Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Email from Centre for Intelligent Design

Centre for Intelligent Design
Beware State-sponsored Darwinian Indoctrination                          March 2014

Dear Dr Law,

When Theos, the London-based public theology think tank, published 'Rescuing Darwin' in 2009 they presented a remarkable statistic.  It was that two hundred years after Charles Darwin's birth in 1809, 'at least half' of the British population is still sceptical about the theory of evolution.[1]  This was consistent with a survey conducted for a BBC Horizon programme in 2006 which put the figure at 52%.

However, Theos was actually being a bit generous with its data.  It was 63% of the population they found to be sceptical about Darwin's theory of evolution.  It does of course depend on the form of the question you ask.  However, more embarrassingly, Theos found that some 51% of the population thought that some form of Intelligent Design (ID) was a credible explanation of origins.[2]

That only 37% of the population in 2009 found evolution convincing led Theos to comment on this 'sorry state of affairs' and Richard Dawkins to speak of a 'worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons'[3].  Time, then, for the ideologues to redouble their efforts to 'rescue Darwin' and sort out the poor souls who just don't get it.  Mind you, with the universities and the media completely on board, you could be forgiven for wondering what else they might do.  If that combination can't get better commitment figures, what could?


Well, schools of course.  Get them when they're young - and the younger the better.  If you give young children a brain-full of Darwinism in nursery and primary school before their critical faculties develop, and then reinforce the message throughout secondary and higher education, you are bound to improve on 37%.  In this context, Philip Johnson's dictum is worth remembering: 'It takes years of evolutionary indoctrination to learn to ignore the evidence of intelligent design that is so apparent before our very eyes'.[4]

And that's precisely what Michael Gove's Department of Education is doing.  Evolution is now being taught in primary schools.  And with a passion that might surprise you.

Take a look, for example, at lesson plans being provided through the Times Educational Supplement by Lou Armour[5], a teacher at Crossflatts Primary School, in Bingley, West Yorkshire.  A collection of some 18 lesson plans begin a 'look at the Genesis account and other creation myths' and is entitled 'I can write a creation myth'.

In the notes to teachers, Mr Armour points out that his approach is not 'creationism or so-called 'intelligent' design in disguise'.  No, no, we didn't think that, Mr Armour.  You're intention is clear - you want to debunk any sense of creation or design children might have learned elsewhere.

Now maybe you think evolution is science.  But you'll quickly find that what Mr Armour, and many others are doing, is not science, but worldview indoctrination.  That's the kind of thing a Government in a liberal democracy should be supressing, not encouraging.

Michael Ruse, a well-known philosopher of science, was not wrong when he asserted:

'Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion - a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint ... the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. ... Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.'[6]

You have to wonder if a Government, in the form of its Department for Education, should be using tax-payers' money to indoctrinate their children in an atheistic and materialistic worldview of which less than half of the population approve.  The line is, of course, that science is not democratic and facts transcend public opinion - except at elections!  But this is not about scientific facts.  It's about a rather far-fetched 'scientific' proposition, namely that life emerged accidentally and developed randomly over billions of years.

But here's a twist in the tale!  Over the last month, researchers on both sides of the Atlantic warned that to avoid discussing 'creationism'[7] in science lessons ran the risk of alienating students from the subject.  What prompted this was research data which suggested that the numbers of pupils who are sceptical about life developing on Earth without an intelligent cause is much higher than many teachers would expect.  Sometimes the pupil is wiser than the teacher!

Alice Roberts, President of the UK Association for Science Education, weighed in, predictably, that with the comment that allowing 'creationism' in science lessons amounted to 'indoctrination' - as clear an example of the pot calling the kettle black as you could get!  To emphasise the point, she called for a blanket ban on the teaching of creationism in science lessons, even in private faith schools.  So much for freedom of expression.

