I love Doonesbury so much:
Dawkins’ documentary last night was damned entertaining, and occasionally painfully revealing. And the science teacher at the Islamic faith school who so totally dropped herself in it has responded:
Science is essentially mankind’s best effort at understanding the workings of the known universe, given our limited resources and intelligence. Learning about science is fun, fantastic and thought-provoking, especially discussions arising around ethical grey areas. However, it is important that children are made aware of the limitations of scientific endeavour lest they be corralled into a realm wherein nothing is worth knowing unless it has been determined by empirical scientific discovery.
If they were encouraged towards that worldview alone, I believe they would be receiving an education devoid of further enrichment from a faith-based narrative. I’m not in the business of wanting young people bereft of the entire canon of human belief systems. That religions have stood the test of time is testament to the human need for something other than that which we can prove or disprove.
As a teacher, I’d be doing my pupils a grave disservice if I insisted that the answers that science can give us should be the limit of our understanding of the world. Kids are bright and don’t need liberating from religion, especially if the alternative is limited to giving credence to atheistic secularism alone. Rather, equip them with all the alternatives and let them work it out for themselves.
I’m aghast at this. She’s debating her confrontation with Dawkins about evolution, which she as a science teacher disputed. I’ll accept (to a point) that history has shown at the very least a predilection for something other than what we can prove or disprove, but that has almost entirely been due to historical ignorance – we haven’t been able to figure out the answers about who we are and how we came to be. Now we can, and for her to say that metaphysics should or could in any way answer how humanity, the earth or the universe came to be is objectively wrong. By all means discuss the issues and run through the debates in a religious education class, but science alone does have the answers to these questions – to suggest there are religious/metaphysical/transcendental alternatives is in small or large measure an attempt to indoctrinate children (as Dawkins says) into believing ‘God’ has answers science doesn’t, thereby contributing to robbing them of the freedom to engage with the world critically.
I personally agree with Dawkins that children do need liberating from religion, at least from their parents’. But my bottom line from Erfana Bora’s argument is this: she is doing her pupils a horrible disservice by suggesting as a science teacher that science doesn’t provide all the answers to our understanding of the world – it does. If she disagrees with the theory of evolution, and suggests for a heartbeat that a religious text has any role in any way in explaining how life on earth has come to be, she shouldn’t be teaching science in a school funded by the British taxpayer. Very simple.
I see so much garbage on the web and Twitter about how evolution is the ‘creation story’ to atheism’s ‘religion’ these days, and it really gets my back up. There’s little more infuriating to me than modern human beings denying reason, science or the proven natural order of things. How anyone can get away with being a religious literalist in this day and age in any society, given the wealth of evidence to back up the science, is completely beyond me. Just today I’ve spoken to a fool who insisted neanderthal man looked just like us, and without any sense of irony.
This video is just one attempt by evolutionary scientists to refute creationism and Biblical literalism, but it’s a good one. Enjoy.
“A society that turns its back on reason and prefers ideology is headed towards some kind of theocracy.” – James L Powell, Ph.D.
Last night the great Richard Dawkins went on the Colbert Report to promote his new book ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Enjoy.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
If you haven’t already, watch (and love) the greatest slapdown of modern Christian fundamentalism I’ve yet seen:
“Your God-rights, Kirk, aren’t given by God but by other people. That’s why when you need to know what liberties you have, you don’t open the Bible, you open the Constitution!”
Cristina is referring to the video former teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron has made for evangelical Christian Ray Comfort, in support of his reissuing of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’ but with a ‘special’ insert (read: one which tries to subvert the theory of evolution). Now I’d love to have a good bitch about the intellectual failures of creationism in general, but Cristina does it far better than I ever could. Just enjoy and have a particularly great time laughing as Cameron rails about the overwhelming prevalence of professors self-identifying as atheists or agnostics amongst university biology and psychology academics. Reason and logic – terrible things, eh?