Ref: BKSECT-2023-0001

Are we allowed to tinker with (human) DNA? Addressing socioscientific issues through philosophical dialogue - the case of genetic engineering

De Schrijver, Jelle ; Blancke, Stefaan ; Cornelissen, Eef ; Sermeus, Jan ; Dunlop, Lynda

in Learning evolution through socioscientific issues (pp. 197-216)

Abstract: Education about socioscientific issues (SSIs) can be challenging as underlying tensions can surface. When discussing the topic of genetic engineering, these tensions can be related to (1) the molecular biology of genetics and genetic engineering, (2) the evolutionary aspects of genetic engineering, (3) the nature of science and (4) the ethical understanding of this SSI. Such tensions may lead to confrontation, either between students or between students and teachers. The practice of ‘philosophical inquiry’ provides a pedagogical approach to help explore these tensions and engage in dialogues. Philosophical inquiry entails a dialogic approach in which a facilitator helps a group of students uncover hidden presuppositions and elicit an argumentative conversation. Stimuli such as pictures, cases or quotes provide a context to help students engage in dialogues about philosophical questions. Thus, students can reflect upon the relationship between science and evolution, the nature of science and the tensions between genetic engineering and society. In this chapter, we first explore different sensitivities related to genetic engineering. Then, we showcase learning material for secondary school students to cope with these issues. We focus on an approach to using big questions and stimulating dialogue to explore sensitivities. Ultimately, we provide tips to consider when addressing SSIs through philosophical dialogue.

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Royal Observatory of Belgium > Planetarium
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 Record created 2023-02-02, last modified 2023-02-02

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