Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Science From Multiple World Views?

Recently I stumbled upon a small publisher of home school materials called Gravitas Publications. This publisher's main product is called Real Science 4 Kids by Dr. Rebecca Keller. I have no expertise in home school curricula, and from what I have seen some aspects of her approach seem sensible.

What bothers me is her claim that science can be taught from the point of view of multiple world views in a strictly neutral sort of way.

She writes:

"Yes! Real science doesn’t choose sides. So when teaching science, it’s important that the lessons let kids explore all sides. Otherwise, choosing one side can get in the way of understanding the real science. Darwinism, creationism, intelligent design theory, and all the other “isms” are simply paradigms (or “lenses”) through which science is viewed. The “-isms” are philosophies based on perceptions for how science is interpreted. Students need to learn how “-isms” play a role in science."

Ok, science doesn't choose sides in that is ideologically neutral- there is no conservative science, or Christian science, or Buddhist science. There ideally is just science. And she is right- our world view does affect how we interpret science. But is science really neutral in terms of the world view it admits?

Personally I think not. For example I don't see much support in science for the notion that the Universe or the Earth is say 10,000 years old or that the goal of a liquid is to seek its lowest level, or that magic is real. At the very least science since it is empirical forces scientific explanations and tests of scientific ideas to be mechanistic and transparent.

At any rate, check out Dr. Keller's video discussing the issue of multiple world views and see what you think:

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