Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Interesting Debate

This post is a slight aside from our regular investigations into the credibility of the "British Centre for Science Education". If you came here for that, skip over this one!

There was an interesting program on Premier Radio 10 days ago, on Justin Brierley's "Unbelievable" program. In it, an advocate each for evolution and for intelligent design debate their positions. It is billed as follows:

We revisit the subject of Intelligent Design and Evolution with special guest Dr. Tom Woodward from the USA who has written a history of the Design movement. Pete Hearty of the National Secular Society argues for Darwinian evolution. Will the idea of a "God-like" intelligence behind nature supersede Darwinism?
During the program, Chris Hylands calls in in support of Pete Hearty, and so does Michael Roberts, who is introduced as a vicar. (That's the Chris Hylands who reviewed the materials which the British Centre for Science Education had written to MPs to condemn a few days earlier). Both Hearty and Roberts were members of the British Centre for Science Education.

But I don't want to make anything of that. There's nothing wrong with being involved in more than one organisation. And actually I haven't yet listened to the part of the show where Roberts calls in, so I don't know what he says! Maybe in the interests of transparency he does actually disclose that all three of them have been working in the same group.

I'm flagging this program up only for its interest value - not because it says anything about the BCSE in particular. It is in 3 parts, each around 30 minutes. I have only listened to the first part so far. I found it interesting how often Peter Hearty, as an atheist, resorts to making statements about the legitimate boundaries between science and religion. I found it interesting how often he justified his position from the point of view of a philosophy of religion. It certainly confirmed me in my belief that the debate about evolution is about competing religious ideologies, rather than between a purely objective "scientific" viewpoint and a purely subjective "religious" one.

Have a listen and see who you think makes the better case. Ask yourself too if the debate really bears out the BCSE's argument that there is no real debate. Is that so, or are there real issues here which critical minds - including in schools - ought to be exposed to?

Here's the link. You're looking for the program entitled "Darwin vs. Design": http://www.premier.org.uk/engine.cfm?i=680

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