Home » Intelligent Design » UK Organization Promoting the Teaching of Scientific Criticisms of Darwinian Theory

UK Organization Promoting the Teaching of Scientific Criticisms of Darwinian Theory

Over at Evolution News and Views there is a notice about a new organization in the UK, Truth in Science, that seeks “…to promote good science education in the UK. Our initial focus will be on the origin of life and its diversity.”

From their website:

For many years, much of what has been taught in school science lessons about the origin of the living world has been dogmatic and imbalanced. The theory of Darwinian evolution has been presented as scientifically uncontroversial and the only credible explanation of origins. This is despite the National Curriculum which states:

“Pupils should be taught… how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence (for example, Darwin’s theory of evolution). The National Curriculum for Key Stage 4 Science (Sc1: Scientific enquiry).”

It should be interesting to follow the debate in the UK. I’d be curious to learn what the educational policy and political environment is like in the UK concerning this issue.

We might want to include a link here at UD to Evolution News and Views (http://www.evolutionnews.org/). It’s a great resource for keeping up with news from the front lines.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

20 Responses to UK Organization Promoting the Teaching of Scientific Criticisms of Darwinian Theory

  1. [off-topic]
    I like the new website layout, but where did the link to the dashboard go?

  2. I added a link to the dashboard on the sidebar under “links”. Sorry about that.

  3. But isn’t “teaching the controversy” only an American phenomena, like many Darwinists believe? What are Christian fundamentalists doing in the UK?!!

  4. Hey, do you think they will let us teach the controversy in the US.

  5. “What are Christian fundamentalists doing in the UK?!!”

    There are Christian fundementalists in most countries. In the UK the opposition to evolution comes form a small group of young earth creationists.

    As for the UK science curriculum, it works very different from the US, it is set by the department of education. The only way to get something taught is either to be in a position to influence government policy, or for it to become accepted science.

  6. Chris,
    Yeah, I was aware that there are Christian Fundamentalists everywhere (even in Lisbon!). My point was only to say that, unlike what many Darwinian priests think, opposition to Darwinism is not only an American phenomena. As Denton says in his book, there have always been people (scientists included) who have been skeptical of evolutionary claims.

  7. there have always been people (scientists included) who have been skeptical of evolutionary claims.

    Sure. But “evolutionary claims” is an extremely broad notion. This could include gradualism (a thesis about the tempo of evolutionary change), the importance of mutation and selection (a thesis about the mechanism of evolutionary change), etc. Here are some cases:

    1) One might deny that all evolutionary change is gradualistic. Does that mean that one is “skeptical of evolutionary claims”?

    2) One might deny that mutation and selection are sufficient to explain all evolutionary change, but nevertheless think that other factors can nevertheless be accomodated within a broadly naturalistic framework. Does that mean that one is “skeptical of evolutionary claims”?

    3) Or one might deny that mutation and selection are sufficient to explain all evolutionary change, and also hold that whatever else is necessary cannot be accomodated within metaphysical naturalism. (I take this to be the ID position.)

    4) Finally, one might deny that “macroevolutionary” change occurs at all.

    It strikes me as an abuse of language to lump such different cases together as “skepticism about evolution.”

  8. Carl,

    1) One might deny that all evolutionary change is gradualistic. Does that mean that one is “skeptical of evolutionary claims”?

    Since “gradualism” historically has been one of main evolutionary claims, I see no reason as not to qualify those who disagree with this claim as people who are skeptical of evolutionary claims

    2) One might deny that mutation and selection are sufficient to explain all evolutionary change, but nevertheless think that other factors can nevertheless be accomodated within a broadly naturalistic framework. Does that mean that one is “skeptical of evolutionary claims”?

    Yes.

    It strikes me as an abuse of language to lump such different cases together as “skepticism about evolution.”

