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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Monday, May 07, 2007

Evolution becomes fact.

"For many years it was possible to doubt the validity of Darwin's theory, but skepticism is not a tenable position today."

Cynthia Russett, Darwin in America 1976, p210

When did this transition take place? What were the key discoveries that resulted in this transition?