Science - Evolution versus ID ... again

8th May 2009 at 01:00

Prompted by the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, the 150th anniversary, of his seminal work On the Origin of Species, or changes in how science is taught, the debate about evolution versus intelligent design has heated up.

Last week, St Andrews University played host to a public lecture by Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island - a distinguished cell biologist, practising Christian and writer of American biology school textbooks. In the James Gregory lecture on science and religion, he made the case in favour of the scientific integrity of evolution.

Professor Miller argued that there was a place for pupils to be taught about ID theories, but not as part of the science curriculum. "The goal of the intelligent design movement," he said "is indirectly to tell students that either you turn your back on the faith that you've been brought up with, in order to embrace the scientific main-stream or, to be true to your faith, you have to reject modern science. That's a false choice. It does disservice to religion and to science, and is a terrible way to proceed with scientific education."

Simultaneously, a UK version of a textbook written by five American scientists and scientific writers has been published, giving the arguments for and against "neo-Darwinism". The authors of Explore Evolution say they have used an "enquiry-based" approach to allow students to follow "the process of discovery, deliberation and argument that scientists use to form their own theories".

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