Re: Peer review and ID

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 15:03:53 EDT

I agree with your analysis of the current purpose of ID, but see even
more problems for Ted's suggestion that more philosophy and history of
science be taught. I'd like to see it, and I certainly wish I knew more
about a host of disciplines. But both time and wits are in limited
supply. It must be over 30 years ago I was told by physics majors at UC
Berkeley that they were told that they could expect to read and
understand only one in five of the articles in the /Journal of Physics/,
which fifth depending on their specialization. It hasn't gotten better

Additionally, which philosophy or history is to be taught? I lived
through the period when philosophy was dominated by logical positivism,
which specified that metaphysics was nonsense and that it was free from
metaphysics. One of the group finally wrote /The Metaphysics of Logical
Positivism/, and the school is essentially totally defunct. Of course,
the popular view in educational circles was Dewey's degenerate
pragmatism. Elsewhere there was a great deal of misunderstood
Existentialism. We can now go with Derrida.

I don't know as much as I would like of the history of science, but I
keep running across reviews noting a whiggish approach that should be
corrected. If the books written by the historians don't get it right, how
is the struggling science teacher to keep up?

I do not see the unanimity in philosophy and history that exists in
scientific disciplines. The problems seem to be in the fringes that still
need exploration--whether string theory or branes are properly
descriptive, for example. Or the precise relations among creatures,
although it is clear that they evolved, with a reasonably correct
description of connections from taxonomy and the fossil record, developed
more precisely through genomics. We can't yet describe a natural process
for the origin of life, but biologists, apart from Creationists and
IDers, recognize intermediate steps in what are claimed to be IC. And
only a minuscule fraction of creatures have been sequenced. Of course we
can always adopt a view as intelligent as those a century and a half ago
who knew that organic chemicals could come only from organisms.

On Fri, 21 Oct 2005 12:51:45 -0400 "Freeman, Louise Margaret"
<> writes:
> I largely agree here and, as a professor in a small liberal arts
> college I
> am naturally a big fan of the contributions the liberal arts make to
> all
> academic disciplines. If I thought the majority of ID proponents
> were
> genuinely motivated by a desire to improve science education by the
> inclusion of more history and philosphy of science topics, I would
> not be
> nearly as concerned.
> Instead, what I see in a religiously-motivated movement to present
> ID as an
> alternative to evolutionary theory and convince students that the
> theory of
> evolution is in crisis* and will soon go the way of the passenger
> pigeon and
> the 8-track cassette player. Virtually no reputable scientists
> believe that
> is the case, and to suggest to students otherwise is to do them a
> disservice.
> A second side effect is to reinforce the notion that science and a
> Christian
> worldview are incompatible, which ultimately hurt both Christians
> and
> scientists.
> Ted wrote:
> > One of the most fundamental problems in science education,
> > IMO, is
> > that there has usually been *too little* attention to "liberal
> arts"
> > aspects
> > of the sciences, such as history and philosophy of science. Now
> that
> > more
> > states are recognizing the importance of those aspects by
> requiring
> > some
> > things from HPS to be taught in schools, it seems suddenly
> backwards to
> > rule
> > out discussing ID simply b/c it has a religious dimension. So
> many
> > other
> > things schools *are* allowed to discuss have religious
> dimensions--the
> > abortion debate, the history of the United States, the civil
> rights
> > movement, etc, etc. etc.
> *Was it just me, or was there a clear subtext in the Dover
> statement: "The
> only reason you gotta learn this evolution stuff is because it's on
> the
> standardized tests!" ?
> __
> Louise M. Freeman, PhD
> Psychology Dept
> Mary Baldwin College
> ton, VA 24401
> 540-887-7326
> FAX 540-887-7121
Received on Fri Oct 21 15:08:48 2005

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