C4ID activity watch
  • SimonSimon March 2012
    Received the letter at the following link from C4ID today. Seems they are hoping to be able to speak in schools.

  • Michael March 2012

    That is what I was getting at in a recent post. We need to jump in when we hear they are going into a school asit is contrary to all Government advice

    If you look at the BCSE site you will see that CMI had an invitation cancelled in an Anglican Sec school this month

  • exchemist March 2012
    Hmm, indeed Michael, this would be the post shaking me out of my complacency, I take it. However I am not sure anything stops them talking in schools, so long as it is not presented as part of the science curriculum. If it was under RS or philosophy I think it would be allowed, wouldn't it? 

    Which brings me to a question: do you know if there is anything in the state school science curriculum explaining the principles on which scientific enquiry is implicitly founded, such as philosophical materialism, Occam's Razor, Popper's idea of falsifiability and so on?  I realise these would be 6th Form topics and possibly might be considered too philosophical, but it does seem to me that it is ignorance of these axioms of scientific thought that prevents students recognising that ID and other forms of creationism are ipso facto out of bounds in science. 

    On the basis that it is better to appear +ve than to throw bricks, I was further wondering whether CIS might consider developing some training material for this. Then, if you come across a school being targeted by C4ID, you might offer them this too, in the interests of providing students with a balanced understanding.      
  • SimonSimon March 2012
    I think Ruth Bancewicz's "Test of Faith" material is exactly along these lines. See:

  • exchemist March 2012
    Thanks Simon. This however seems aimed at RE and at justifying the need for religious belief to make sense of human experience, which is not at all what I meant. The film clip comes across as tendentious and propagandising. I was unable to download the lesson plan however so I may be doing it an injustice.

    No, what I meant was a grounding in the self-imposed limits on the type of enquiry and explanation that science concerns itself with. A grasp of these limits would make it evident that in science, "truth" is provisional (all we have are models of the natural world, subject to disproof or refinement but never to proof), that supernatural explanations cannot be part of natural science, that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God (as belatedly acknowledged by Dawkins), and that questions about meaning and purpose in the universe cannot be usefully posed, much less answered, by science. 

    Personally, I'd be tempted, if I were a 6th Form science teacher, to set out my stall at the start of the year with this and point out, with due humility, that many questions and issues beyond this self-limiting scope of science are important to human thought and experience, but the answers are to be found in the humanities and in religious belief, not here in my science lessons. In short to encourage a respectful separation of categories of enquiry. In my view this is key to enabling students to realise that just because God does not crop up in science does not make it "atheist" or demand atheism from its practitioners. If one can avoid name-calling and the taking of "sides", civilisation can be sustained.