The Teaching Of Creationism

I'm sorry to say that I can!
All my opinions are derived from a very strong sense of wanting to gain knowlede. As such I have been reading science and non-science material. I know more of the occult than the majority of people and yet I am a scientist.
Science is not a belief. It is a way of explaining things in the most objective way. Of course if you mix such a powerful tool with human minds you get all sorts. The worst of which are orthodox scientists than will not change theories when new knowledge has come to light. That is not strictly speaking science.
What drives me almost insane is when someone has closed their eyes and ears to anything rational without even trying to see the amazing new details that are found in science. In my view they are doing exactly what orthodox scientists are doing. Riding a dead horse and telling me its the best thing I could use to get about.

Whilst I have even read the bible iknorder to find out what it is all about. Stagnand minds will not make the effort to educate themselves of the alternatives. Obviously knowing that if they do so, it might actually change their mind [if they still have one left that isn't tainted by a meme loop telling them that everything which makes sense is the work of the devil].

Yes I even agree that state education can be brainwashing[like in communism] but that is politics and not science. If science is treated the way it should, it is the most ogical tool we have to find answers to our inquisitive minds. Science is also never claiming to be the absolute "truth", it is only ever the best and most provable theories at any one time, always open to be changed with provable ideas. When a new theory can be ripped to shreds with hard evidence, it is discarded. If it brings new testable evidence it might override an old theory.

I mean how much more logic do you want it?
The theory that the earth is only 6000 years old doesn't hold up for reasons talked about on this thread. To say that carbon dating is faulty needs a paper that states why?
Did we make mistakes with the half-time of carbon? If so show me the error, come up with fact based readings done under scientifically planned methods. Are those readings reproducable by anyone etc...
If these religious morons could do any of this, they are free to challenge previous theories like everyone else.
Maybe even science will find a god someday but then it will be damn well supported by evidence. Until then he/she/it remains even less a possibility than "Schroedingers cat".
almond13. i didnt mean to be critical in my last post- my intention was to get an idea of how you approach problems and get some idea of your attitude to school education. Im not sure if your response was angry or not.

Hi barndad

The answer to your first question is no, I don’t get angry about the type of post that you wrote or even the “New Sci” article – it’s par for the course. In fact I love the cut and thrust of these discussions.

As for your second question, you may be surprised to hear that I have, during my long career as an engineer and later as a lecturer, always, eventually, been relegated to the additional job as problem solver. I’m very good at it.

I think that you said that you were a student and as such your stance is understandable (nearly finished my phd). The term ‘Creationist’ has become a catch all for evolutionists that means, someone who disagrees with their point of view. There are others out there who also have questions about the theory and are definitely not creationists, but are called creationists, as it tends to ridicule them. Having said that, there are a number of creationists who do their homework and these are very good. I always try not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Your mention of Talkorigins is interesting and I do know about it. If as you say you are interested in other modes of thought you should try to look at sites that are not wholly dedicated to pushing the party line, as the former tend not to enlarge on the ‘problem areas’. You may or may not have noticed that anyone with alternative thoughts on Talkorigins is called “The Enemy”, which is clearly absurd and is indicative of a political issue rather than a scientific one.
Search for “Ted Holden” on TO for an example of awkward questions. :D
Hi Almond13,
Good- my intention was definitely not to annoy anyone.
Im not surprised that you are well respected and the go-to man for problem solving. I havent expressede any doubt on this point. I havent accused you of being a creationist, but i am a little unsure of which facets of evolutionary theory you disbelieve exactly.
I took your advice and looked up Ted Holden on talk origins. He appears to be what i would classify as a creationist. i.e. someone who presents no alternative scenarios yet feels compelled to ask flimsy (and easily answered) questions about evolutionary theory which betray a lack of understanding of probability, likelihood and biology.
People with valid questions about the theory of evolution tend to research them and present them in a manner amenable to publication. Every scientist working in the field of evolutionary biology today, has a question about evolutionary theory that they are trying to address. My objection is not to people who have questions about evolution, but those who do not listen to the answers that are given and instead prefer to obfuscate and confuse others.
As i said in a previous post i am interested in other modes of thought- thats why i am on this forum, and why i said i had researched a lot of creationist literature (answersingenesis and the discovery institute for example). But the fact remains that i have yet to find a valid objection to evolutionary theory.
I would also like to say that i very much appreciate the manner in which we are having this discussion- it is really nice to discuss big questions like this in a calm and open manner.
Hi Barndad it’s good to see you back.

