Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Intelligent teaching of intelligent design

A perceptive article in today's Higher Education supplement of The Australian newspaper (not online, sorry) brings me to dip my nervous toe into the ID debate. Should the Intelligent Design approach (summary: that irreducible complexity in biological systems is best explained by a Designer) be taught in high schools—either alongside evolution or on its own?
Without being able to comment on the science, my feeling is yes—but only if the teachers have a grasp of both evolutionary theory, creationism and ID. It is rare to find teachers (wonderful people) who have had the time or inclination to stay up to date with scientific developments, let alone new ideas such as ID. These are not simple, static facts that are being passed on to students—they are profound and complex ideas about life's origins and development.
What is needed is a decent ongoing education option for teachers and syllabus directors where they can step back and consider the content of the material. Is it science? Can the theory be explained to high school students or shoudl it be left for uni? Does it require worldview commitments of students and teachers?
In my part of the world, CASE, along with specialised science and religion groups such as ISCAST will need to step up to this challenge.

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