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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Comments (6)
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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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