Saturday, January 27, 2007

 

Britain boosts intelligent-design debate

London UK - British teenagers may soon be debating creationism and intelligent design in religion classes that give equal time to the Darwinists and atheists who reject these views of the world's origins.

Newly published school guidelines reflect the growing influence of a bitter battle over evolution being waged on the other side of the Atlantic, by conservative American Christians who want to put God back into the secular state school system.

The guidelines, issued by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, place the issue firmly in religious education class, rather than the science classes where American intelligent-design proponents want it to be handled.

Continued at "Britain boosts intelligent-design debate"

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A search for "Atheism" at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority website returned:

How can we answer questions about creation and origins? Learning from religion and science: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Atheism - Year 9

About the unit

This unit suggests activities that can be used in teaching and learning about creation and origins. It can be adapted to local circumstances and for different age groups. It illustrates the provision of the non-statutory national framework for religious education (RE) and can be used or adapted to deliver an agreed syllabus or other guidelines. This unit focuses on creation and origins of the universe and human life and the relationship between religion and science. It aims to deepen pupils’ awareness of ultimate questions through argument, discussion, debate and reflection and enable them to learn from a variety of ideas of religious traditions and other world views. It explores Christianity, Hinduism and Islam and also considers the perspective of those who do not believe there is a god (atheists). It considers beliefs and concepts related to authority, religion and science as well as expressions of spirituality. Pupils have opportunities to discuss, question and evaluate important issues in religion and science. They also have opportunities to reflect on and evaluate their own beliefs and values, and the beliefs and values of others, in relation to questions of truth and purpose. This unit can be adapted for other religions - using responses from other religious traditions to the key questions, including accounts from scientists who are members of that religious tradition and sources of authority such as sacred texts - according to your agreed syllabus or other guidelines. The unit should take six to seven hours.

Other excerpts:

1) Future learning

Pupils could go on to:

*investigate and role-play particular disputes between religion and science, eg Galileo, Darwin and Dawkins, and particular meeting points between science and religion, eg Einstein, Teilhard de Chardin

*explore and write about attitudes to science and religion in Islamic and other cultures

*study a GCSE unit on an aspect of religion and philosophy.

2) The pupils should understand the terms used in discussions of the origin and purpose of the universe and human existence. High-achieving pupils can research debates around creationism and intelligent design themselves. They should make use of published materials that seek to offer support in the teaching of science and religion at key stages 3 and 4, especially those that set out many of these views for classroom use.

3) Resources (Sample selection)

A devil's chaplain: Selected writings (Amazon Astore UK | US) - this resource is available from the World of Richard Dawkins website.

A guide to science and belief – by M Poole (1997) this publication addresses the view that science and belief are in conflict.

The Christian Bible: Genesis 1 - 3 - includes the text that Christians associate with the
creation of the universe.

[1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.]

The Qur'an: Surah 25:59, 7:54-56, 21:30-33 - some of the texts that Muslims associate with the creation of the universe.

[25:59. He Who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between, in six days, and is firmly established on the Throne (of Authority): Allah Most Gracious: ask thou, then, about Him of any acquainted (with such things).

7:54. Your Guardian-Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority): He draweth the night as a veil o'er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!

21:30. Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

21:31. And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them, and We have made therein broad highways (between mountains) for them to pass through: that they may receive Guidance.

21:32. And We have made the heavens as a canopy well guarded: yet do they turn away from the Signs which these things (point to)!

21:33. It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.

7:55. Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds.

7:56. Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good.]

British Humanism Association - this association’s website offers materials for teaching and learning about Humanism.

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Recent posts include:

"Intelligent Design: Let us test Darwin, teacher says"

"Creation vs Darwin takes Muslim twist in Turkey"

"Government department rejects creationist infiltration of science teaching"

"Godless Dawkins challenges schools"

"'Intelligent Design' attack on UK school science (BBC)"

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