Two years ago I knew nothing about evolution and the first part of my education was to visit Talkorigins. I was dismayed to find that the ‘origins’ was exclusively neo Darwinian evolutionary and that any alternatives were bullied and browbeaten into submission. Also, that there was a reluctance to discuss origins at all – how the ‘assumed’ first single celled organism/s managed to become the biosphere when any alteration to its simple (eat/reproduce) genetics would certainly lead to its destruction. I found some info via Hoyle who led me to - I think his name is - Ohno who stated that this would be the case and that horizontal or vertical gene transfer would lead to an evolutionary dead end.

I think it must have been the idea of mutation that started me looking for alternative sources of genetic material, because in my experience of nature, nothing is done on the basis of random damage – which is basically what mutation is. I came to the conclusion that the only place to get extra genetic material was through the virus which rained down from space ala Hoyle - it was more logical even though the data were sparse.

“”I took your advice and looked up Ted Holden on talk origins.””

TO is the last place to look at what Ted is about as their prime mover is to debunk him. I never look there for info – but each to his own. (The spell checker is telling me I have a reflexive pronoun here) Also, I suggest that you look at more radical creationism here:
I found this quite by accident last year sometime, it’s quite intriguing.
“but those who do not listen to the answers that are given and instead prefer to obfuscate and confuse others.”

I don’t for one minute suppose that the denizens of TO would listen to an alternative thinker either? That’s life.

An observation about looking for alternative thinking: In the workplace for example you will find that most people work by the book and are not happy when asked to do something new, but there will be one or rarely two who will try anything. This is because they don’t work to the book and are happy to learn in an ongoing manner and actually like problems. The trouble is that there are not supposed to be problems…

Caveat emptor! Reminds me of William Corliss who is a scientist and writes about anomalies. Have a look at some of his bio stuff.
I thought this article might be fitting. It shows evolution in "action". However they might be wrong and everytime those little buggers got eaten someone/thing quickly made more of them out of clay, or simply beamed down an upgraded version when nobody was looking. Maybe they quickly altered the animals DNA at night or planted enhanced eggs in their nests. Its all feasable isn't it?

Maybe it's JUST evolution though.

How frightened lizard outran the law of evolution

Last updated at 07:47am on 17th November 2006

Evolution is usually measured in millions of years. But scientists have found it can be fast forwarded – especially in times of emergency.

They discovered a group of lizards made enormous leaps to adapt and survive in the space of only a year.

The results, they said, perfectly illustrate the principle of natural selection, a cornerstone of the theory of evolution, which says only the fittest survive. More below...

Biologist Professor Jonathan Losos examined the behaviour, population size and leg length of the slender Anolis lizards native to tiny islands in the Bahamas.

At the start of the experiment, the lizards, which had legs of varying lengths, spent their time scampering along the ground.

Then the researchers introduced a predator – a curly-tailed lizard with a taste for Anolis – to the islands.

That was when the native lizards shifted from scampering to sprinting to out-run the invaders. Within six months, the Anolis population had halved, with short-legged lizards more likely to have perished than their leggier cousins.

The creatures best adapted to the environment – in this case the long-legged lizards – survived to pass on their genes to the next generation.

However, the leggier lot was not at an advantage for long.

The lizards soon realised the best means of escape from the predators was to take to the trees – a task much better suited for those with nimble shorter limbs.

By the end of a year, the lizard population had dropped again. And while the surviving numbers still included Anolis with a variety of leg lengths, those with shorter legs had the best chance of survival.

