This is an update on the unfortunate situation in Scotland, with which you are already familiar. If not, the tale is told in our last post about it, which was only ten days ago: Scotland Refuses To Ban Creationism.
In order to appreciate how bad it is there, ol’ Hambo was delighted at the news. He posted this at the Answers In Genesis website, Scottish Government Rejects Creation Ban, in which he said:
I wanted to share some good news with you … .The Scottish government has decided not to ban teaching creation. … This is a victory for academic freedom in that country. Sadly, the secularists were trying to protect the teaching of their atheistic religion as the only worldview imposed on the current and future generations of kids. Naturally, the group that was petitioning for the ban, the Scottish Secular Society, is unhappy with the decision. They don’t want any alternatives to their religion of atheism and naturalism to be presented to students.
What does the reality-based side say? In The Scotsman, published Edinburgh, they just published an article by Paul Braterman, honorary senior research fellow in chemistry, University of Glasgow. We know him because he frequently comments at our humble blog. The title of his article is Biology teachers ‘need more guidance’, and it has a comments section at the end. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Society of Biology, the largest organisation in the UK representing biologists and biology teachers, and itself an advisory group to the Scottish Government through the Learned Societies Group on Scottish Education, has come out in strong support of the Scottish Secular Society petition for guidance for teachers on creationism, saying: “Biological evolution (together with the geological and astrophysical evidence on the history of the earth and universe) forms a core component of the biological sciences. In contrast, creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas are not based on scientific evidence and therefore should not be taught in the context of a science class or presented as scientific theory.”
The Society of Biology, as a UK-wide organisation, is in a position to compare the situation in Scotland, where official guidance does not as yet exist, with the rest of the UK, where it is already in place. It is therefore clear that we have the strongest possible backing from those best placed to judge.
That sounds good, but the government already made its decision. It’s a bit late for the Society of Biology to be taking a position, isn’t it? Where were they when we needed them? Why are they speaking out only now? Braterman tells us:
The Society’s submission is dated 10 November, but through an oversight was not made available by the Parliamentary Clerks until 17 December.
Aha! The Society’s position was timely submitted, but the clerks sat on it and made it available only after the Scottish government announced their decision. Was that due to bureaucratic incompetence, or was it some creationist clerk’s deliberate sabotage? We don’t know. It’s difficult to distinguish between the two because the result is often the same. Braterman says:
Had this been available, it would have strengthened the evidence we gave to the Public Petitions Committee, altered the tone of debate over the intervening weeks, and affected deliberations within the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Government.
Yes. It might even have resulted in a different outcome. Braterman concludes with this:
We invite those bodies to reconsider their positions, in the light of this important new evidence.
What are the chances of that happening? Our guess is that it’s unlikely, at least this time around — but it’s not impossible. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
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