Creationism in Scotland — Update

Gather ’round, lads and lassies. The bagpipes are playing, the haggis is sizzling in the fire, and there’s a delightful breeze blowing up your kilt. It’s time for an update on the creationist scene in Scotland.

Our last post on this topic was almost three weeks ago: Creationist Madness in Scotland — Stopped. A sect of American creationists had been running wild in Kirktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride, but complaints from parents got them kicked out and the headteacher of the school was removed.

Then there was another incident that we didn’t write about, but we’ll mention it now. The HeraldScotland of Cambuslang, just outside Glasgow, recently carried this story: Calls for probe into creationist physics teacher. (No, not a UFO abduction kind of probe!) A few excerpts should be sufficient to fill you in, with our bold font for emphasis:

A PARENT has called for action to be taken by a school after a teacher allegedly told a science class evolution was “not proven”.

The teacher’s statement is technically true — no science theory is ever literally “proven” (just confirmed by testing and observations) but we suspect that fine point of epistemology wasn’t the teacher’s intent, nor was it the impression received by the students. Here’s more:

Adrian Smales says he was shocked when his daughter told him the assertion was made during an S3 physics class at Lasswade High School in Midlothian.

During a discussion on the Big Bang – the scientific theory explaining the origins of the universe – pupils were also said to have been told by teacher Leonard Rogers that people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven.

Where do they find these teachers? Let’s read on:

When Smales complained to the school, a response from the ­headteacher confirmed that Rogers “did state he held strong creationist opinions to [the] class”.

The headteacher knew? What’s going on in Scotland? Here’s one last excerpt, and then you can read the details for yourself:

Midlothian Council said there had been no previous complaints or concerns raised about the issue. However, Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said: “I do think it’s an issue that needs properly looked at by all the relevant authorities, otherwise trust in our school system risks being eroded.”

That’s where the matter sits, apparently. Meanwhile, we have one more news story about creationism in Scotland. This one appears on the website of the BBC: Guidance call for creationism lessons in Scottish schools. That’s a strangely phrased headline. We gather from the story that it’s not an outfit named “Guidance” that’s calling for creationism lessons; rather, it’s a call for guidance about teaching creationism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The Scottish Secular Society called for clear guidance on how religious theories about the origins of life are taught. It highlighted concerns over two recent incidents in Scottish schools.

That’s the “Guidance call” in the headline. And those “two recent incidents” are the items we mentioned above. Here’s more:

The society said clear guidance would bring Scotland into line with England and Wales, where the presentation of creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas as scientific theories is already prohibited in schools.

Then there’s a recital of the other two incidents we’ve already discussed. The only new information is that we’re told the teacher who disparaged the Big Bang is due to retire in a few months. We shudder to think of the damage he did during his career. The last paragraph says this:

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “It is for a head teacher to decide, in full consultation with the local authority and wishes of parents, what links a school should have with its local faith communities.”

We’ve seen how well that seems to be working. Maybe they’ll get things straightened out. The local schools definitely need some guidance.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Creationism in Scotland — Update

  1. Let’s get to the bottom of this affair. I think the probe of the teacher in this case should be of the deep nature that Gov. Bob McDonnell put forth in Virginia, known to all women there as Bob’s transvaginal probe, a.k.a more affectionately a Transvaginal Airlines trip.

  2. Leonard Rogers, high school science teacher, allegedly admonishes “that people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven” before supposedly “[stating] he held strong creationist opinions”.

    Is there ever a situation in which such pinnacles of irony are not completely lost on a cretinist? 😕

  3. Our Curmudgeon is no chef:

    …the haggis is sizzling in the fire…

    No true Scotsman would ever so abuse the Great Chieftain o’ the pudding-race! The haggis is gently boiled:

    O what a glorious sight,
    Warm-reekin’, rich! …

    Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
    And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
    Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
    That jaups in luggies;
    But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
    Gie her a haggis!

    N.B. The haggis is irreducibly complex: leave out the sheep lungs, and it doesn’t work at all…

  4. @Leonard

    No, creationists don’t even understand the concept of irony.

  5. Megalonyx says: “Our Curmudgeon is no chef … The haggis is gently boiled

    Where I come from, Haggis is barbecued. But nothing can compare with a down-home, deep-dish toad pie.

  6. Stephen Kennedy

    Mentioning Evolution during a class on the Big Bang seems to be symptomatic of creationists. They take any topic in science, lump them together and call it “evolution”. To me The Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are in no way related. The former is part of Biology while the latter is Astronomy, but to creationists it is all “evolution”.

  7. “evolution was not proven”
    I’d like to ask my colleague (yup, I teach math and physics) if he thinks that gravity is not proven either.

    “people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven”
    Now this is interesting, because this is hardcore physics. You see, almost all galaxies move away from our perspective. That is an observable fact. This means that the Universe expands and that means that it was much smaller in the distant past.
    Moreover we have a theory that predicted that the Universe is expanding before we actually had observed it: Relativity.
    Does Rogers maintain that Relativity cannot be proven either?
    Or rather: is he a reincarnation of Fred Hoyle?