Creationism in Scotland

A headline in the HeraldScotland of Cambuslang, just outside Glasgow, brought back memories of a few old posts which mention some familiar names. It’s Leading creationist Dr Nagy Iskander reappointed to sit on South Lanarkshire council education committee as unelected religious representative. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A MEDICAL doctor described as one of Europe’s most active creationists has been reappointed to sit on the education committee of South Lanarkshire council. Dr Nagy Iskander, who has claimed that a key tenet of evolution is “really illogical”, will be allowed to vote at meetings even though he is unelected.

We remember that guy. The first time we wrote about him was almost 7 years ago — see Answers in Genesis — Global Outreach. Ol’ Hambo was heaping praise on two people — Nagy and Nashwa Iskander — who had “visited the Answers in Genesis offices and our Creation Museum a number of times and have attended our intensive International Training Seminar at the museum.” They were translating Hambo’s books and articles into Arabic.

A couple years after that we wrote Ken Ham: The Trouble With Scotland. AIG had been promoting their brand of creationism in the schools of Scotland — with the aid of Nagy Iskander — and they were being opposed by Professor Paul Braterman, who frequently comments at your Curmudgeon’s humble blog. Braterman’s efforts weren’t entirely successful, and a few months later we wrote Scotland Refuses To Ban Creationism.

Since then we’ve largely ignored the situation in Scotland — until now. Let’s see what the HeraldScotland says:

Local authorities are legally required to appoint three members, representing churches, to their education committees. In practice, the three individuals have equal standing to councillors but they are not accountable to voters. A bid by Green MSP John Finnie to scrap the system in the last parliamentary term fizzled out and unelected religious figures maintain their privileged role.

Brilliant arrangement. After that they tell us:

South Lanarkshire council, which is now SNP [Scottish National Party] run, advertised last year to fill the third slot on its Education Resources Committee, which meets every eight weeks. … Dr Iskander, an Egyptian-born Christian, was the only applicant and he has resumed his duties on the committee. He has served in a similar capacity since 1999. However, his reappointment is controversial over his views on creationism – the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, rather than evolution.

“Controversial” is perhaps too mild a word. The newspaper continues:

Iskander has been described as as one of “Europe’s most active creationists” by Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis, a US-based religious ministry. ..In the past he has said: “Creation according to the Christian faith is a supernatural act of God, so it will not be repeated and we can’t test creation in the lab. Evolution needs to take place over millions of years and we cannot test that either. My view on this is we should mention everything – we should examine all the evidence and all the facts and have an open and civilised discussion about all of this without excluding one or the other.

Yes, we should examine “all the evidence” for miraculous creation. Let’s read on:

In 2015, Dr Iskander gave a series of lectures at a “creation conference” and made a raft of statements outlining his beliefs. “In evolution, they think that every thing made itself. And that is really illogical,” he said, adding. “Evolution is against the laws of thermo-dynamics.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The article goes on and on, but we’ve excerpted enough. It’s sufficient to say that Scotland has a problem — but they’re certainly not alone in that.

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6 responses to “Creationism in Scotland

  1. Richard Bond

    “Evolution is against the laws of thermo-dynamics.”

    How often does it need to be said: without the tendency to restore symmetry, which we describe as the second law of thermodynamics (without the hyphen; shows how much he knows about it) nothing happens in he universe: no galaxies, stars, planets, life, evolution, etc, etc…

  2. Derek Freyberg

    Perhaps Paul Braterman can update us on what has been happening on the campaign to oust religious representatives from education committees.

  3. Of course, the Laws of Thermodynamics are part of the fine-tuning of the universe for life.

  4. Derek Freyberg, the petition to end this sytem was formally closed, but with a clear invitation to reopen it if then pending statements from the Scottish Government did not address the relevant concerns; full account at https://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/petition-to-remove-unelected-church-nominees-from-education-committees-final-report/

    They have not. Meantime, there have been Council elections, and a fresh (or, as in this case, not so fresh) set of Religious Representatives appointed. We are collecting information on the matter and will be reopening the petition in a few months time.

  5. TomS, I refer you to our little exchange about the rules creacrappers refuse to obey. It makes Iskander’s “that is really illogical,” all the funnier.

  6. Derek Freyberg

    @Paul Braterman:
    Thank you for the update.