Letter: Limits of science

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Paul Dawson (letter, 16 July) is putting an unwarranted gloss on

my earlier letter in suggesting that I would like to see "abstruse philosophical

debate" on the nature of science brought into the GCSE classroom. This

would be just as inappropriate as teaching abstruse scientific theories.

Nevertheless an elementary science curriculum would be seriously inadequate

if it took no account of the development of "abstruse" concepts such as

quantum theory, relativity and the double helix.

Similarly a science curriculum, even at GCSE, should show pupils that

widely accepted ideas can be discarded, and should cause them to consider

the extent to which the concepts of science are provisional and its predictions

mutable. Otherwise they will be at the mercy of the common device of unscrupulous

public relations officers and politicians who use the "science has proved"

method to clinch a dubious argument.