And Richy Thompson, The British Humanist Association's campaigns officer, added:

'While it's clearly not possible to force students to accept evolution ... it still remains the case that evolution is the only explanation we have that is supported by the evidence'

But actually, Richy, it's not.  Evolution is the only explanation if you reject an intelligent cause for the universe, and a not-very-good one at that.  If, however, you are not blinkered by philosophical naturalism, the evidence points to a much better explanation, and that is intelligent design.  And it's important to add that 'intelligent design' is not the same as what is popularly understood by 'creationism'.  ID is based on empirical evidence and is consistent with general scientific methodology.[8]

Science education involves developing pupils' critical thinking.  To do that in the area of origins, pupils have to be introduced to all the possibilities, including the intuitively rational position, for which there is a great body of evidence, that we live in a universe that is designed and has an intelligent cause.

 If you are a parent, teacher, or just have a genuine interest in what is taught in our schools, you need to familiarise yourself with what is being done in your name.  Parents especially should ask teachers and head teachers to show them what is being used in teaching evolution, particularly in primary schools.  You might also consider writing to Directors of Education or to Michael Gove [9], pointing out, that if evolution is to be taught, it should be done objectively as a scientific theory and should be set against the scientific arguments for design such as those from observations of cosmic fine-tuning, molecular machines and genetic information.

It makes you wonder what the educational system is trying to do to our children.  It might destroy any vestige of belief in a Creator and promote secular atheism, but it will certainly not produce open-minded scientists.

Thank you for your continuing interest in our work.

Yours sincerely,Alastair Noble Signature Alastair Noble TN
Dr Alastair Noble
Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design UK

 www.c4id.org.uk
Centre for Intelligent Design
The Wheatsheaf
Speirs Wharf
Glasgow
G4 9TJ    

Additional Features

Read Prof Phillip E Johnson's article, 'Darwinism is Materialist Mythology, not Science', at http://bit.ly/1h0ALpu


PS You may also be interested in the following publications:

1:  Phillip E Johnson The Right Questions - Truth, Meaning & Public Debate
This book, from which a quote has been made above, is available in the UK in a Kindle edition at  £6.39 from Amazon.  Published in 2002, some paper versions of the book can still be obtained.
 
2: My 32-page booklet 'An Introduction to Intelligent Design' is available from info@c4id.org.uk for £2 plus pp.  Discounts of 50% can be obtained on orders of 10 or more. 


[1]  'Rescuing Darwin, God and evolution in Britain today', Nick Spencer and Denis Alexander, Theos and ComRes, 2009, p9
[2] Ibid, p9
[3] www.telegraph.co.uk, 31 Jan 2009
[4] Phillip E Johnson "The Right Questions" - Chapter One "Biology and Liberal Freedom" page 35. Intervarsity Press ISBN 0 -8308-3213-0 - published 2002.
[5] http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Charles-Darwin-and-Evolution/ 26th August 2011, updates 8th Jan 2014
[6] Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 May 13, 2000.
[7] Times Educational Supplement, 21 Feb, 2014  http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6406226
[8] For a fuller discussion of the difference see, 'An Introduction to Intelligent Design', p30, Alastair Noble, 2013, available info@c4id.org.uk
[9] Contact Michael Gove as follows:
Email: ministers@education.gsi.gov.uk
Letter: The Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP, DfE, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT
Please do not reply to this eBulletin email address - it is not normally monitored. However, we are always pleased to hear from you and to ensure we receive your message contact me at alastair.n@c4id.org.uk 
About The Centre for Intelligent Design

The primary aim of the Centre for Intelligent Design (CID) is to promote the public understanding of Intelligent Design (ID) and its implications.

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14 comments:

Jim said...

This is a perfect example of genius and idiocy at work simultaneously. I applaud Dr Noble's ability with language, but his attempts at the justification of creationism being taught in science lessons fall despairingly short. Science is what is taught in science lessons. Religion is taught in R.E.,or R.S., or whatever it's called. His appeals to the tenet of "freedom of expression" actually made me laugh out loud. Creationism has had 2,000 years of freedom of expression, and now that its relentlessly tyrannical yoke is slowly but surely being eased from around our collective neck, and alternatives (which are actually supportable by evidence) are gaining support, he wants to suppress them by claiming indoctrination? Hilarious.
I think Dr Noble may suffer from confirmation bias. There is no other explanation, other than total idiocy (which I would tend to discount), for his position.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of any evidence for ID. Apart from 'cos the bible says so of course. The main problem with ID (apart from the god of the gaps mentality) is the bigger question. What created the creator?
Very quickly you will find it is turtles all the way down.
In short, please understand the difference between science and faith.