The study, published in the journal Science, followed the fortunes of only one generation of lizards. However, if populations were tracked over a period of years, it is likely their legs would become shorter as long as the predator remained at large. ... ge_id=1770
Introducing alien predators to an island is a pretty irresponsible way to conduct research...
Introducing alien predators to an island is a pretty irresponsible way to conduct research...

I don’t know, we did it with Australia and America.
Mister_Awesome said:
Introducing alien predators to an island is a pretty irresponsible way to conduct research...

What like humans who muck up any natural equilibrium by moving to the strangest places? :?
— Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”

In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.

Park officials have defended the decision to approve the sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View, claiming that park bookstores are like libraries, where the broadest range of views are displayed. In fact, however, both law and park policies make it clear that the park bookstores are more like schoolrooms rather than libraries. As such, materials are only to reflect the highest quality science and are supposed to closely support approved interpretive themes. Moreover, unlike a library the approval process is very selective. Records released to PEER show that during 2003, Grand Canyon officials rejected 22 books and other products for bookstore placement while approving only one new sale item — the creationist book.

Ironically, in 2005, two years after the Grand Canyon creationist controversy erupted, NPS approved a new directive on “Interpretation and Education (Director’s Order #6) which reinforces the posture that materials on the “history of the Earth must be based on the best scientific evidence available, as found in scholarly sources that have stood the test of scientific peer review and criticism [and] Interpretive and educational programs must refrain from appearing to endorse religious beliefs explaining natural processes.”

“As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan,” Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book. “We sincerely hope that the new Director of the Park Service now has the autonomy to do her job.”
The Grand Canyon National Park official website says:
Geologic formations such as gneiss and schist found at the bottom of the Canyon date back 1,800 million years.
ArthurASCII said:
The Grand Canyon National Park official website says:
Geologic formations such as gneiss and schist found at the bottom of the Canyon date back 1,800 million years.

No way, it can't be that old. It must be sme sort of trick from Satan or...oh I know, the measuring method must be wrong. Impossible to measure the age of something. Its IMPOSSIBLE, god made sure of that!!!!

Conservatives lose latest Darwin battle in Kansas
Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:43AM EST
By Carey Gillam

TOPEKA, Kansas (Reuters) - The Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday threw out science standards deemed hostile to evolution, undoing the work of Christian conservatives in the ongoing battle over what to teach U.S. public school students about the origins of life.

The board in the central U.S. state voted 6-4 to replace them with teaching standards that mirror the mainstream in science education and eliminate criticisms of evolutionary theory.

"I'm glad we've taken this step. If we are going to have a well-educated populace, this is important," said board member Sue Gamble.

Similar efforts to weaken the teaching of evolution in public schools have occurred throughout the United States including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia.

But Kansas has been in the forefront of the debate since 1999, when the board voted to sharply reduce the emphasis of evolution in science instruction. A public backlash ultimately led to a reversal of that revision.

The new standards, set to take effect immediately, replace those put in place in 2005 by a conservative majority of the board who challenged the validity of evolution and called it incompatible with religious doctrine.

It is the fourth time in eight years that science standards have been rewritten in Kansas.

"I think it actually curtails the ability of students to learn and to think," said conservative board member Steve Abrams of the latest revision.


Kansas' struggles have been widely lampooned and were depicted in a documentary film entitled "Flock of Dodos." A traveling exhibition, "Explore Evolution," was created by science museums at universities in Kansas, Nebraska and other states to explain, among other things, how children and chimpanzees are "cousins in life's family tree."

The 2005 ruling by Kansas' board outraged scientists across the United States, with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association refusing the state's request to use copyrighted material in textbooks.

The state's voters reacted by swinging the balance of power on the board to moderates in last year's elections.

The decision to once again rewrite the science standards comes one day after the anniversary of evolution scholar Charles Darwin's birth, who gained fame for his 1859 book "The Origin of Species" and for his theories on how life on Earth evolved.

