In the Ulster Star of Lisburn, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, we read ROW BREWS OVER DUP CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO TEACH CREATIONISM. It starts like this, with bold font added by us:
A DUP proposal that Lisburn Council should write to local secondary and grammar schools encouraging them to teach alternative theories to evolution is set to face stiff opposition when it is debated next week.
This sounds like fun. We’ve been entertained by creationist antics in Northern Ireland for a long time now — see Government Creationism in Northern Ireland. A couple of years before that we identified the major players: Northern Ireland’s Axis of Ignorance. The DUP is the Democratic Unionist Party, which is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The brains behind them are found in the Caleb Foundation — flaming creationists all.
Both the Caleb Foundation and the DUP were involved in the scandal centering on David McConaghie (see Creationist Suspected of Bathroom Voyeurism). McConaghie was not only a chief advisor to MP David Simpson, a DUP member, he was also the media officer for the Caleb Foundation. Although he no longer holds those positions, the imbroglio continues to symbolize the state of creationism in Northern Ireland.
Additionally, McConaghie affair enabled us to hypothesize about the existence of what we call Creationism-Voyeurism Syndrome (CVS). McConaghie is Case Number One, but we have since written about others. That’s enough background. Let’s return to today’s news story.
The Corporate Services Committee [of the Lisburn Council] agreed to a proposal by the DUP’s Paul Givan that they should contact all second level schools in the Lisburn City Council area “encouraging them to teach alternative theories to evolution as the origins of the earth, such as Creation and Intelligent Design.”
And while they’re contacting all those schools, they should use the opportunity to inspect every loo to make sure the cameras are concealed and properly functioning. Let’s read on:
Mr Givan said: “I have never believed in the theory of evolution and, like many people, believe in the teaching of creation. I believe science points to creation but our schools are teaching a very narrow remit and many exclude alternative theories to evolution. I have asked the Council to write to local schools encouraging them to give equality of treatment to other theories of the origins of life and how the earth came into existence.”
Now that McConaghie is out of the news, we’ll have to keep an eye on this Paul Givan chap in order to watch for symptoms of CVS. He shows lots of potential. The story continues:
However, other committee members voiced their objection to the proposal. The committee’s Vice Chairman, SDLP Councillor Peter O’Hagan, said: “I think it is a dangerous road to go down for Lisburn Council to be getting involved in school curriculum. “It is up to the head teacher of the school to implement the curriculum.”
O’Hagan didn’t reject the proposal; he merely said it’s not his job to deal with it. Oh wait — here’s more:
Mr O’Hagan, a former primary school head, added: “Were I the principal of a school and I got a letter like that from Lisburn City Council I would throw it in the bin. I don’t think it is any of our business.”
That’s better. We’re given a couple of other reactions from the Council, and then we’re told:
Mr Givan’s proposal will be brought before the full council at its monthly meeting on Tuesday night.
At the end of the article we’re informed that the problem goes far beyond what the Lisburn Council may do:
The Department of Education for Northern Ireland stressed the teaching of alternative theories to evolution is a matter for individual schools. A spokesperson said: “The revised curriculum offers scope for schools to explore alternative theories to evolution, which could include creationism, if they so wish.”
It appears that the government of Northern Ireland is (that’s “are” in the UK) still infected with creationism. Your Curmudgeon will be keeping an eye on things — but not from cameras hidden in the loo. We’ll leave that viewpoint to the DUP and the Caleb Foundation.
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