    It’s no abuse at all. The fundamental claims of Darwinism are that all adaptive systems present on earth are the result of a totally naturalistic, unguided, random (trial and error) process, filtered by non-random death (“natural selection”). Once you question any of those tenents (specially naturalism, or the assumption of randomness), you are “skeptical of evolution”. Further more, I think that people in this blog understand which model of evolution ID is against.

  9. The fundamental claims of Darwinism are that all adaptive systems present on earth are the result of a totally naturalistic, unguided, random (trial and error) process, filtered by non-random death (”natural selection”). Once you question any of those tenents (specially naturalism, or the assumption of randomness), you are “skeptical of evolution”.

    I’m not happy with this formulation, because it obfuscates important distinctions. On this formulation, punctuated equilbrium, complexity theory, intelligent design, and creationism are all treated under a single category.

    In some sufficiently broad sense, it’s true that Steven Jay Gould, Stuart Kauffman, William Dembski, and Henry Morris are all “skeptical of evolutionary claims” — but that sense is so broad as to become vacuous.

    It’s true in the same sense that Clinton and Lenin are both left-of-center — crucially important distinctions are left out, and as a result, the blade of critical thought becomes dulled.

    Further more, I think that people in this blog understand which model of evolution ID is against.

    The “everyone knows what I mean” line isn’t going to work with me. I’m pushing you on this because I want you to think more clearly and more carefully.

  10. Why don’t we use the defintion of evolution that the NDE people use. Namely, that evolution is a change in the allele frequency of a population over time. There is nothing about ID or any other approach to changes in life forms that would be upset with it.

    The most common cause of a change in the allele frequency from what I understand is genetic drift which has nothing to do with natural selection. It is pure population genetics working itself out over time. There are some cases of natural selection operating that have caused changes in the allele frequency, for example the famous finches and moths but these are trivial in the real debate.

    We are not interested here in how changes in allele frequency change over time but what produces new alleles. If we decide on a common defintion then we can talk about what causes new alleles to appear and if rm + ns or some other mechanism is robust enough to explain all the occurences of new alleles. So what I am saying is that we may not be arguing about evolution at all but what are the mechanisms that produce new alleles.

    Why separate this out into various categories but instead just debate what causes new alleles and what evidence is there for each potential cause. NDE would be on equal footing with any other mechanism and we can see where the evidence leads. Other mechanisms besides NDE and ID have been presented here.

    An aside, from what I understand, punctuated equilibriuum does not hypothesize a mechanism different from NDE but says it happens faster than people expect when populations get isolated. The larger the population the less likely changes will occur so changes in isolated small populations will just happen faster but still be gradual and be the result of NDE.

  11. Carl writes

    “I’m not happy with this formulation, because it obfuscates important distinctions. On this formulation, punctuated equilbrium, complexity theory, intelligent design, and creationism are all treated under a single category. ”

    Welcome to the world of ID where we are all lumped together as fundamentalists and creationists in a tuxedo. See how it feels to have no voice to respond to what you see as unfair labling? At least the NDE side have plenty of journals to fill with what they want to say. They never publish objections from ID people who make distinctions between YEC and ID. To them we are all the same.

  12. Welcome to the world of ID where we are all lumped together as fundamentalists and creationists in a tuxedo.

    Of course I see the point, but that’s not quite fair to me. I’ve never said or implied that there was no difference between ID and creationism.

    Besides which, the fact that distinctions are not generally recognized is no reason not to make them.

  13. In the UK we certainly “teach the controversy”. The controversy taught is Darwin vs Lamarck…

  14. Other mechanisms besides NDE and ID have been presented here.

    jerry,
    You seem to imply that ID is mechanistic theory. I’m curious about your thoughts on this because a) I’ve never seen an ID proponent say anything about how new alleles are formed and b) Dr. Dembski himself has said repeatedly that ID is not a mechanistic theory.

  15. “Yeah, I was aware that there are Christian Fundamentalists everywhere (even in Lisbon!). My point was only to say that, unlike what many Darwinian priests think, opposition to Darwinism is not only an American phenomena.”