Some religious groups argue that evolution cannot be proven and clashes with Biblical teachings about how God created the Earth, humans and animals. Teaching evolution misleads and confuses students, opponents say.

Supporters say religion has no valid role in a science class and evolution is the foundation for understanding key concepts in biology and other scientific fields.

The Kansas board was criticized by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, a group that promotes the concept of "intelligent design," in which an intelligent force -- which some proponents would say is God -- is said to be probably responsible for some aspects of nature.

"You have a board in Kansas that is so extreme," said John West, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, adding that evolution supporters were "anti-religious."

The institute says Darwin's theories about the survival of the fittest have led some scientists to embrace eugenics and practices such as forced sterilization. ... 2420070214
Evolution memo prompts call for apology

By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

ATLANTA — A Jewish organization is demanding an apology from a Georgia legislator for a memo that says the teaching of evolution should be banned because it is a myth propagated by an ancient Jewish sect.

State Rep. Ben Bridges denies writing the memo, which attributes the Big Bang theory to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.

Bridges has long opposed the teaching of evolution in Georgia classrooms and has introduced legislation requiring only that "scientific fact" be taught.

Marshall Hall, president of the Fair Education Foundation, says the Republican lawmaker gave him approval to write the memo, which has been distributed to legislators in several states, including California and Texas.

The memo asks readers to challenge the "evolution monopoly in the schools" by logging onto Hall's anti-evolution Web site, .

"Indisputable evidence — long hidden but now available to everyone — demonstrates conclusively that so-called 'secular evolution science' is the Big Bang, 15-billion-year, alternate 'creation scenario' of the Pharisee Religion," says the memo, which has Bridges' name on it. "This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic 'holy book' Kabbala dating back at least two millennia."

The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to Bridges on Thursday chastising him for the memo and demanding him to apologize.

"Your memo conjures up repugnant images of Judaism used for thousands of years to smear the Jewish people as cult-like and manipulative," wrote Bill Nigut, the league's Southeast regional director.

The league sent a similar letter to a Texas lawmaker who circulated the memo to members of the Texas Legislature's budget-writing committee.

State Rep. Warren Chisum told The Dallas Morning News in Thursday editions he was trying to do a "Good Samaritan" deed for Bridges. "If that's a sin, well, shoot me," he told the newspaper.

But in a letter to Mark Brisman, director of the league's North Texas/Oklahoma chapter, he wrote, "I sincerely regret that I did not take the time to carefully review these materials and recognize that I may have hurt or offended some groups including some of my dear friends," according to The New York Times.

Hall, a 76-year-old retired high school teacher who said his wife ran Bridges' election campaign, said neither the memo nor his Web site is anti-Semitic. "I think they tar people with that brush a little too readily," he said. ... 62549.html
Even in Russia they are at work.

St Petersburg Court Rejects Schoolgirl Suit Over Darwinism

"Darwin only presented a hypothesis that has not been proved by him or anyone else," Maria Shraiber's father said. "Therefore, we think that when schools impose this theory on children as the only scientific option, they violate the human right of free choice." Yelena Mamedova, deputy headmaster at the school, earlier said that Maria did not know biology well enough, even though she was a good student. "Her grades were never very good in biology. I don't think she knows Darwin's theory very well," Mamedova said, adding that teachers had never discussed Maria's lawsuit.
by Staff Writers
St. Petersburg (RIA Novosti) Feb 22, 2007
A St. Petersburg court rejected Wednesday a lawsuit against Russia's education authorities over the compulsory teaching of evolution in schools. Maria Shraiber, a high school girl from Russia's second city, and her father, Kirill Shraiber have said their suit does not seek to abolish the teaching of Darwinism in schools, which was official dogma in Soviet times, but to give schoolchildren the right to study other theories regarding the origins of life.
According to the schoolgirl's father, Shraiber had left school and the country, citing pressure from teachers and anonymous threats ever since the suit was filed in July last year.

"Masha used to be a good student, but after we filed the suit, she received six Ds on her quarterly report card," he said. "Of course, we expected some confrontation, but not like this."

