While it may come as no suprise, weshould still retain a healthy skepticism about Family First's Peter Harris' call for balance in teaching creationism to school children (The Age, 18/11). If their American counterparts are any indication, we can expect this Pentecostal lobby group to push their beliefs at the expense of mainstream biology under the rubric of intelligent design. This idea - that life is so inconceivably complex that something must have designed it - is an appeal to the failure of our imaginations. Hardly inspirational stuff for curious young minds.
To ensure a balanced view of creationism teaching, we need some safeguards. Firstly, that contact hours for science aren't reduced. Secondly, that a range of creation myths are explored and compared, including Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. This will go someway to ensuring that students have a broad perspective while retaining critical scientific skills and knowledge.