

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