Mr Shraiber said Maria had left for the Dominican Republic where she had already found a job at a real estate and travel agency.

The Shraiber family said they hoped the litigation would alter the curriculum and result in new textbooks that did not offer only one explanation for the origins of life.

"Darwin only presented a hypothesis that has not been proved by him or anyone else," Shraiber said. "Therefore, we think that when schools impose this theory on children as the only scientific option, they violate the human right of free choice."

Yelena Mamedova, deputy headmaster at the school, earlier said that Maria did not know biology well enough, even though she was a good student.

"Her grades were never very good in biology. I don't think she knows Darwin's theory very well," Mamedova said, adding that teachers had never discussed Maria's lawsuit.

Mamedova said Maria took her school records home with her late last year. "After the court hearings opened, Masha rarely turned up at school, and she has not explained her departure at all," she said.

The Russian lawsuit echoes a string of similar disputes in the United States over the teaching of Creationism alongside Darwinism in the school curriculum. ... m_999.html
Sounds like she got a D in science too. You don't prove science, you disprove it. :)
This article, Who are the British creationists?

covers the usual sort of ground, with the usual suspects, both pro and con, having a say.

But I found this comment posted after it very interesting, and worth spreading further:
The media wrongly describes this as a debate between creationism and evolutionary theory. In fact, the debate is between creationism and the whole of science as we know it. If the universe is less than 10,000 years old, then: all of geology and biology are wrong; the speed of light has been wrongly calculated, so Einsteinian physics is wrong; the distance and speed of other galaxies has been wrongly calculated, meaning that all of astronomy and therefore Newtonian physics are also wrong. For informed people to challenge accepted scientific orthodoxy on the basis of proper evidence is always healthy, but to debunk the whole of science on the back of a story passed down by some Iron Age goat-herders is just self-delusion.

Neil Butcher, Brighton
That argument could be amplified quite a lot, but of course the creationist response would still be that God can create the world and anything in it just as he likes... :roll:
Royal Society to be called to account for creationist view
Mark Henderson, Science Editor

Britain's national academy of science is to be asked to explain its views on creationism in classrooms by a senior MP “horrified” at the reported views of its education director.

Professor Michael Reiss, of the Royal Society, suggested that science teachers should treat creationist beliefs “not as a misconception but as a world-view”. His comments have alarmed Phil Willis, the chairman of the Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee.

“I am at the Royal Society on Wednesday and I will be raising this very issue,” he told The Times yesterday. “I was horrified to hear these views and I reject them totally. They are a step too far and they fly in the face of what science is about. I think if his [Professor Reiss's] views are as mentioned they may be incompatible with his position.”

Mr Willis's intervention follows uproar among senior Royal Society fellows at the opinions of Professor Reiss, a professor of science education at the Institute of Education in London who is also an ordained Church of England clergyman.

Sir Richard Roberts, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1993, is organising a letter from other Nobel laureates calling for his dismissal. The Royal Society hierarchy is standing by Professor Reiss, insisting that he has been misinterpreted.

The furore followed a speech given by Professor Reiss to the British Association for the Advancement of Science on Thursday, in which he said teachers should accept that they are unlikely to change the minds of pupils with creationist beliefs.“I realised that simply banging on about evolution and natural selection didn't lead some pupils to change their minds at all,” he said. “There is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts - hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching - and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion.”

A spokesman for the society said: “Michael's views are the views of the Royal Society. Our position is that if young people put forward a creationist perspective in the classroom, it should be discussed.” ... 760967.ece
'Creationism' biologist quits job

Professor Michael Reiss has quit as director of education at the Royal Society following the controversy over his recent comments on creationism.

Last week Prof Reiss - a Church of England minister - said creationism should be discussed in science lessons if pupils raised the issue.

He was criticised by other scientists - though misquoted as saying creationism should be "taught" in science classes.

The society said some of his comments had been "open to misinterpretation".

This had damaged its reputation.

