Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Science's Name, get over it.

Yesterday Professor Michael Reiss quit as director of education at the Royal Society following the suggestion that creationism should be "taught" in science lessons. No wait, not "taught" - "discussed". Unfortunately, a fervent bunch of disciplinary fanatics jumped on this, and twisted into the idea that scientists should approve creationism as some kind plausible alternative canon. The fanatics? Other scientists.

Look, science, I don't know who you are, but some of us don't actually have the time of inkling to trail through a quadzillion papers a year to work out just what we should believe. If you want to do that, that's fine with me. But don't start waving fists at other people - including other scientists (because "scientist" is actually a practitioner role, not a spiritual dedication) - just because they might have their own understanding of the world, right? It's a big floating vessel called a censorship, and it's what you have a go at the rest of the world/history for, so you'd probably better just Watch Out unless you want the rest of the world/future to laugh at you like they all did in secondary school.

The Royal Society, to their fearful credit, re-iterated (in the 9th paragraph) that: "if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific."

Discussion is good. Ideas are good. Science is not art. Science is argument. Belief is individual. How we got here is nowhere near as important as how we behave. Including seeing things from another person's point of view.

P.S. There's a hugely interesting discussion to be had about free debate vs the reputation of a society, but I can't be bothered to have it right now. To the pub!

1 comment:

dpash said...

I was a bit concerned at reading the headline of http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7612152.stm at the weekend (Call for creationism in science) until I read the article and it explained that they were advocating explaining why creationism wasn't scientific in science lessons rather than just ignoring it. I'm a bit shocked that he's resigned after his comments. Seems scientists aren't any less fanatic than the god botherers.