Creationism is not special

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Most debates surrounding the teaching of creationism in the science classroom have been addressed under a standard frame: whether creationism is science or religion. As creationism suggests supernatural causation, it has been understood as beyond the purview of science, and therefore as religion. This argument for methodological naturalism has been increasingly challenged by philosophers of science as a demarcation criterion. The disaggregation approach introduced by Cecile Laborde provides an alternative framework to address this debate. It suggests that the problem with creationism lies in its epistemic inaccessibility, as it is a theory with weak explanatory capacity that has been superseded by Darwinian evolution. Thus, the exclusion of creationism from the science classroom is not grounded in its religious character, but rather in a set of epistemic shortcomings, which are shared by other fully secular pseudoscientific theories. In the same way that religion is not special as a legal-political category under Laborde’s analysis, creationism in the curriculum should not be treated as special either.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Cecile Laborde
  • Curriculum debates
  • creationism
  • religion
  • science education


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