'Not scientific'

"As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the society, he will step down immediately as director of education - a part-time post he held on secondment," it said in a statement.

"He is to return, full time, to his position as professor of science education at the Institute of Education."

The Royal Society' reiterated that its position was that creationism had no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum.

"However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific."

It added that the society greatly appreciated the efforts of Prof Reiss, a biologist, in furthering its work in the important field of science education over the past two years and wished him well for the future.

Creationists take a literal interpretation of the Bible's description of the origin of life and reject the Darwinian concept of evolution.

Prof Reiss, speaking at the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool, estimated that about one in 10 children was from a family which supported a creationist rather than evolutionary viewpoint.


He said his experience had led him to believe it was more effective to include discussion about creationism alongside scientific theories such as the Big Bang and evolution - rather than simply giving the impression that such children were wrong.

Reacting to his stepping down, Lord Robert Winston, professor of science and society at Imperial College London, said: "I fear that in this action the Royal Society may have only diminished itself.

"This is not a good day for the reputation of science or scientists.

"This individual was arguing that we should engage with and address public misconceptions about science - something that the Royal Society should applaud."
Dawkins gives his opinions on the RS row. There are 110 comments at the link.

Letter: Richard Dawkins on the Royal Society row
18:52 16 September 2008 news service

Enlarge image
Richard Dawkins (Image: Wikimedia Commons/Mike Cornwell)Before Michael Reiss stepped down as director of education for the Royal Society, Dawkins sent New Scientist his thoughts on the creationism row that blew up last week

The Reverend Michael Reiss, the Royal Society's Director of Education, is in trouble because of his views on the teaching of creationism.

Although I disagree with him, what he actually said at the British Association is not obviously silly like creationism itself, nor is it a self-evidently inappropriate stance for the Royal Society to take.

Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who 'respect' creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.

The accommodationists include such godless luminaries as Eugenie Scott, whose National Center for Science Education is doing splendid work in fighting the creationist wingnuts in America. She and her fellow accommodationists bend over backwards to woo the relatively sensible minority among Christians, who accept evolution.

Get the bishops and theologians on the side of science – so the argument runs – and they'll be valuable allies against the naive creationists (who probably include the majority of Christians and certainly almost all Muslims, by the way).

No politician could deny at least the superficial plausibility of this expedient, although it is disappointing how ineffective as allies the 'sensible' minority of Christians turn out to be.

The official line of the US National Academy, the American equivalent of the Royal Society, is shamelessly accommodationist. They repeatedly plug the mantra that there is 'no conflict' between evolution and religion. Michael Reiss could argue that he is simply following the standard accommodationist line, and therefore doesn't deserve the censure now being heaped upon him.

Unfortunately for him as a would-be spokesman for the Royal Society, Michael Reiss is also an ordained minister. To call for his resignation on those grounds, as several Nobel-prize-winning Fellows are now doing, comes a little too close to a witch-hunt for my squeamish taste.

Nevertheless – it's regrettable but true – the fact that he is a priest undermines him as an effective spokesman for accommodationism: "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he!"

If the Royal Society wanted to attack creationism with all fists flying, as I would hope, an ordained priest might make a politically effective spokesman, however much we might deplore his inconsistency.

This is the role that Kenneth Miller, not a priest but a devout Christian, plays in America, where he is arguably creationism's most formidable critic. But if the Society really wants to promote the accommodationist line, a clergyman is the very last advocate they should choose.

Perhaps I was a little uncharitable to liken the appointment of a vicar as the Royal Society's Education Director to a Monty Python sketch. Nevertheless, thoughts of Trojan Horses are now disturbing many Fellows, already concerned as they are by the signals the Society recently sent out through its flirtation with the infamous Templeton Foundation.

Accommodationism is playing politics, while teetering on the brink of scientific dishonesty. I'd rather not play that kind of politics at all but, if the Royal Society is going to go down that devious road, they should at least be shrewd about it. Perhaps, rather than resign his job with the Royal Society, Professor Reiss might consider resigning his Orders?