Anonymous said...

You... you mean they're educating children? In schools? The horror...

David Thomas said...

"And it's important to add that 'intelligent design' is not the same as what is popularly understood by 'creationism'. ID is based on empirical evidence and is consistent with general scientific methodology."

Who are you going to believe, a book written by a promoter of ID or a court judge like in the Kitzmiller Vs. Dover trial?

Unknown said...

Funny how at the end when he gets to the justifications for his claims as in

"observations of cosmic fine-tuning, molecular machines and genetic information."

the references suddenly dry up.

Anonymous said...

Jim said "There is no other explanation, other than total idiocy (which I would tend to discount), for his position." - why would you discount it. Doctorates are no guarantee of common sense.

Anonymous said...

To put it in terms that ID proponents can understand - Who designed the designer?

Andy Gaffney said...

An Argument from Ignorance.

If this author has a doctorate, then I'm due 2.

Testiculator said...

It's an example of neither genius nor idiocy. It's an example of fractured logic, misrepresentation and outright falsehoods masquerading as a coherent argument.

To offer public ignorance of evolutionary theory as a reason why it should not be taught in schools is ridiculous.

To claim that evolution is promoted as religion is a flat and blatant falsehood.

Evolution is a phenomenon of nature we can observe in action in the natural world and replicate in the laboratory. Evolutionary theory is an explanation for the mechanism of evolution. It is the only scientific theory which makes any sense of much of the sciences of biology and palaeontology. To teach evolutionary theory as science is no more indoctrination as it is to teach theories of gravity as science. Creationism is not an alternative to “Darwinism”. it is a blatantly dishonest attempt to sneak religious dogma into science classes.

This would not be an issue if creationists such as Noble were not demanding that their religious dogma is supported by science and should be taught as science in science classes. This is an issue of science not because scientists demand it, but because that is what creationists demand.

Creationism - which includes, of course, “Intelligent Design” - is not science. To have any validity as science, propositions need to be testable. That means there have to be potential observations or measurements which can not be explained by the proposition. The assertion that “God did it” - or, as the ID proponents might phrase it “ a possibly supernatural intelligent designer, possibly using supernatural methods did it” - set no constraints of possible outcomes. There no potential observation or measurement which could not be “explained” by the action of God (or GIMAID*). if creationists want to have their beliefs taught as science, they need to go through the same processes of research and testing as any other scientific proposition. They don’t get to sneak them into science classes by dishonest means so that they can sell their tawdry dogma to children.

The claim of creationists that anyone who believes in God is one of their own would include some of the most vociferous opponents of creationism. It is a typically dishonest argument. Belief in God is an matter of faith, not science. Although scientists in are more likely to be atheists than the general public, there are still plenty of scientists who believe in God. Unlike creationists, they don’t cheapen their beliefs by claiming the false certainty of science. Science doesn’t offer absolutes. It offers provisional explanations for phenomena which can be observed and measured, and does so with the acceptance that any such explanation is subject to revision or rejection if that it what the evidence demands.

When it comes down to basics, this is an issue of neither science nor religion. It’s an issue of basic honesty. Creationism has no place in schools because it is dishonest.


*”God - I mean An Intelligent Designer”

Richard Forrest said...

It's an example of neither genius nor idiocy. It's an example of fractured logic, misrepresentation and outright falsehoods masquerading as a coherent argument.

To offer public ignorance of evolutionary theory as a reason why it should not be taught in schools is ridiculous.

To claim that evolution is promoted as religion is a flat and blatant falsehood.

Evolution is a phenomenon of nature we can observe in action in the natural world and replicate in the laboratory. Evolutionary theory is an explanation for the mechanism of evolution. It is the only scientific theory which makes any sense of much of the sciences of biology and palaeontology. To teach evolutionary theory as science is no more indoctrination as it is to teach theories of gravity as science. Creationism is not an alternative to “Darwinism”. it is a blatantly dishonest attempt to sneak religious dogma into science classes.

