Comment from: Member
I prefered being taught Science to religion even tho I was never that good at science :(.
Comment from: Llesor Visitor
Comrade! Luckily I was never taught creationism in any science class while I was in elementary school or high school.
Comment from: Trix Visitor
Sticking up for my chem teacher here, as much as I disagree with him: you'll be hard pressed to find a more talented and respected teacher, and he's *not* teaching it in his lessons. One or two people have expressed interest in the DVD and have popped along at lunchtimes to watch.
Cowan's spawned many successful chemists, and is one of the few traditional grammar-level chemistry teachers left these days. Instant reason why he hasn't lost his job, probably- the Bluecoat's one of the most oversubscribed schools in the North West, and we're very touchy regarding bad publicity. Ironically, we're fiercely fighting the Church to stop ourselves getting taken over and converted into a CoE school. C'est la vie.
Comment from: Member
In light of that - not teaching it in lessons, I'll retract my hastily thrown out statement about being sacked. However the DVDs should be banned from being shown on school grounds, for not being science - that's not in question, and being a deliberate attempt to rubbish scientific fact (evolution) for purely religious reasons.
Speaking as a tax payer, I do not want to be paying for religious dogma tought in schools on an equal platform as science. Any science teacher up to speed on things would of thrown the DVDs in the bin, where they belong. Or perhaps mailing copies of the DVDs to those pushing the CoE upon the school, with a little note attached saying "no thanks".
Comment from: Sedm Visitor
I wouldn`t regard myself as spawn of Cowan, but he was an excellent chemistry teacher, and I`m probably still in science as a result.
ID can be taught well in schools to illustrate the history and modern workings of science. Most of the opposition to ID teaching is borne from the scare stories about the danger of "religious dogma". As a geneticist I`m more than happy to have people understand the merits (and flaws) of scientific practice in the context of the ID debate. I`m sure Nick Cowan is more than capable of teaching this.
Comment from: James Boyd Visitor
I have to say that Nick Cowan was one of the finest teachers around. He taught me for three years (aged 14-17) and I found him to be a truly fascinating teacher. Whilst I accept that his scientific beliefs are verging on the extraordinary, I found that his unique stand point actually helped me to better understand more conventional science. For example, he took the time to explain to me that what I called ‘Newton’s Laws’ were actually theories which have been superseded by Einstein amongst others. He then proceeded to try and convince me that I simply ‘believed’ in science and that subsequently, as science has limitations, so do my beliefs. Whilst his intention was obvious, his linking of science to a set of beliefs was mind blowing for a sixteen year old and such a viewpoint was to give me a seriously strong footing when I started university; I am currently a final year mathematics student. I found Cowan eternally interested in his pupils and always willing to engage in debate and at a level we could appreciate. If I remember correctly, he did not introduce the ideas of creationism, nor exclusively reveal his faith, until A-level when it was deemed we would not be scared by such difficult issues. May I add that through him I was to be awarded a Nuffield science bursary for A-level students.
Cowan did not simply spoon feed us ideas, he encouraged us to truly engage in the science which I think contributed in no small part to his class year on year receiving some of the highest grades in the country-plus he never set homework! I will always remember Mr Cowan’s lessons with a fondness.
James Boyd (aged 20)
PS-For the record, I would identify as an atheist although my religious beliefs, as they are, do not really require me have a view on the existence of a God.
Comment from: Kit Visitor
Another Cowanite here. I took his A-level chemistry class about 10 years ago.
He was (and presumably still is) a very popular, generous and gifted teacher who encouraged scepticism and debate. In the classromm, his creationism only ever manifested in this context.
If he's still good sacking him would do huge educational damage. He's completely unlike any teacher I've known. He may actually be the sort of man the sterotypical ID-er only pretends to be.
Like James Boyd above I've turned out atheist, with no beliefs requiring an opinion on the existence of God.
Comment from: titus Visitor
I was around 15 when Nick had his mid life christis, when he got lost briefly, and found God in a big way. I was taught by him more or less every year in secondary school from 11 to 18.
I can echo the sentiments above, but with reservations: he is (or I should say was - this is over 20 years ago!) a charismatic, and ebullient teacher. He had a great energy and passion for science, especially chemistry. Passion that was later channelled into his newly found faith. He was without doubt a big figure in my development and at least partly responsible for my love of science. (I later went on to study - ironically - evolutionary biology albeit briefly).
(and here it is...) HOWEVER, my problem at the time, and one we debated too, was that with us 17 year olds he would casually throw god into the equation: "Sir if theres nothing at the point of intersection of 2 electron orbitals how does the electron get from one to another" NC: "GOD"
I had great fun arguing the toss about doing that in the middle of a chemistry class (by that point I wasn't a very good chemistry student - I enjoyed the distraction). My problem was that I lost track of the number of times I walked through his 1st and 2nd year classes where he was talking about some element of his faith. And before him were rows of the wide-eyed and more innocent being charmed by the same charisma that had wowed us a few years previously. But with us it was with his scientific vigour and fondness for explosions.
I dont doubt he's still a fantastic chemistry teacher, and hope he is still blowing things up, but as James Boyd has illustrated he is using his intellect to befuddle as well as inform: Science is not about belief! It is profoundly about the absence of belief! It is about testing postulates to see if they can withstand intellectual assault. And the great thing is, you dont need to do all the testing yourself, because the whole community is devoted to removing any "belief" that is unsubstantiated from the system. Dont let them get you with the, yes but how do YOU know. This is the first easy attack by the faithful: Faith is a personal thing, so for them thats all they need, but for you as a defender of science, do you have pertinent arguments to hand? Statistics of peer-reviewed papers that have proven or provided evidence of your position? They are waiting for you to to utter the words "I believe that there are studies..." at which point they can roar in triumph and do a peculiar dance with strange handshakes (sorry another aspect of blue coat life slipping in there). Your belief in that context is an index of the number of articles you've read, books you've read, TV soundbites and documentaries that have referenced factual studies: you are simply saying I know the studies are there I cant refference them right now. (And wait for them to say "Ah so you BELIEVE that the articles..."