RE and science

8th June 2007 at 01:00
The Reverend Jan Ainsworth has a position that is probably second to none in influencing education policy for Church of England schools. Her call for intelligent design to be taught in science lessons (TES, June 1) is misguided and naive.

Creationism and intelligent design have been ruled out of science classes because they simply are not science. As she acknowledges, there is already a place to discuss these issues: the proper place, religious education.

Courses in the history of science may discuss William Paley and his ideas, but this is not the new pseudo-science of intelligent design. Having researched the motives behind intelligent design, it is not, despite claims to the contrary, just another scientific approach to solving the question of origins. It was devised by American evangelical Christians as an assault on the teaching of evolution in schools and a bid to bring six-day creationism into science.

Scientific theories explain the observations of scientists. Intelligent design explains precisely nothing. Affording it the same status as a fully developed, testable scientific theory is wrong.

James Williams. Lecturer in science education, University of Sussex, Brighton

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