Barbara Forrest Thinks Intelligent Design Video Game Spore Could Help Student Interest in Evolution
The game allows users to create living things, from their inception as "pond scum" to fully evolved beings, by choosing advantageous features. Players can also build civilizations and entire worlds.
The theory of evolution, advanced most famously by Charles Darwin, posits that humans and other living things have evolved over millions of years through the process of natural selection --basically, survival of the ﬁttest --along with random mutation.
In allowing students to control how a creature evolves, Spore employs a process of "external manipulation" that mainstream scientists would reject as unscientiﬁc, said Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University, in Hammond, who has written extensively about the history of evolution study. For instance, the scientiﬁc consensus is that "intelligent design," or the idea that features of living things show signs of having been created by a master hand, is religion, not science.
So Spore is really a game about intelligent design, not unguided Darwinian evolution. Surely this makes Spore completely worthless to someone as concerned with science education as Barbara Forrest, right?
Actually, Forrest goes on to explain that, while she considers it unscientific, Spore "could bolster some students' interest in the topic of evolution."
Thank you, Dr. Forrest. We whole-heartedly agree. In fact, it's been our experience that intelligent design in general excites students and interests them in evolution, a good thing for science education. Of course, we don't advocate teaching ID in the classroom, but we do maintain that students should be able to learn about this theory and reinvigorate their study of biology.