Could Religious Groups Have Say on Science Education?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

@patrick, let me push back. Without changing the scientific content, would it not be good to allow religious organizations to suggest language that is more neutral? They will be more sensitive to how language interacts with their beliefs. Sometimes simple adjustments to words can reduce conflict, without changing the scientific content. Why not allow for those suggestions?

BioLogos: Teaching Evolution to Students of Faith

No, as it should be neutral already and NCSE is self-correcting as seen in the most recent controversy. Having religious organizations to suggest language that is more neutral is usually a facade to insert their religious beliefs, ethics, and values into the textbooks. This is now happening in the area of gender.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

Sure. If that is the case, it would be rejected. However, what is the harm in asking for their suggestions? If they gave good suggestions that did not threaten the science, were not proselytizing, and reduced conflict…it would be win-win, right? Of course, scientists should control science education, and have ultimate say. However, it just seems neighborly, wise, and kind to avoid avoidable conflict.

There has already been precedence of this too…no church-state issues provoked, for the record.

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If some one is really interested in the exact wording of science textbooks they can work within NCSE to suggest wording changes. Even the textbook publishers accept comments and changes. But blatantly religious oriented or biased comments and suggestions must be ignored. And this includes the more subjective issues of morals, and values.

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #5

That is all I was suggesting. That means, also, that thoughtful religious voices can have a say in science education, even if their say is not the final say.

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Sure, I am sure that there are many thoughtful Christians in NCSE. It is easy to join NCSE. I am not a member but I participate through Dawkins’ TIES (Teachers Institute for Evolutionary Sciences).

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #7

I agree. So then, this was incorrect…


The key distinction is individual members (and guests) working inside NCSE who have an interest in science education vs. outside religious organizations with stated purely religious purposes.