Friday, January 8, 2010
RDF TV - "Teach the Controversy" - A.C. Grayling
Transcription by me (if you find errors, correct me please. I'm not a native English speaker):
It is sometimes argued that in educating people school and university level, they ought to be aware of the fact there are differences of opinion, there are controversies about things. Take for example biological evolution and in USA and some other places in the world too, there is opposition to the idea of biological evolution, people have ideas about creationism or intelligent design. The argument is that these should be thought too.
Let's broaden the picture a little bit here and ask whether this means that if you are teaching astronomy in school, you should also teach astrology or in medical schools that ancient theory of demon possession should be thought and so on.
And the minute you broaden the conversation, and that way you begin to see that in fact, trying to be inclusive and fair and to have all sides of the argument, all the objections some people might raise to something is in fact going to interrupt and deeply pollute the educational process.
Very best, most disciplined researchers about the world, across the range natural sciences, in social sciences, in humanity history for example and equipped people with a good solid main stream understanding of these things and if that's done well and if they pick up these things, they will understand why it is going to be waste of time and distraction, if they are studying meds for example to learn about ancient demon possession or they are studying astronomy to learn also astrological influences allegedly of the stars. They'll begin to realize why that is the case, but very often this is distraction.
In the particular case of evolutionary theory in biology and alleged competitor theories, the intelligent design so on, it is only because institutionalization of those views the fact that the church is still existing religion still is a major factor in human society, the people think that is respectable competitor, when you broadened the picture, you see it isn't.
My own answer to the question should these controversies be thought as part of education, they are certain should not to be thought as part of science education, there may be an occasion in the civics class, or at one point in history class or sociology class, where they may come up but they're not serious competitors to genuine inquiry and they ought not to be given the validation of being so.
Also watch: The Unconsidered Life - A.C. Grayling
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