Richard Dawkins, Fellow of the Royal Society

Typical - the "Giant Aliens, akin to the Nephilim in the bible or Gods of pagan mythology, mixed their DNA with homo erectus to produce modern humans - look at the elongated skulls of early man!" theory doesn't get a look in...
What pisses me off about this affair is that the guy said creationism should be discussed in science class in order to confirm why it wasn't science. Which, in my opinion, is absolutely correct. Skimming over it as if it wasn't even worth discussing at all is unlikely to impress young learners. The media are probably to blame for distorting the message. The Royal Society are cowards for their part in Reiss' resignation (it was mutually agreed between he and they, when really they should have backed his original proposition to the hilt).

Sure, the UK National Curriculum doesn't leave much room for improvisation, but every well-planned class has time for discussion. Opening a module on evolution or genetics with ten minutes calm and rational explanation why creationism is, evidentially speaking, unmitigated cobblers is clearly the way to go.
Would you Adam and Eve it? Quarter of science teachers would teach creationism
• 29% say science classes should include theory
• Poll supports views of former education head
James Randerson, science correspondent
The Guardian, Tuesday 23 December 2008

More than a quarter of science teachers in state schools believe that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in science lessons, according to a national poll of primary and secondary teachers.

The Ipsos/Mori poll of 923 primary and secondary teachers found that 29% of science specialists agreed with the statement: "Alongside the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory, creationism should be TAUGHT in science lessons"

Some 65% of science specialists disagreed with the statement. When asked if creationism should be "discussed" alongside evolution and the Big Bang 73% of science specialists agreed.

That such a large minority of science teachers advocate teaching creationism has dismayed prominent scientists who believe supernatural explanations for the origin of the universe have no place in school science lessons. Professor Richard Dawkins, Britain's best-known evolutionary biologist and a leading secularist, called the findings "a national disgrace".

The teachers who advocate teaching creationism are also directly contradicting the government's guidelines on the subject, which state: "Creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science national curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science." The sample includes teachers from all types of maintained schools including comprehensives, grammars, faith schools and academies. It does not include fee-paying schools.

The survey also indicates strong support for the views of the Royal Society's former director of education, Professor Michael Reiss. He resigned in September over his views on how to include creationism in science lessons. But a majority of science specialists polled endorsed his argument that creationism should be "discussed" in science lessons.

In response to the poll, Reiss said: "School science lessons provide wonderful opportunities for students of all ages to be introduced to scientific thinking about the origins of the universe and evolution of life. At the same time, some students have creationist beliefs. The task of those who teach science is then to teach the science but to treat such students with respect."

Reiss argues that creationism should not be treated as a misconception but as a world view. "Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson," he wrote on shortly before his resignation. "When teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have ... and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion."

At the height of the row, two Nobel prize winners and Fellows of the Royal Society - Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts - publicly called for Reiss to be sacked.

The Ipsos/Mori poll also canvassed support for the more hardline position of only mentioning creationism in the context of dismissing it. It found that only 26% of all teachers and 46% of science specialists agree with Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of the University of Durham, who is quoted as saying "the only reason to mention creationism in schools is to enable teachers to demonstrate why the idea is scientific nonsense".

The poll was conducted between 5 November and 10 December and the results are statistically weighted by sex, age and teaching phase to the known profile of primary and secondary school teachers in England and Wales. Many of the primary teachers polled for the survey may have a science specialism, but teach a range of subjects day to day.

Higgins said creationism as an alternative to Darwin's theory had been "thoroughly discredited". He added: "If a pupil raises it as a hypothesis then a brief discussion as to why creationism is wrong might be appropriate ... But it would undermine any educational system to purposefully teach discredited ideas which are now only perpetuated through ignorance or flawed thinking - one might as well teach astrology, flat Earthism, alchemy or a geocentric universe."

