Hong Kong debates evolution curriculum

According to the Nature News, Hong Kong is debating whether to support academic freedom in their schools on controversial areas of science.

Hong Kong is in the middle of reforming its school system, and the Education Bureau has issued a series of guidelines for all levels of education to go into effect in September 2009.

The guidelines were prepared by the Curriculum Development Council and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

The change affects the teaching of biology at the secondary level. A section of the proposed curriculum guidelines on ‘Genetics and Evolution’ states the following:

In addition to Darwin’s theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge.

Opponents of “teaching the controversy” are ducking debates with the other side:

There has been heated debate in the Hong Kong media since. On 13 February, the radio series Backchat broadcast a programme on ‘Creationism versus Evolution’. Kwok, dean of the science faculty at the university, backed out of the programme when he found it had been changed to a debate format at the last minute, noting that he is not a specialist in evolution and thus cannot counter detailed arguments regarding evolution versus creation.

Professors who want to teach the evidence for and against naturalistic theories are having to dodge academic censors:

Chris Beling, a solid-state physicist and associate professor in the University of Hong Kong department of physics, debated with two other panellists and took the opportunity to mildly criticize the science faculty for refusing his request to continue a course on the origin of the Universe that included a section on intelligent-design thinking. Instead, he has met in private with students to discuss intelligent design.

Keep in mind that Nature News is biased in favor of naturalism and therefore must defend the position that scientific inquiry can never implicate an intelligence.

In other words, their opinion has been set by their philosophical assumption of naturalism, and experiments and observations cannot overturn their a priori commitment to naturalism.

(H/T: Telic Thoughts)

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