Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Teaching Intelligent Design is the perfect recipe for mass producing suicide bombers!

This is apparently what Harry Kroto (an otherwise intelligent fellow) seriously believes!

The Education Guardian included this extract from Sir Harry Kroto’s (Francis Eppes professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Florida State University) “Can the Prizes Still Glitter? The Future of British Universities in a Changing World” published by Agora.

Do I think there is any hope for UK? I am really not sure. It is beyond belief that in the 21st century, our prime minister and the Department for Education and Skills are diverting taxpayers' money to faith-based groups intent on propagating culturally divisive dogma that is antagonistic to the secular, enlightened philosophy that created the modern world.

It is a scandal that the present system is enabling a car salesman to divert significant government funds to propagate dogma such as "intelligent design" in our schools. State funds are also being used to support some schools that abuse impressionable young people by brainwashing them into believing that non-believers will burn for all eternity in the fires of hell. This policy is a perfect recipe for the creation of the next generation of homegrown and state-educated suicide bombers.

I think there is every likelihood that the lack of scientifically educated and aware young people in the UK will result in ever poorer performance on a global scale, and a takeover by the next generation of young Chinese and Indians, ravenous for the scientific knowledge that will free them from the shackles of present poverty levels. They are being actively encouraged by their governments, who understand that the future lies in a scientific education based on doubt and questioning, rather than on belief.

It is truly disturbing that a well-funded cohort of religious groups - aided, abetted and condoned by the Labour government - is undermining our science education. If they achieve any more success in their subversion of the intrinsic secular safeguards embodied in our democratic institutions and our educational system, there can be no doubt there is major trouble ahead. So my final message is: "Do Panic!"

Harry Kroto is a brilliant scientist. However as an example of what he describes as “the enquiring mindset” he leaves a great deal to be desired with regards to the influence of his own materialist mindset on his convictions about those who disagree with his philosophy.

It is scarcely credible that a well educated scientist feels that he can write such patently ridiculous, offensive, ill informed, vitriolic gibberish.

If he feels as strongly about this as he appears to from this extract then at the very least he ought to get his facts straight! Being passionate about something is one thing. Being passionate about and publishing your passionate rhetoric without checking your facts is the quickest way to make yourself and your cause appear ridiculous.

  1. What evidence is there that a traditional Christian education produces a higher proportion of suicide bombers than an atheistic, materialistic, relativistic one or any other sort of education? Presumably Kroto lumps all religious education together as being equally destructive. If you are religious then you are a secret member of the Taleban. So much for a carefully nuanced and a meticulously researched piece of prose!
  2. What evidence does he have that a particular car salesman is in favour of teaching any intelligent design or creationism in science lessons let alone that he is diverting government funds for this purpose?
  3. What right has he got to claim all the improvements in the modern world as the natural children of “secular, enlightened philosophy” (which presumably means materialism)?
  4. What evidence does he have that there is “brainwashing” taking place in any UK state school?
  5. Since when did the UK become a secular materialist state?

I share Prof Kroto’s concern for improved science education at the university level in the UK. However I do not think that insisting upon an ideological commitment to materialism like the bad old days of the USSR is the way to catch up with the US where there is considerably more creationism and intelligent design than in the UK.

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16 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Andrew,
about your point 2, Sir Harry is no doubt venting his spleen about Sir Peter Vardy and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation. What he thinks his referring to a fellow knight of the realm as 'a car salesman' brings to the argument other than snobbery, who can say?

I would suggest that his remarks about 'diverting significant government funds' is an insult to the teaching profession at large and to OFSTED in particular. How could they let such a thing happen? Perhaps it never happened?

There is a real problem with the numbers of science undergraduates in this country but there would surely be much more mileage in insisting without the histrionics that the nation ought to invest four times as much in each science degree as in each equivalent arts degree. The 'second culture' isn't doing so well here, we ought to do better but with his sideswipes at 'religion' Prof. Kroto has not served his cause well.

4:49 pm  
Anonymous Danuet said...

I'm pretty sure that the 'suicide bombers' part of his statement refers to Muslim/Islamic 'faith' schools.

2:39 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Danuet,

Prof Kroto makes no mention of militant Islam in his piece. He does mention intelligent design and he does refer to state funded schools with a Christian ethos (I assume that the car salesman is Sir Peter Vardy)

If he is targeting money spent on school promoting militant Islam then of course I agree with him but such a position was not at all clear from his article...indeed it looks to me as if he wants Intelligent design and any kind of religious education to be associated with suicide bombing in the minds of his readers.

