Monday 25 May 2009

Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 4

These cretinists and IDiots will not back down. When provided with reason, science and evidence that clearly dismiss their claims, they still refuse to accept how fallacious and dishonest their stance is. This is why Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist and aetheist) has vowed to never publicly debate with proponents of creationism and intelligent design. Perhaps Hong Kong might well consider this tact too? Difficult though, I know.

Also, there is a further danger when being moderate about people’s religious views (see 2nd SCMP article below regarding the professor(s) attempting to appease or pander to the religious). Give them an inch and they’ll take, er, the whole planet!

Previous Related Post: Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 3

Reference (SCMP)

Creationism row hots up as objectors fight back
Group of 64 takes on the Facebook 400

Liz Heron
May 15, 2009

The row over teaching creationism in school biology lessons has intensified after 64 people signed a statement calling for controversial curriculum guidelines to be retained.

The group, which includes 40 academics and seven teachers, lodged its plea with the Legislative Council's education panel this week, just a month after another opinion group backed by hundreds of supporters called for the guidelines to be scrapped.

The groups were formed after four scientists at the University of Hong Kong accused the Education Bureau of tacitly encouraging the teaching of creationism through its guidelines for the new senior secondary curriculum.

A clause in the biology guide states: "In addition to Darwin's theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life."

Initially, the bureau declined to answer questions about whether teaching of creationism was allowed but after the Concern Group for Hong Kong Science Education pressed the panel to call for the guidelines to be tightened up, it released a statement on the issue to RTHK's The Pulse.

The TV programme carried the following comment from the bureau: "Creationism is not included in the biology curriculum framework, nor is it considered as an alternative to Darwin's theory."

But now the group of 64 is calling for the clause to be retained in its original form, arguing it is "stimulating, balanced, non-biased and has worked well for Hong Kong as well as being consistent with the 3+3+4 reform". The group, which includes the Open University's dean of science and technology Ho Kin-chung, St Paul's Co-educational College principal Anissa Chan Wong Lai-kuen and HKU physicist Chris Beling, claims there is no universally accepted definition of science, while there is still controversy over Darwinian theory.

Spokesman Stephen Tsui Kwok-wing, a molecular biologist at Chinese University, said: "Good education is not just a matter of learning facts but also includes the process of learning to critically think through issues."

Professor Tsui cited the complexity of living organisms today and gaps in the fossil record as examples of evidence not compatible with the Darwinian theory of evolution. "It is well known that in the Cambrian explosion many species appeared at the same time," he said. "It is not compatible with the dogma of random mutation in natural selection."

But HKU science faculty board chairman David Dudgeon, one of the four scientists calling for the guidelines to be changed, said: "There is no controversy over evolution. These people manufacturing controversy are simply mischief makers."

The Concern Group, which now has more than 400 members on Facebook, held a meeting last night to prepare a rebuttal to the group of 64.

The education panel resolved at its meeting on Monday to call on the bureau to provide a position paper before scheduling a debate.

Creationism 'should not be taught'

Elaine Yau
May 15, 2009

Paul Chu Ching-wu says there is no room for the teaching of creationism in local schools.

He made the comment following his talk at the HKCEC science forum.

The age-old standoff between science and religion was one of the many topics covered in the exchange.

While saying that he did not believe science and religion necessarily had to clash, Professor Chu said there was no room for religious indoctrination in science lessons.

"Even the United States is moving away from the teaching of intelligent design in biology lessons now," he said. "There are many unknown things in this world. Should we teach them all?"

Professor Chu recognised the role of religion in civilisation. "Knowledge is infinite. Human life is limited. There's no way for humans to study everything. Religion will always exist alongside science," he said.

Professor Yang also said he thought science and religion could complement each other.

"There's a limit to what we can understand through academic studies," he said. "My views on religion have undergone some changes over the years. When I was young, I thought I could do many things and academic studies were unlimited. As I grow older, I discover academic studies have limits, no matter how successful they are."

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