Solas Papers | Science and Scientism | Dr Alistair Noble

Has science education become indoctrination? This is the question posed by Dr Alistair Noble in The Solas Papers #6. Dr Noble is a former HM Inspector of Schools for Scotland and now Director of Centre for Intelligent Design.

In this Paper, Dr Noble explores the differences between science (as a science) and scientism as a wholly naturalistic and secular worldview which excludes any possibility of the supernatural. Unfortunately, it now seems that in British education today, the teaching of science has been subject to similar exclusions. The open discussion of differing, theistic theories of origins has been severely restricted. Has this turned science education into a kind of Trojan horse for humanist and atheist belief systems?

Our concern … is whether a secular indoctrination process is at work in British and European society, programming people against religious belief and, if so, whether education is an accomplice in this.

-Terrence Copley

At the beginning of 2016, John Cleese, surprisingly, tweeted that he would “like 2016 to be the year when people remembered that science is a method of investigation, and not a belief system” The difference between these two positions is fundamental to understanding the nature of the scientific method and the extent to which science can inform and direct our world. “A method of investigation” is an accurate description of science; “a belief system” is what can be described broadly as “scientism.”

Now all of this might not matter overmuch if it remained purely a matter of intellectual debate about the nature and limits of science. But scientism has become a popular belief… much more sinister is recent guidance from the Department for Education for England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, the Scottish Government, limiting the scope of the discussion of origins in science lessons. This has come about largely in response to representations from bodies such as the British Humanist Society and the Scottish Secular Society.

Download the full paper here to read the full story.