Friday, May 9, 2008

Expelled

So, the new movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed has gotten some attention in the bloggernacle. Not having seen the movie, I'm not sure it's appropriate to comment on it specifically, but the reviews I've seen of the movie make me suspect there's not much of a chance it'll be anything more than drivel. The most unfortunate thing about the movie in my mind is that there are a lot of people who will believe after watching this that ID really is being ignored, or worse, squelched by the scientific community. Alright, maybe we do ignore it. After all, it's not science, and it's not particularly interesting. You can't test it, you can't disprove it, and it's just not a satisfying explanation for why things are the way they are in the same way that other, more scientific explanations are.

Several people in the T&S post linked to above suggested we should "teach the controversies within evolution as a way to teach critical thinking about science." Great idea. Too bad rigorous examination of the controversies between evolutionary thinkers are so nuanced you pretty much have to have a college degree to critically examine them.

I'm not at all against teaching kids to think critically--actually, I think critical thinking is an essential skill that should be emphasized more. I just don't think evolution is the place to teach it. Math is a much better place to start. Teach kids to use math and physics to answer questions, and teach them some of the basic natural laws that govern the world around us, and then let them evaluate claims that are thrust on them by uncomprehending journalists and unscrupulous businesses. Teach them to question, but do it by asking them to prove things to be true so they understand what the burden of proof really is. Don't just tell them, "it's because God said so."

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