UK Proposal To Ban Creationism

At the website of Ekklesia, a British think-tank which “examines the role of religion in public life and advocates transformative theological ideas and solutions,” we read Top scientists and educators want evolution not creationism in school science. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

Top scientists and educationalists, including Sir David Attenborough and a leading science educator who is an Anglican priest, together with five national organisations, have put their names to a statement calling for the teaching of evolutionary science, not creationism, in school science classrooms.

The statement, which appears on a new website [Teach evolution, not creationism!], calls on the government to make statutory and enforceable the current, non-statutory, guidance that creationism and so-called ‘intelligent design’ should not be taught in school science, while at the same time calling for the teaching of evolution to be included at both primary and secondary levels in the National Curriculum and in all schools.

The statement is strong and brief. Check it out. The Ekklesia article continues:

The organisations backing the statement are the Association for Science Education, the British Humanist Association, the British Science Association, the Campaign for Science and Engineering, and Christian beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia.

The thirty leading scientists backing it include three Nobel laureates; naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough; neurobiologist Professor Colin Blakemore; evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins; President of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse; and science education expert the Rev Professor Michael Reiss.

Only three Nobel laureates? That may impress the Brits, but not the Americans. You may recall that earlier this year, Zachary Kopplin rounded up 41 Nobel Laureates for Repeal of Louisiana’s creationism bill — to no avail.

Hey, this is good:

Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, added: “Mainstream religious bodies as well as mainstream scientists reject the ideology of ‘creationism’, which posits an unnecessary and intellectually flawed conflict between faith and science. They regard it as vital that proper science is taught and respected in Britain’s classrooms, and indeed among civic organisations, both religious and non-religious. Teaching creationism as if it was scientific is dishonest and harmful.

There’s a lot more information in the Ekklesia article, including some history of The Controversy in the UK, and some discussion of the activities of a creationist group with the ridiculous name of “Truth in Science.” So click over there and read it all. We don’t know how things will go across the pond, but we wish them well.

Update: See UK Adopts New School Curriculum.

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8 responses to “UK Proposal To Ban Creationism

  1. I guess your title is tongue-in-cheek because this neither bans creationism itself nor the teaching of it. It just keeps it out of places (science class) where it has not earned the right to be taught, and indeed, where its peddlers have spent 150+ years increasingly demonstrating that it has not earned that right, instead of actually earning it.

    Nevertheless, some activists on both sides of the Atlantic will whine that it’s “banned,” even when they know that they’re bearing false witness.

    The part that “mainstream religious bodies” reject creationism is a nice salt-rub-in-the-wounds. Something that is not done nearly enough here in the states.

  2. Frank J says: “I guess your title is tongue-in-cheek”

    That wasn’t the intent, but adding “from science classes” would have been too long a title. I like to keep ’em short. Besides, the creationists don’t need me to give them any ideas. I’m sure their hysterical blog articles are already in the works.

  3. I do wish they hadn’t used the word “mainstream,” though. That will just be more ammunition for those who wave the “I’m a maverick, ’cause I’m out of the maintream!” banner so proudly, and somehow think that makes them right. You know, kind of like Sarah Palin- “science is so lamestream!”

  4. Another good article on this at the AAAS Science website: U.K. Scientists Challenge Creationism in Schools.

  5. I heard a recent program on the BBC world service (unfortunately, I can’t find it on the web) in which they interviewed a science teacher. The teacher claimed that evolution was not a science because (1) for something to be science, you have to observe it and (2) you can’t observe evolution. He agreed that creation wasn’t a science, either.
    The interviewer didn’t inquire about whether either of those two points were true.

  6. aturingtest: “That will just be more ammunition for those who wave the ‘I’m a maverick, ’cause I’m out of the mainstream!’ banner so proudly, and somehow think that makes them right.”

    I don’t think so, and here’s why: Political extremists don’t just want to be considered “mavericks,” but pretend to be mainstream too, and switch back-and-forth depending on which point they need to make. I think it’s more important that the public, which mostly follows mainstream religions, knows that their own religions mostly do not fall for creationism/ID. Unfortunately that’s still a well-kept secret, at least in the US. The subset of the public that wants their religion to embrace creationism/ID will not budge no matter what they are told about their religion (or creationism/ID or evolution). Evolution-deniers or “uncertains” who are not that radical constitute a slightly larger subset by most accounts. Many of them will feel less threatened by real science knowing that their religion embraces it.

  7. As far as the religious acceptance of evolution, I think that even in those groups which are officially opposed to evolution, there are those who are in the teaching community who are more-or-less accepting of evolution, but can’t be too open about it. We occasionally hear of a seminary professor who says something, only to get slapped down. For every such case, we can imagine that there are scores of others who are afraid to speak out.

  8. TomS: “For every such case, we can imagine that there are scores of others who are afraid to speak out.”

    As you know, it’s a flat-out lie that “Darwinists” “censor” anything (students are free to learn pseudoscience during the 99+% of their time that they’re not in science class), or “expel” those who demand handouts while refusing to do the work. That that lie is constantly repeated by those do the actual censoring and expelling makes it that much more outrageous.

    As you know those “scores” (actually 1000s) of others includes teachers at secular schools too, who water down evolution so as not to “rock the boat.”