Monday, December 24, 2007

Arguments VIII - Critical Analysis

Here is yet another attempted end run by the Discovery Institute. Rather than push directly for Intelligent Design, they try and run around the school boards by pushing for a critical analysis of Evolution. They do this with their artificially sweet smiles claiming this is good science and good for science and normally intelligent school board members and politicos fall for this line. But it is a line! You see it just sounds like a good idea and in an attempt to be politically correct or appearing like you are not advancing a personal belief, you push for it. But either you are pushing a personal agenda or you are falling for a line!

Here is what is wrong! All science is about critical analysis! It is central to science and central to most school standards to teach it embedded in the entire curriculum. So there should be no reason to call for critical analysis against any one scientific theory. If the school standards include this as part of the curriculum and if a teacher isn't teaching critical analysis of all theories, that is ground for firing a teacher. It might also be grounds for changing the standards if they do not include critical analysis of the entire curriculum. One aspect of teaching science should be working on HOW the theories came to be, not from a historical perspective, but from the methodological, and you can't teach scientific methodology without critical thinking and analysis!

So if that's true, why would groups like the Discovery Institute be pushing a critical analysis of evolution? It's actually quite simple. A science has proved, nature abhors a vacuum. So if they can weaken the teaching of evolution, they believe they can use that as a wedge into the science classroom. "Oh look, you are critically analyzing evolution, well to do that well, you have to include alternatives -- like Intelligent Design. Oh you don't need to change the standards, since it's part of critical analysis!" You see the end run attempt?

As found in the Dover trial pointing out such special 'attention' to a single subject also has the result of weakening any discussion about the theory in the eyes of the students. So they not only get a wedge into the class, but they can further weaken any discussion of Evolution. I guess they would call it a "two-fer".

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