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February 23, 2006

How evolution can save lives

Times Online - Junk medicine: creationism
by Mark Henderson


How evolution can save lives

The creationist movement, and its cloak of “intelligent design” theory, is usually seen in Britain as a peculiarly American phenomenon. Most of us are relieved that our schools have not had to fight off a lobby seeking to deny the facts of evolution and enforce teaching of theocratic dogma in its place.

A recent poll for the BBC’s Horizon programme, however, suggests that Britons of a scientific bent would be unwise to be complacent. A surprising four people in ten, it found, think that religiously inspired alternatives to evolution should be taught in the science classroom.

The survey probably overestimates support for creationism, but on the eve of Darwin Day — the 197th anniversary of the great man’s birth is tomorrow — it is a reminder that Britain is not immune. Whether it is city academies adding God to science lessons, or columns pushing intelligent design in The Daily Telegraph, creationism is seeking to establish a British foothold.

This must be resisted, chiefly because introducing faith to science, a discipline based on experiment and evidence, undermines the critical thinking that education should promote. But the practical consequences of evolution denial are worth considering, too. Prominent among them is the effect it has on health. It is impossible to understand biology, and therefore medicine, without a good grasp of evolution.

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1 Comments:

Blogger allygally said...

"Whether it is city academies adding God to science lessons, or columns pushing intelligent design in The Daily Telegraph, creationism is seeking to establish a British foothold."

I had very slight run in with the opinion editor of the DT. I sent a mail slating Steve Fuller's nonsense. They didn't publish, which was fine, it was very long. But I engaged him in email chat. He didn't sem to even understand the various positions. it was just a "right-wing" thing. Knock the liberals, as he saw it.

"This must be resisted, chiefly because introducing faith to science, a discipline based on experiment and evidence, undermines the critical thinking that education should promote."

Amen to that. This journalist seems more clued up.

"But the practical consequences of evolution denial are worth considering, too. Prominent among them is the effect it has on health. It is impossible to understand biology, and therefore medicine, without a good grasp of evolution."

The prospect of practicing doctors without a sound grasp of the scientific method is truly dispriting.

2:25 pm  

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