Dozens of schools are using creationist teaching materials condemned by the government as “not appropriate to support the science curriculum”, the Guardian has learned.
The packs promote the creationist alternative to Darwinian evolution called intelligent design and the group behind them said 59 schools are using the information as “a useful classroom resource”.
On this day (24th November), 147 years ago, Charles Darwin’s revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species, was published. His theory of evolution by natural selection is still generally accepted as the best explanation of how life on Earth developed.
Some of the children were dancing, their bodies writhing and twisting, their arms flailing in the air, perspiration on their foreheads. Some had fallen to the ground, ‘slain in the spirit’, as the phrase has it, and were now crouching and kneeling in prayer, while the grown-ups moved among them laying on hands, some speaking in tongues.
Ruth, who is eight years old, was sobbing quietly. Earlier that day she had been one of those to come forward during the ‘prophetic dance’ session, when Pastor Becky Fischer asked if anybody had heard the word of God and had something to impart.
There is currently an online petition calling for the abolishment of faith schools. It reads:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools.
Online petitions are often a waste of time, but 10 Downing Street is actually encouraging them.
This talk was prepared for a Faith & Reflection Day at Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, on 3 November 2006. The event ended the school’s One World Fortnight. I had to skip a chunk of my talk because the previous speakers overran (don’t you just hate it when that happens?), and we were running out of time.
The other speakers included a Jew, a Unitarian, a Buddhist, the Mayor of Woodbridge, John Gummer MP, a Hospice Chaplain, the Bishop of Dunwich, a Quaker, and the local Vicar, who said he agreed with everything I said.
Since I started this sentence, the Earth’s travelled 100 miles around the Sun, the Sun’s moved 1,000 miles in its circuit of the Galaxy, and the Orion Nebula’s moved 100,000 miles relative to us. A few years ago, NASA took a photograph with the Hubble Space Telescope, leaving the shutter open for 10 days. The 10-inch square photograph is of an area of space that to the naked eye is about the same size as a grain of sand viewed from 6 feet away. To cross it at 10 times the speed of light would take 300,000 years. There are about 1,500 galaxies in the picture, each containing billions of stars. Here we are, whirling round a relatively small star, a tiny planet in all the vastness of space. It’s a small world.
A new educational project has begun in Bosnia-Hercegovina, aimed at ending ethnic divisions in the country.
British people waste more energy than the inhabitants of any other major western European nation, hastening climate change and adding £2.5bn to annual fuel bills, according to research.
An ICM poll conducted in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, showed that the British seem less concerned about global warming that our European neighbours.
- 71% leave appliances on standby
- 67% boil more water than needed in kettles
- 65% leave chargers plugged in
- 63% don’t turn off lights in empty rooms
- 48% use the car for short journeys
- 44% wash clothes at 60F
- 32% leave the engine running while the car is stationary
- 32% use the tumble dryer when the washing line could be used
- 28% have the central heating on in an empty house
- 22% turn up the thermostat instead of reaching for a jumper
If you’re not one of the culprits, good for you – Humanists should care for the environment. But have you considered everything?
If you are involved with RE teaching in Suffolk you’ll know about the new RE syllabus that was launched at Endeavour House yesterday.
Now that Humanism is officially included in the syllabus, we must provide teachers with the resources to teach it. RE is often taught by non-specialists and teams that change from term to term. Teachers who are new to Humanism will find it especially difficult to work out how to approach the subject. One teacher has already told me that he has difficulty with including Humanism in the syllabus because “you don’t have festivals and rituals, like the religions do.”
Secularisation is not on the retreat in western Europe. Yet it is true that new threats to individual liberties and to the religious neutrality of governments are coming from many (not all) organised religious denominations. National situations are somehow different from one another, but nowhere in Europe is the society going back to the time when a common set of religiously-based beliefs was the one and basic common ground for values and views shared by almost every member of the society itself.