|ID debate in Liverpool|
The teaching of intelligent design is a hot topic in Liverpool since Nick Cowan, a science teacher at one of the City's top schools, wrote a letter to the Education Secretary in support of Truth in Science .
As reported on the BBC website, Mr Cowan warmly commended Truth in Science materials. He pointed out that they fit well with new GCSE specifications that require children to be exposed to scientific debate.
The story was taken up by the local press. A report in the Liverpool Daily Post claimed that Mr Cowan's school was "under attack" in a "religion or science debate".
Missing entirely the evidential basis of intelligent design, and the limited nature of its conclusions, the Daily Post claimed that intelligent design is simply "religion" and Cllr Paul Clein, Liverpool's executive member for education, "branded the theory as little more than religious doctrine dressed up as a scientific theory".
To their credit, the Daily Post commisioned a debate feature to explore the issue further. Local headmaster Brian Christian was commissioned to give a negative answer the question "Should Intelligent Design be taught in school science lessons?" Richard Buggs of Truth in Science was asked to give the positive view.
Unfortunately, the two answers were published both in print and online under a very different question: "Should religion be part of science teaching?" This made it appear as if Truth in Science advocates teaching religion in science lessons, which it does not. Intelligent design is based solely on evidence from the natural world, and so has its place firmly in science and not religion.
The online edition of the paper has now been corrected, and we have been assured that a correction will also appear in the newspaper's print edition. The positve and negative answers to the question: "Should Intelligent Design be taught in school science lessons?" can be found here (positive) and here (negative).
The newspaper is also currently holding an online vote on the issue.
...next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: "What kind of evidence is there for that?"
Richard Dawkins (2003), Oxford University.