Michael Bérubé is confused about my appeal to the contexts of discovery and justification in the Dover trial. (I was the one who happened to raise the distinction.) There are two points about the distinction as it applied to the trial: (1) The plaintiffs’ witnesses were claiming that scientific inquiry required a commitment to ‘methdological naturalism’, something lacking in intelligent design theorists and creationists. This struck me as a false claim about the context of justification that smuggled in claims about the context of discovery: i.e. if you’re not a naturalist, you can’t do science right. (2) The trial itself was about what to teach high school students. Here it is completely appropriate to introduce the context of discovery as part of the pedagogy that motivates students to do science, and so it matters that important science has been done by people operating from religious beliefs not so different from the ones that are legally barred as ‘intelligent design’.
The confusion arises from those who think that science education is exclusively about teaching science’s context of justification. That is tantamount to indoctrination.
posted by Steve Fuller
December 20, 2008
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