Intelligent Design Filtering into British Schools as Darwin Debate Intensifies

The debate over Intelligent Design and evolution has come to the forefront of debate in the UK again this week, with science teachers around the country saying that they believe Intelligent Design classes would benefit students.

Published 28 November 2006
The debate over Intelligent Design and evolution has come to the forefront of debate in the UK again this week, with various science teachers around the country saying that they believe Intelligent Design classes would benefit students.

A chemistry teacher at Liverpool's Blue Coat School, Nick Cowan, said information packs on Intelligent Design are extremely useful in debating Darwinist evolution.

Education officials, meanwhile, have said that Intelligent Design, which argues that evolution can in no way explain all creation in existence, and that there must be an intelligent creator behind them, is not officially recognised as science.

The information packs on Intelligent Design have been sent to 5,000 secondary schools by a group of academics, scientists and clerics, called 'Truth in Science'.

The Department for Education and Skills said the packs were inappropriate and not supportive of the science curriculum. A DfES spokesman said: "Neither creationism nor intelligent design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum.

"The National Curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught that the fossil record is evidence for evolution, and how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction."

The Guardian newspaper has reported that the packs, sent out by Truth in Science, are currently being used in 59 schools across Britain.

Cowan, speaking to the BBC, explained that the science taught in today's schools was very much one-sided and ignored any other explanations for creation other that Darwin's evolution theory.

He said, "Darwin has for many people become a sacred cow. There's a sense that if you criticise Darwin you must be some kind of religious nut case. We might as well have said Einstein shouldn't have said what he did because it criticised Newton."

Science in essence only progresses when it reviews and reworks previous theories, said Cowan, adding that the information packs were materials that could brings about a greater and wider understanding of creation.

Cowan was also quick to explain that the packs did not mention 'Creationism' or even 'God', but simply opened up the question whether there could be an answer other than Darwin's teachings.

"The government wants children to be exposed to scientific debate at the age of 14 or 15. All the Truth in Science stuff does is put forward stuff that says here's a controversy. This is exactly the kind of thing that young people should be exposed to," Cowan added.

However, speaking to the BBC against Cowan's packs, the chairman of the parliamentary science and technology committee, Phil Willis, said using the packs in science classes "elevated creationism" to the same level of debate as Darwinism and that there was no justification for that.

He added: "There's little enough time with the school curriculum to deal with real science like climate change, energy and the weather.

"This is quite frankly a distraction that science teachers can well do without."

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