EADT article about Darwinism v Creationism in schools

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3 Responses

  1. John Palmer says:

    My first reaction to the article is: how did someone with Professor Reiss’ views ever get to be director of education at the Royal Society?

    If I were to respond to the article, I would cite David Attenborough’s example of the African worm that blinds people, by eating their eyeballs. Nature can encompass such horror, but do creationists really think that this was a designed creature? There is the evidence of the current evolution of the pepper moth, adapting to changes caused by air pollution. And how can intelligent designers not be impressed by the beauty of evolution demonstrated by Darwin’s finches?

    Oh, I was forgetting. They have faith, not science.

  2. Margaret Nelson says:

    Dear Sir,

    Kate Whiting’s piece about the conflict between creationists and evolutionists (or Darwinists) over school science lessons (EADT, 28/1/09) refers to the unlikely possibility of “reconciliation” between the two groups.

    I don’t see how reconciliation is possible, nor do I consider it desirable. Children, or their parents, can’t be allowed to negotiate what they’re willing to learn. Would it be acceptable for a child to argue with his or her geography teacher that the Earth is flat, because he or she came from a family of flat-earthers? I don’t see the difference.

    Many of those who demand respect show very little towards anyone else, particularly those who have the temerity to disagree with them. They take offence at the slightest hint that they might reconsider their beliefs in the light of all the evidence for evolution; an increasing body of evidence. They persist in treating mythology as fact. And when they’re in danger of losing their arguments, they get nasty. Sir David Attenborough (who’s never nasty) is amongst many who’ve received sack loads of hate mail over this. He says he’s often asked why he doesn’t give God the credit for the wonders of Nature, but the people who ask this usually mean pretty birds and butterflies, not things like the parasitic worm that burrows into an African child’s eye, blinding her. Another problem with creation stories is that there are so many of them, from all over the world. They’re all just stories, whoever wrote them.

    The effect of “respect” for religious beliefs is muddle about the purpose of education. Unfortunately, the increasingly strident demands of some creationists, particularly Muslim fundamentalists, has intimidated teachers, some of whom have been verbally or physically threatened by creationist parents, simply for teaching children about evolution. One absurd consequence has been anti-evolutionism among first year science and medical students. Prof Steve Jones of University College London has called it an “insidious and growing problem”. These young people expect to pass their exams, despite quoting sayings from the Bible or Qur’an as scientific fact and rejecting evolution.

    I suggest that those (including some politicians, fearful of losing their seats) who want us to “respect” the views of creationists are helping to drag us all back into the scientific Dark Ages, when we knew no better. The effect of a general reluctance to confront and dismiss such nonsense will be a paucity of good science teachers and scientists, just as we need them to help us tackle world-wide problems caused by over-population and climate change.

    Yours faithfully, etc.

  3. Margaret Nelson says:

    My letter to the EADT hasn’t been published. David thinks it’s because I mentioned Muslims, and they’re ultra-sensitive about upsetting them. Maybe it’s because it was too long.

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