Faith in the theory 2

January 6, 2006

I think it was Thomas Kuhn who commented that science education was a "dogmatic initiation into a pre-established tradition", which is probably as true today as it was 40 years ago. It would be nice to think that teaching challenging ideas such as intelligent design (not that I have much truck for such anthropocentric confections) could help restore critical perspectives to the study of science in schools and universities, so that contrary views get a proper hearing. But I am not optimistic.

The men of fundamentalist dogma managed to largely repress the social studies of science movement that rose in the 1970s. What will it take today to stop them responding to the critics of scientific orthodoxy with custard pies (real and metaphorical), denial, simple abuse or threats, and allow genuine critical debate?

Chris O'Hagan
Consultant in educational development, Southsea

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