PZ Myers posted Entry 1061 on May 23, 2005 02:25 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1059

There's been a small, sudden flurry of news about Intelligent Design creationism in the Netherlands recently. Their education minister in the Christian Democratic Party is a proponent, triggering strong protests from other parties. A reader has sent in some translations of Dutch articles on the subject that I have posted on Pharyngula.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #31716

Posted by Sander Kupers on May 23, 2005 4:22 PM (e)

Their education minister in the Christian Democratic Party is a proponent, triggering strong protests from other parties.

Let me clarify that. Not only did most of the other parties protest, but also minister Van der Hoeven’s own Christian Democratic Party CDA protested. I don’t think that there’s a large chance that creationism or Intelligent Design will be taught in Dutch schools anytime soon.

Creationism is included in the current highschool biology curriculum, as an old idea about the origin of life. The translation of endterm 166 says about this (in my translation):

The student has to be able explain to explain earlier and current ideas about the origin of life and origins, and the following three ideas specifically:
- generatio spontanea
- creationism
- evolution

This usually means that there are about 10 lines of text about creationism and generation spontanea in a 50-page chapter about evolution.

Comment #31723

Posted by steve on May 23, 2005 4:41 PM (e)

They could probably add a few sentences about intelligent design:

Recently, creationists have supported two pseudoscientific ideas called “Intelligent Design Theory”. First, ID supporters claimed that Irreducibly Complex structures couldn’t evolve. Scientists responded that IC structures can evolve in at least two ways1. Second, they claimed that evolution couldn’t generate Complex Specified Information. It was soon determined that evolution could generate such information2. ID simply consists of failed criticisms of evolution, makes no predictions of its own, and has no importance to biology.

1: reference to Behe admitting this
2: reference to Dembski admitting this

Comment #31728

Posted by natural cynic on May 23, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

“This usually means that there are about 10 lines of text about creationism and generation spontanea in a 50-page chapter about evolution”

This is the way to “Teach the Controversy” - give each side time in proportion the evidence.

Comment #31757

Posted by Zim on May 23, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

I wouldn’t worry about it yet. Creationism in Europe is like tornadoes; we get some, but not enough to warrant an early-warning system or an insurance hike.

Comment #31759

Posted by Henry J on May 23, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

Re “give each side time in proportion the evidence.”
But wouldn’t that would leave you with some fraction of one sentence for the ID section?

Henry

Comment #31760

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 23, 2005 9:14 PM (e)

less, actually. It would be blank. as it should be.

Comment #31773

Posted by PvM on May 23, 2005 10:31 PM (e)

An interesting issue indeed. I have found quite a few links to relevant pages and intend to discuss them in more detail in a later contribution. Suffices to say that ID is not getting a ‘warm reception’ in the Netherlands, not even from the CDA (Christian Democrats) and the VVD (Liberal party (Dutch conservatives)).

A dutch biologist stated

De minister laat haar ambtenaren een debat organiseren over een wetenschappelijke theorie waar ze geen expertise over heeft, op basis van een gesprek met iemand die dat ook niet heeft. Als de privé persoon Van der Hoeven behoefte heeft aan een gesprek over de schepper, dan kan ze een gespreksgroepje zoeken, de minister moet toezien op kwaliteit en verder liever niets.

The minister is having her staff organize a debate about a scientific theory in which she lacks any expertise, based on a conversation with someone who similarly lacks such an experience. If the private person van der Hoeven has the urge to have a discussion about the creator, then she has all the opportunity to join a support group, the minister should be responsible of quality, and preferably nothing else.

Some good websites which show what is wrong with Intelligent Design include

Gert Korthof’s Was Darwin Wrong?
Exploring the theory of evolution, its extensions, problems, and alternatives
and Skepsis

Thank God the dutch are as pragmatic as ever. Quick to recognize that van der Hoeven’s position would turn back the clock half a century or more.

Comment #31775

Posted by steve on May 23, 2005 10:47 PM (e)

Thank God the dutch are as pragmatic as ever.

But they still screw up–they’ve let in so many fundamentalist muslims, that several of their politicians are in hiding, afraid of being assassinated.

Comment #31824

Posted by PvM on May 24, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Openness always has its hazards. One should not let fear govern policies however, just because a few may screw up. It’s this openness which also led various politicians make remarks which were taken to be offensive by some. It is regrettable, and indeed quite novel for the Netherlands, that words can become lethal.
However political violence is nothing new to the netherlands, although in general the violence has excluded violence against humans and focused on torching gas stations or supermarkets for their support of South Africa. Most homicides in the Netherlands are related to the ‘underworld’, involving power struggles and pay offs. Pim Fortuyn was one of the first victims of this changing mentality, followed by the murder of a movie maker (van Gogh) and the threats against their lifes of some politicians.
Despite all this, the dutch are as pragmatic as ever, rejecting what is obvious to all a religious attempt to introduce poor science into the educational system. The netherlands educational system is quite ‘unique’ in that it allows religious schools to be state funded as long as they offer non religious alternatives to their students as well.

Comment #31898

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

“torching gas stations or supermarkets for their support of South Africa”

interesting, since SA is probably the most creationist-oriented country in the world.

Comment #31899

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 24, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

“ The netherlands educational system is quite ‘unique’ in that it allows religious schools to be state funded as long as they offer non religious alternatives to their students as well”

are there national science standards these schools must meet as well?

here in the US, private schools are not mandated to teach alternatives, but their students are required to pass standards exams. So, if they do a poor job teaching, then the students do poorly on the exams.

However, that could of course change, if the standards are dumbed down.

Comment #31970

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on May 24, 2005 9:20 PM (e)

Sir Toejam:
SA is probably the most creationist-oriented country in the world.

Having just read “Garlic Magic in Africa”, I find that quite plausible, but would still appreciate a link to more info…

Comment #31974

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on May 24, 2005 9:28 PM (e)

Oops, lost the URL in the preceding; it’s http://stnate.blogspot.com/2005/05/garlic-magic-in-&frica.html

Yargh, can’t post this correction because the cooling-off software wants an unspecified delay between posts.

Now another software nanny is unhappy:

“Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: magic-in-&frica.html
Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.”

(substitute an “a” for the “&” for the raw version considered too “questionable”)

Comment #32907

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 31, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Now another software nanny is unhappy:

“Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: magic-in-&frica.html
Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.”

That would be the hyphen in a link nanny. Try http://www.tinurl.com