Monday 16 February 2009

Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design

It took the South China Morning Post a week to return to discussing evolution and creationism. This is probably because the debate in the newspaper is restricted to the weekly Education Post section, which pops up every Saturday. Despite this delay, it is encouraging that the education section published four letters that were all against creationism [referenced here]. There were no letters supporting creationism or intelligent design, which is amazing considering the media’s customary dispensation of giving equal views inappropriately. However, there’s always next week! So I won’t be too surprised if next week there are letters from closed-minded people who support the idea of a supernatural being or aliens who have messed about with the DNA of various organisms on Earth at various times in Life’s 3.5 billion year history.

One important and common issue amongst the four letters is they all (mentioned in various guises) supported teaching critical thinking to children. I agree. We should be teaching people from a young age *how* to think and not *what* to think.

In other words (to paraphrase the Teach a Man to Fish proverb), we should teach people how to catch and eat fish, rather than to simply use up our limited resources to buy a fish from a fisherman or supermarket, take it home then clean, gut, de-scale, de-bone and fillet the fish, poach the fish fillets in a white wine, butter and parsley sauce, present it beautifully on a silver platter and then proceed to spoonfeed the dish to someone who knows nothing about catching and preparing fish.

I fully support teaching critical thinking skills, especially to children.

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