A.C. Grayling on “Teaching the Controversy”

In this clip from Richard Dawkins' YouTube Channel, philosopher A.C. Grayling offers an argument for why intelligent design should't be taught alongside evolution in the classroom. Some will agree with his position, and some won't. And probably few will have no opinion. If you have reactions to Grayling's argument, please state them civilly and intelligently in the comments below.

via @courosa


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  • Matt says:

    The human genome is about 8% bornavirus! And human chromosome #2 is a fusion of two great-ape chromosomes (2p and 2q), complete with vestigial telomeres and a vestigial centromere!

    None of this, or any of the other myriad piles of scientific evidence, makes any sense at all except through the view that human beings evolved haphazardly through millions of years of trial and error from other forms of life, and, in particular, shared common ancestors with chimpanzees.

    Turning things around, if you have hundreds of millions of years of time, and you acknowledge that heritable mutations can occur and that better adapted organisms survive and reproduce slightly better than less well-adapted organisms, how is it possible that biological evolution does not, in fact, occur? You’d need a magical principle to prevent it from happening!

    All the “debate” is hogwash. It would be simple to disprove evolution: Find a rabbit skeleton in pre-Cambrian fossil deposits, or show a hippo give birth to a rhino, etc. There are zillions of ways to disprove evolution and natural selection, and yet the theory has passed all these tests. It’s remarkable, really, that anyone remains unconvinced.

    And oh the predictions that evolution makes! Scientists are constantly predicting what they’ll find next time they dig up new fossils, or run genetic algorithms. And, sure enough, they always find the gross outlines of what they expect, although there are always small surprises here and there. They guessed from fossil evidence that dinosaurs were the ancestors of modern birds, and, sure enough, they’re now cracking open dinosaur bones and finding soft tissue that precisely agrees with that claim. Wow!

    Science is awesome.

  • mike gibbowr says:

    I think the hypothesis of Evolution and Intelligent Design ought to be taught back-to-back, precisely because they each are “Theoretical Suppositions…” And, that the conclusion as to one or both being legitimate ought to be left to the student… I just happen to be old enough to have had the option of having an opinion as a student, and believe we need to return to such basics letting young minds explore the options…

  • Bruce says:

    The key word here is “controversy”. The only controversy about evolution vs. intelligent design is political and possibly religious, not scientific. The argument for intelligent design is basically that the fossil record of evolution is too directed and progresses to fast to be attributable to random selection, therefore there must have been some intelligence manipulating evolution. However, there is no other evidence for such an intelligence outside the so-called evidence in the fossil record. The scientific argument for intelligent design fails on logical grounds because without outside evidence of a being capable of intelligent design, its reasoning is circular. And even if the existence of a capable intelligence could be proven, intelligent design has nothing that provides a motivation for such an intelligence to intervene in the genome of our planet. A successful theory involving intelligence has to prove means, opportunity and motive.

    The controversy is political. Teach it in a sociology, ethics or comparative religion class.

  • Achal Kathuria says:

    Going by the logic of talking about all perspective about a controversy, I wonder people advocating that theory of intelligent design would agree to teaching of atheism and the idea that god doesn’t exist in a class on theology or religious studies because that is also one perspective that substantial proportion of people believe in.

  • Carole says:

    I agree with A.C. Grayling that we should not “pollute” our minds with unnecessary and illusionary tales or superstitions. Education should indeed be a door opening to KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING rather than specious beliefs.

  • Collin says:

    the more things change the more they stay the same.

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