08 April 2006

More worries in Canada

Further to the post on the rejection of an application by a Montreal researcher to study the impact of intelligent design on science education in Canada.

Hannah Hoag, the journalist covering the affair for Nature, has a story (subscriber only) in today's Globe and Mail that contains a couple of disturbing paragraphs. She tried to get at the reasoning by the rejection of the research funding application by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (a federal agency).

As reported earlier in the week, the council denied the request for $40,000 in part because it had not provided enough "justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent-design theory, was correct." Now we learn that:
SSHRC spokeswoman Eva Schacherl says that if factual errors are identified during the appeal, a new committee will be convened. "The council regrets the way the committee note was worded and that it gave the impression they had doubts about evolution," she says.

However, an interview with one committee member indicates that some academics in decision-making roles may not grasp the distinctions between evolution, intelligent design (I.D.) and creationism.

The committee member, who did not wish to be named, suggested that I.D., stripped of any religious connotations, is an honestly debated issue among scientists.

The social sciences are already widely derided as the "soft" sciences. They hardly need this kind of stereotype reinforcement. Or maybe they do...

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