4:01 pm  
Anonymous Danuet said...

andrew,

It's not clearly stated either way, but he first refers to Vardy (the car salesman) and then "State funds are also being used...non-believers will burn for all eternity in the fires of hell." The burning in hell part of that being in clear reference to militant Islamic teachings.

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6:28 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Danuet,

The burning in hell part does not necessarily refer to militant Islam. It is by no means a clear reference to militant Islam.

6:42 pm  
Anonymous Danuet said...

andrew,

The burning in hell part does not necessarily refer to Rubicon Exotic Passion Fruit Drink either. To me it's a very clear reference to militant Islam. Yeah, 'burning in hell' is also a part of Xtianity, but it isn't touted very often. It's a notion more commonly used to recruit young Muslims to radicalism.

He's not clear, but the 'also' indicates a progression/seperation of ideas. If wanted to link ID to suicide bombings, then I'm sure he would have said something like:

"...as "intelligent design" in our schools. These same schools are abusing impressionable young people by brainwashing them into believing that non-believers will burn for all eternity in the fires of hell."

Thinking about it, your headline is way our of line. The connection is weak at best, and the balance of evidence suggents a reference linking militant Islam to suicide bombings.

He could have been clearer, but then again I don't think that the majority of people who read that article will interpret it with the same XPC (Xtian Persection Complex) which you seem to suffer from.

10:50 pm  
Anonymous honest broker said...

Let me come to Andrew's defence. I attended a talk at Aston University last week in which the speaker drew attention to Kroto's remarks exactly as Andrew portrays them -- mainly as an example of UK hysteria over religious matters. However smart Kroto may be about chemistry, there's no reason to think he knows much about religion. In this respect, Andrew is a bit too polite. It's quite natural to read what he's been quoted as saying as basically lumping together Christianity and Islam as in the business of damning people to hell. It really is no better than a racist slur.

11:12 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Danuet,
If I had produced an article like this:
----It is a scandal that the present system is enabling a popular science writer to divert significant government funds to propagate dogma such as "atheistic secularism" in our schools. State funds are also being used to support some schools that abuse impressionable young people by brainwashing them into believing that non-believers are Ignorant, Stupid, Insane and Wicked. This policy is a perfect recipe for the creation of the next generation of homegrown and state-educated suicide bombers.---

Would you have been as generous to me as you appear to be to Prof. Kroto?

11:25 pm  
Anonymous Danuet said...

andrew,

"Would you have been as generous to me as you appear to be to Prof. Kroto?"

You're not making any sense. We were debating the meaning of what Kroto said, and now you've written something which I take is a stab at how you feel about science education & religion?

Btw, Dawkins didn't say that about non-believers (in what?) he said it about those who claim not to believe in evolution.

10:30 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Danuet,

I was attempting to ask whether you would have been as generous to me if I had put materialism and suicide bombing as closely together as Kroto put ID and suicide bombing.

Perhaps this is a better version:
----It is a scandal that the present system is enabling the diversion of significant government funds to propagate dogma such as "unintelligent origin of life" in our schools. State funds are also being used to support some schools that abuse impressionable young people by brainwashing them into believing that religious people are mentally defective. This policy is a perfect recipe for the creation of the next generation of homegrown and state-educated anti-religious extremists like Pohl Pott and Stalin.---

It is not easy to try and make mirror image paragraph... but that was what I was trying to do and ask whether materialists might legitimately find it offensive.cov

1:33 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Andrew,

Change of topic - I tried to email you but can't spot an address.

Talking of TiS's appetite for the Truth or Science in previous threads, a clear cut example of their duplicitous nature recently came to my attention and is now covered in detail on my blog.

Letters in The Times

Perhaps you will stop trying to defend them as being genuine now?

7:58 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

This story may further explain the professors views.

Such inflamatory talk and "preaching" of hatred is indeed very worrying;

here

8:18 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,

1. Re TiS - I do not think that Chris Preedies letter is a clear demonstration of the "duplicitous nature" of this organisation. I would need to see further evidence before accepting this... for example do we have clear proof that TiS people have actually recieved and read this letter from Chris Preedy?

2. Regarding your last comment I am not sure what you are saying...

As I understand it Danuet's defence of Sir Harry's comments are that he is referring to some Islamic schools recieving state support.

Are you saying that you think he is referring to Christian schools?

9:28 am  
Anonymous Heselbine said...

Funny how you go on about evidence so much.

Maybe you'd like to apply the same standards to Intelligent Design?

12:27 pm  
Blogger Salvador T. Cordova said...

It is not well known, but the guy who Shared the Nobel Prize with Kroto became an ID proponent.

See:
http://tinyurl.com/yoayoq

1:33 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Thanks for that Salvador!

8:42 am  

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