Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The logical middle ground

Can Left2Right broker A Kansas Compromise?:
Many of the topics that the religious right would like to insert in to high-school curricula naturally arise in philosophy courses. We philosophers talk about the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the possible limits of scientific inquiry. Of course, a philosophy curriculum would not just teach the religious view on these topics. But the current proponents of ID are not asking that it be taught exclusively; they are merely asking that it be given a hearing. And it could easily be given a hearing in a unit on the philosophy of science, a unit on the philosophy of religion, or a unit combining the two.

I'm under no illusion that this proposal would satisfy the religious right. But I think that resistance to their pressures on school curricula would be more credible if it included an alternative proposal.
And why wouldn't it satisfy the religious right? Because they don't care about the debate, they want to undermine evolution. Saying that science can do some things well and other things less well is entirely unsatisfactory to them, because it will still say that evolution is good science, and a good explanation for life's diversity.

I agree with this proposal. It's what should exist. But it won't solve the problem. Then we'll be fighting how to teach philosophy and how to teach biology.

I wish we could move the battle to the appropriate battlefield. I wish high school seniors were compelled to really dig into epistemology, and ask how they know what they know. It's a great idea. I'm not entirely convinced that a high schooler can appreciate the problems of knowledge.

Prove me wrong, Dr. Abrams, prove me wrong.