Monday 9 February 2009

Teach Only Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau supports the teaching of alternative explanations to evolution, according to reports in the South China Morning Post on Saturday Feb 7. This suggests schools may be allowed to bring creationism, or its contemporary successor intelligent design, into classrooms. Evolution by natural selection is Charles Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and fully deserves to be in the biology class because it is real science. Creationism and intelligent design do not deserve to be in the biology class because they do not follow the same rules of science, and are therefore labelled as pseudoscience.

Here’s where critical thinking can keep out religious beliefs. Lumping creationism and ID in with evolution is a weak argument due to the use of faulty analogy. The faulty analogy supposes that a watch is an object of beautiful complexity with many parts precisely arranged to achieve a specific purpose known to the watch’s designer. Similarly, the universe has beautiful complexity with numerous parts precisely in place as if arranged by a master plan. Therefore the universe must also have a designer.

With critical thinking, we can see that with faulty analogy the things compared are not sufficiently similar in relevant ways. Here’s an example of a faulty analogy:
Kangaroos are warm-blooded mammals, nurture their young, and have joeys.
Humans are warm-blooded mammals and nurture their young.
Therefore humans have joeys.

This is why creationism and ID cannot be compared to evolution by natural selection because they are not sufficiently similar in relevant ways.

Related links:

Obama on faith & values

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