This would not be an issue if creationists such as Noble were not demanding that their religious dogma is supported by science and should be taught as science in science classes. This is an issue of science not because scientists demand it, but because that is what creationists demand.

Creationism - which includes, of course, “Intelligent Design” - is not science. To have any validity as science, propositions need to be testable. That means there have to be potential observations or measurements which can not be explained by the proposition. The assertion that “God did it” - or, as the ID proponents might phrase it “ a possibly supernatural intelligent designer, possibly using supernatural methods did it” - set no constraints of possible outcomes. There no potential observation or measurement which could not be “explained” by the action of God (or GIMAID*). if creationists want to have their beliefs taught as science, they need to go through the same processes of research and testing as any other scientific proposition. They don’t get to sneak them into science classes by dishonest means so that they can sell their tawdry dogma to children.

The claim of creationists that anyone who believes in God is one of their own would include some of the most vociferous opponents of creationism. It is a typically dishonest argument. Belief in God is an matter of faith, not science. Although scientists in are more likely to be atheists than the general public, there are still plenty of scientists who believe in God. Unlike creationists, they don’t cheapen their beliefs by claiming the false certainty of science. Science doesn’t offer absolutes. It offers provisional explanations for phenomena which can be observed and measured, and does so with the acceptance that any such explanation is subject to revision or rejection if that it what the evidence demands.

When it comes down to basics, this is an issue of neither science nor religion. It’s an issue of basic honesty. Creationism has no place in schools because it is dishonest.


*”God - I mean An Intelligent Designer”

Paul P. Mealing said...

Part of the problem with this debate is that people confound philosophy with science, and deliberately so. ID is effectively a God-of-the-gaps argument as it substitutes an Intelligent Designer (God) to explain all the aspects of evolution that science can so far not explain. The sleight-of-hand of Noble's argument is to call this philosophical insertion science. But, as Stephen Jay Gould once said, bringing God into science stops science. Once we introduce God (ID by another name) then there is nothing left to explain. We are effectively saying we have come to the end of science. It is not an alternative science, as Noble asserts, it’s an alternative to science.

Evolution appears teleological, yet it’s not, it’s chaotic. Chaotic phenomena are deterministic yet unpredictable (by definition) because they are dependent on initial conditions that can never be empirically determined and evolution is classically chaotic. Again, to quote Stephen Jay Gould, if you were to re-run the universe you’d get a different result.

The development of every individual organism is teleological, however, as its structure and function is completely determined by instructions in its DNA. This is the kernel of biological life and evolution, and both the genesis and evolution of DNA remains one of nature’s mysteries. It’s for this reason that ID advocates believe they have a foothold on evolutionary science. But God is not a scientific explanation and never will be; it’s effectively a defeatist position.

There is an assumption, often made by both sides of this debate, that we know everything there is to know about evolution, when we don’t.

Anonymous said...

Spot on, Alistair. What next: 10 mins. on the naughty step for pointing out that ID theorists correctly predicted that junk DNA was functional? Two hours detention for mentioning the Darwinists' hilarious volte face on this issue, subsequently claiming that this is precisely what neo-Darwininsm would have predicted?

Philip Rand said...

Paul...if Evolution is random...then how come the "eye" has independently evolved twice????!!!!!

Philip Rand said...

Essentially, whether one views the issue with an ID hat or a science hat...at root both positions are based on causality, i.e. the ability to predict future events based on "laws"...and one of these laws is the law of causality, that cannot be proved a priori or a posteriori...it's simply a given...without it both camps would be lost!

I mean, one could believe the idea of an Ideal Spirit is worthless because it is illogical...

But, the problem with this is that alot of scientific theries looked illogical at start...

What is interesting is that recent cognitive brain research appears to indicate that ones position on these types of issues is not based on any cognitive reasoning, i.e. critical thinking but rather are inate in each individual regardless of the amount one thinks about "issues"...

You as an individual may think your are making a rational decision based on evidence...but you are not...

So far, there appears correlations on how ones brain wired whether one is right-wing or left-wing politcally...

So much for the idea of "critical-thinking" being a useful concept...it is simply an illusion...