    Im pretty sure that wherever there are Religious fundamentalists there is opposition to evolution.

    “So what I am saying is that we may not be arguing about evolution at all but what are the mechanisms that produce new alleles.”

    Fair enough, I think that describing evolution as changes in frequencies of alleles is a bit restrictive. There are also several mechanisms described for the formation of new alleles that have been described.

  16. mjb2001,

    All ID says is that certain things in the universe are best explained by the concept of design by an intelligence. The link that is usually there on the side to the exact definition we use is no longer there. So I will have to find it on a past thread.

    As such ID accepts any naturalistic explanation for any event in the universe for which there is evidence. ID has no problem with naturalistic explanations but says that some events seem to lack a naturalistic explanation. Since the discussion was on the definition of evolution, I was trying to make the point that the discussion was really on the wrong issue and the definition of evolution is not an issue but that the discussion should be on the origin of new alleles and by extrapolation, the origin of life itself which is the creation of a genome and its alleles. Also by implication there is the creation of a lot more than new alleles such as the creation of new sequences in the genome that control the expression of alleles.

    There is no controversy on the NDE definition of evolution. Where the controversy arises in how are new alleles created. This is really the issue that ID addresses as well the OOL issue and is really the focus of what is discussed here.

    So nothing is changed by what I said, only how we should look at ID. It gets the controversial term “evolution” out of the debate and focuses on the real issue. As I said elsewhere, NDE is part of ID since ID accepts NDE where it has merit as well as any other naturalistic mechanism that has been shown to work on creating new alleles.

    I think we waste a lot of time on bogus issues.

  17. Hi Carl.

    I’m not happy with this formulation, because it obfuscates important distinctions. On this formulation, punctuated equilbrium, complexity theory, intelligent design, and creationism are all treated under a single category.

    Well, the fact that you are not happy with this formulation is not really my problem, is it?
    Secondly, to my information, Punk-Eek, ID and Creationism are in deed skeptical of the traditional view of evolution. That’s probably why Dawkins hates all of them, him being the most famous living defender of orthodox Darwinism.

    In some sufficiently broad sense, it’s true that Steven Jay Gould, Stuart Kauffman, William Dembski, and Henry Morris are all “skeptical of evolutionary claims”

    I am glad we agree.

    — but that sense is so broad as to become vacuous

    I think that the problem you seem to have is with the “big tent” of anti-Darwinists. Well, if that is in fact so, there’s nothing I can do ro say that can make it more clear.

    Further more, I think that people in this blog understand which model of evolution ID is against.

    The “everyone knows what I mean” line isn’t going to work with me. I’m pushing you on this because I want you to think more clearly and more carefully.

    Let’s see:
    1. You are in an ID blog
    2. ID is not against the ideia of evolution as meaning “change over time”, nor is it against the ideia of “common descent”.
    3. ID proposes that biological systems are the result of real design.

    Adding those together, when ID scientists and/or ID proponents speak against evolution, which model of evolution you think they are up against, when speaking from an ID prespective?
    “I’m pushing you on this because I want you to think more clearly and more carefully” before answering me.

  18. “In some sufficiently broad sense, it’s true that Steven Jay Gould, Stuart Kauffman, William Dembski, and Henry Morris are all “skeptical of evolutionary claims””

    Maybe, but unless Darwinism or NDE are defined in such a way that Gould and Kauffman are Darwinists and the others aren’t then the definitions are useless for a debate about ID.

  19. jerry,

    ” ID has no problem with naturalistic explanations but says that some events seem to lack a naturalistic explanation. ”

    Hence, ID is often referred to as a god-of -the-gaps argument.

  20. Hence, ID is often referred to as a god-of -the-gaps argument.

    Just like RM+NS is often referred to as a darwin-of-the-gaps argument.

    You’re not fitting in with the spirit of our little community here Hawks and your arguments have deteriorated from well constructed to frustrated rants. I’m afraid it’s time for you find another blog.

Leave a Reply