Creationism in Israel: It’s Getting Farcical

FIRST, some background. You can skip the indented paragraph if you’re up to date on this issue:

Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar appointed Dr. Gavriel Avital to be the ministry’s chief scientist. Avital has been reported as saying that he dismisses Darwin’s theory of evolution because it leaves God out, and that he will “scrutinize textbooks” to make sure that students are not exposed exclusively to “the opinion that man evolved from the ape.” He also denies that the Earth is growing warmer because of carbon dioxide emissions. Since the news broke about Avital’s opinions there have been several calls for his dismissal.

Our last post on this topic was here: Creationism in Israel: The Fury Increases. Now, in Haaretz, Israel’s oldest and most influential daily newspaper, we read Head scientist vows to toe the line on Darwin and global warming. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Education Ministry chief scientist Dr. Gavriel Avital has committed to toeing the line set by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar as to how evolution and global warming are taught in schools.

Avital came under fire last month, with some of the country’s leading scientists demanding his ouster, after he publicly questioned the veracity of the two theories. Yesterday the Education Ministry released a letter that Avital wrote to Sa’ar and to ministry director general Shimshon Shoshani stating that he plans on following Sa’ar’s policy.

How crazy is this? Avital is a creationist, which is crazy enough. Now he says he’ll deny — or at least suppress — his belief in creationism. That means he’s willing to teach evolution, which he believes is a lie. How can anyone trust a man like that?

This is from Avital’s letter:

“Following statements that were published which related to quotes from statements that I made before I assumed by position, and following my conversations with the two of you, I wish to make it clear that the ministry’s policy as presented by the education minister at the Knesset is acceptable to me without reservation and I will act accordingly in the context of my position as chief scientist of the Education Ministry,” he wrote.

And this is what the newspaper says about it:

Despite the letter’s claim, some of Avital’s controversial remarks were made after he assumed his current post. Among them was his statement: “If they explicitly write in textbooks that man is descended from apes, I would like students to look for other opinions and deal with them. There are many people who don’t think the theory of evolution is correct.”

The madness is compounding! Apparently, Avital told a lie in his letter in which he said he’s willing to lie. Let’s read on:

The Education Ministry refused to comment on the matter. A ministry source said “the case ended with the release of Avital’s letter.”

Somehow, we suspect that this case isn’t ended. Maybe it’s not only Avital, but also Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar who needs to resign.

Update: See Israel’s Education Minister Fires Creationist Avital.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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