Friday 19 June 2009

Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 6

Two more letters to the editor (below), again supporting reason, science and evidence. It should be clear to the Education Bureau (at least) that there are rational people in Hong Kong who care about the proper teaching of science.

Previous Related Posts:
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 5
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 4
Dismissing Creationism and Intelligent Design part 3

Reference (SCMP; subscription required)

Creationism has no place in the science class


May 29, 2009

I have been following the ongoing debate on the teaching of science and creationism in Hong Kong with interest.

The teaching of intelligent design, now referred to as creationism, has no place in a classroom. We currently have no proof that an intelligent entity created the entire universe. The various arguments put forward by creationists to justify their belief are based on half-baked criticism of the well researched and proven theory of evolution. They provide no hard testable scientific evidence to support their claims. Creationism is therefore not a scientific theory at all.

If creationism is not science, should we be teaching it in a science class? I think not. Firstly, a science class is for teaching science and how science impinges on our daily lives. It is not in the business of giving religious beliefs air time. Secondly, there is no debate to be had, as creationism is not science. Thirdly, to accept creationism into the science class opens the doors to any religious idea independent of any scientific proof. Not only that but, whatever creationist story you choose, you run the risk of offending someone of a different faith. These three points alone should be sufficient to exclude creationism from a science class.


Debate over creationism should be out in the open


Jun 12, 2009

I am writing in response to two recent cases our group (Concern Group of Hong Kong Science Education) encountered regarding the new secondary biology curriculum.

Our group submitted a paper to the Legislative Council on April 16, urging for clarification from the Education Bureau regarding the statement that is the cause of the current row over creationism.

The article "Creationism row hots up as objectors fight" ( Education Post , May 15) mentioned a paper by a group of more than 60 educators, scientists and professionals - dubbed the Creationist 64 - which was sent to the Legco panel. The article argued that creationism was an acceptable topic for inclusion in the biology syllabus.

Recently we learned of another similar submission to Legco by a University of Hong Kong associate professor, Dr Pauline Chiu.
In contrast to our group's transparent approach, these submissions to Legco are not available on the Legco website. As a result, the public has no idea who is approaching Legco about this controversial issue, or what their viewpoints are.

Our group was able to obtain the documents and, to our dismay, we found that both submissions contained misleading information aimed at undermining science. They also contained propaganda concerning creationism and/or intelligent design, ideas which have been debunked (a fact not acknowledged in the paper), and repeated attempts to dilute science to allow supernatural ideas such as intelligent design to be taught in science classes.

The two submissions show many parallels with the behaviour of their counterparts in the USA:

* Attempts to avoid public criticism by preventing the public from seeing their views and their identity. Our group, by comparison, is transparent: our submissions are available for public view and critique; moreover we can be found on Facebook.
* Undermines the definition of science and even avoids mentioning it to allow supernatural ideas be "smuggled" into the science class.
* Failing to be open about their true position and agenda as creationists or proponents of intelligent design - the "Creationist 64" used almost exclusively creationist/intelligent design propaganda but did not reveal that fact in the papers to Legco and the Education Bureau.
* Omitting crucial facts. Dr Chiu omitted the fact that intelligent design embraces supernatural causes - not science - and is unsupported by evidence,
* Not revealing themselves as Christians, who are bound to oppose evolution and support creationism/intelligent design because of their personal beliefs.

We respect Christians and their belief in divine creation by a deity but we strongly oppose their attempt to smuggle personal and religious beliefs into the science classroom and call it science.

To influence legislators and officials in the Education Bureau by such acts is not what we expect in a democratic society such as Hong Kong, especially from "educators, scientists and professionals".

To allow an open discussion, we have put both of their papers on our website

It is unfair in a public debate to hide true opinions from public scrutiny.

We have also issued rebuttals to their papers which are also available on either the Legco website or on our site.

VIRGINIA YUE (convener and spokesperson), Concern Group for Hong Kong Science Education

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