Phil Willis MP, chair of the parliamentary innovation, universities, science and skills select committee, said: "There are ample opportunities elsewhere in the curriculum to discuss belief rather than scientific theory. Science teachers should simply explain why evidence is crucial to good scientific practice." ... -education
I'm starting to think that creationism should be discussed, just so that they can explain why it isn't good science.
Careful, that kind of thinking will get you removed as the Royal Society's Education spokesman.
Mister_Awesome said:
I'm starting to think that creationism should be discussed, just so that they can explain why it isn't good science.
But it's not science (good or bad).

If discussed in schools at all, it should be in classes on Philosophy or Religious Education.
rynner2 said:
Mister_Awesome said:
I'm starting to think that creationism should be discussed, just so that they can explain why it isn't good science.
But it's not science (good or bad).

If discussed in schools at all, it should be in classes on Philosophy or Religious Education.

Er, yeah, that's what I really meant. It should be taught why it isn't science. Way too many people don't know why it isn't science. I hear the same easily-refuted arguements come up way too often, but the arguements are widely believed!
But it's not science (good or bad).

If discussed in schools at all, it should be in classes on Philosophy or Religious Education.

Well, supporters of intelligent design would argue it has a scientific basis. I agree that the fundamentalist "world created in 6 days a few thousand years ago" brigade would struggle to make that claim.

I don't see any issue with touching on the creationist debate in science lessons, provided it's not being taught as a valid alternative hypothesis. Pupils may have questions on it and want to discuss, and I think it is generally better for teachers to do so rather than dismiss it out of hand.
Mister_Awesome said:
Er, yeah, that's what I really meant. It should be taught why it isn't science. Way too many people don't know why it isn't science. I hear the same easily-refuted arguements come up way too often, but the arguements are widely believed!

But that wouldn't matter. The Creationists will use any teaching of the subject/dogma as 'proof' that it becoming a widely accepted fact in education. I mean, where will it end? The teaching in Domestic science that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the real, true creator?
What gets me is that the are many other cultural creation myths, not just the Christian one. Does that mean the Samoan version of events isn't true?
Schools get advice on creationism

Teaching creationism alongside evolution has prompted controversy

Creationism is to be debated alongside the theory of evolution in science and religious education lessons in secondary schools across Hampshire.

Teachers are being given advice on how questions about evolution and God can be explored with 11 to 14-year-olds.

Critics said the advice was "a retrograde step" and should be dropped.

But Hampshire County Council said the report advised schools about resources they may wish to use to encourage "reasoned enquiry and open discussion".

The report was put together by the county's standing advisory council for religious education (Sacre), in an attempt to address the public debate about the relationship between evolution and faith.

The report says the county is "always looking for our students to explore complexity" and sets out how schools may want to take the debate forward in science and religious education (RE) lessons.

The guidance - issued to 70 secondary schools in Hampshire - covers Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, as well as creationism which upholds the biblical story of creation.

It suggests teachers explore with pupils the reasons why Darwin's theories were dismissed and ridiculed in the 19th century.

The advice examines whether it is possible to believe in evolution and a creator God and looks at the concept of intelligent design, which suggests the complexity of the world makes God's intervention the only reasonable explanation.

It considers the heated debate on evolution between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Professor Thomas Huxley, as well as the Roman Catholic Church's stance that mankind may have evolved but that God created the soul.

Sacre chair Councillor Anna McNair Scott said there was no suggestion in the report that creationism was a science, still less that it should be taught as one.

"We asked for the report in the light of recent public debate and decided that we should consider a possible way for schools to address the issue, if they so wished," she said.

"The report is intended simply to advise schools about resources they can use to encourage reasoned enquiry and open discussion about creation and evolution, and suggests how the debate can be carried out across the curriculum areas of science and RE.

"This approach is very much in line with current advice from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, that subjects should co-operate in their development of young people's learning."

But Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: "There is a big difference between answering students' questions about creationism and actually introducing it into the lessons in the first place as part of the curriculum.

"If the teacher raises the topic, then it takes on an authority that it does not deserve.

"Hampshire should think again about this proposal. It will add nothing to the education of children, but will create confusion in their minds about what is science and what is religion."