For those who don’t necessarily read the ‘comments’ & so may have missed Heraclides’ heads-up – in the US the education board in Louisiana has made it possible to teach intelligent design in the state’s schools:
On Tuesday, the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted a policy that sharpens those fears, giving teachers license to use materials outside of the regular curriculum to teach "controversial" scientific theories including evolution, origins of life, and global warming. Backers of the law, including the Louisiana Family Forum, say it is intended to foster critical thinking in students. Opponents insist its only purpose is to provide a loophole for creationists to attack the teaching of evolution.
I’d have to say that I agree with those opposing the law. (Well of course, some might say.) And I agree for all sorts of reasons. What I want to comment on here is that wretched word ‘controversial’. I’ve said it before: in the scientific community there is no controversy about evolution. What we’re seeing here is a "manufactroversy". The scientific consensus is that evolution has happened & is happening around us. Scientists may debate the finer details of how this happens (‘punctuated equilibrium’ vs ‘gradualism’, for example, or the relative significance of epigenetics, but they don’t debate the fact of evolution. (And the same could be said for the other manufactroversies mentioned in the Louisiana bill.)
This is simply an attempt to sneak intelligent design materials into the science classroom, rather than a genuine attempt to foster critical thinking skills. There are plenty of ways to do that, using both good science & good educational techniques. (And for those teachers reading this who might be looking around for additional ways to do this within the specific context of evolution, the work of Passmore & Stewart might come in useful.)
Thanks, Heraclides 🙂