UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website

UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website

By staff writers
25 Sep 2006

UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website

-25/09/06

Creationists and anti-evolutionists in the United Kingdom have established a new website, called ëTruth in Scienceí, to try to persuade school parents to lobby for their ideas within the British education system.

The move is the latest attempt by opponents of Darwinian theory to ëteach the controversyí by claiming equivalence for non-scientific theories of origins often derived from fundamentalist interpretations of Christian scripture.

Truth in Science asks, ìAre you aware of what your child is being taught, and have you ever discussed this with his or her science teacher?î It says that a ëfree resource packí is being sent to school heads of science in September 2006.

The new group catalogues among its supporters ëyoung earth creationistsí such as the Rev George Curry, chair of the hard-line Church Society, and Andy McIntosh, a combustion theorist from Leeds.

Also listed are evangelical ministers, including author John Blanchard, and people with scientific qualifications and positions but no accepted status within debates about evolutionary theory as a cornerstone of modern biology.

The website includes GSCE lesson plans for teaching ëIntelligent Designí, which proposes the notion that life on earth may have been produced by an unidentifiable intelligent cause or causes.

In a landmark US decision by a Pennsylvania federal judge in 2005, ID was dismissed as ëunscientificí and unsuitable for the science classroom. Critics say that it is a religious viewpoint masquerading as science, and theologians say that it the discredited ëGod of the gapsí theory in new clothes.

In relation to the National Curriculum, TiS claims: ìAlternatives to Darwinian evolution as a theory of origins can be taught in Key Stages 3 and 4 under the topic of ëIdeas and evidence in scienceí.î

The group says that science teaching in UK schools is ëbiasedí because it does not give room to creationist-style ideas.

But former UK schools minister Jacqui Smith has declared categorically that the government is against the teaching of creationism and ID in science lessons in British schools ñ a position reiterated by Alan Johnson. The OCR Exam Board has also ruled it out ñ but there are evidenced claims that it is being taught in some academies.

Geologist and Anglican vicar Michael Roberts [see his own article] told Ekklesia: ìThe material on the website is carefully packaged, and its YEC roots, and thus its scientific worthlessness, may not be immediately apparent to the undiscerning.î

He added: ìIt is a concern that the authors are sure that OFSTED will not object to their ideas. The result will be to confuse studentsî.

Roberts, himself an evangelical and a long-term campaigner against creationism, believes that the Church of England and other churches have not been outspoken enough in their opposition to anti-evolutionism.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has spoken of creationism as a ëcategory mistakeí because of its misuse of Christian ideas.

Among those who testified against Intelligent Design in the 2005 Dover School Board case in the USA was the noted Catholic scholar John F. Haught, Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, and author of ëGod After Darwin? A Theology of Evolutioní.

Also instrumental to the argument was noted biologist Kenneth Miller (Brown University), who has written ëFinding Darwinís Godí. He demonstrated that ID is not a testable theory in scientific terms.

Commented Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia: ìCreationism and ID are in no way comparable to scientific theories of origins and have no place in the modern science classroom. They also distort mature Christian understandings of the universe as coming into being through the whole world process, not through reversals or denials of that process.î

He added: ìThe roots of creationism, whether in its ëhardí form, or in attenuated ID ideas, lie not in science but in misinterpretations of the Bible. Claims that such notions can be justified from a ëliteralí reading of Genesis are nonsensensical. This book has not one, but two ëcreation storiesí. They differ widely in detail, are highly figurative, and were written to combat fatalistic Ancient Near East cosmogonies by stressing the underlying goodness of the world as a gift of God, not to comment on modern scientific matters.î

The Vaticanís astronomer recently described creationism as ësuperstitioní, and statements on the compatibility of evolutionary theory and Christian faith have been issued by, among others, the Episcopal Church, Presbyterians and Lutherans in the USA.

[Related articles on Ekklesia: Theologians and scientists welcome Intelligent Design ban; Schools minister says creationism has no place in classroom science; Exam Board rules out creationism in UK classrooms; Vatican astronomer says creationism is superstition; Archbishop of Canterbury criticises teaching of creationism; Creationists target schools and universities in Britain; Dawkins attacks creationist plans; Faith schools may allow extremists in, say critics; Creationists plan six more schools; Christians to explore values in science and technology; New Christian academy rejects creationism as 'rubbish']

UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website

-25/09/06

Creationists and anti-evolutionists in the United Kingdom have established a new website, called ëTruth in Scienceí, to try to persuade school parents to lobby for their ideas within the British education system.

The move is the latest attempt by opponents of Darwinian theory to ëteach the controversyí by claiming equivalence for non-scientific theories of origins often derived from fundamentalist interpretations of Christian scripture.

Truth in Science asks, ìAre you aware of what your child is being taught, and have you ever discussed this with his or her science teacher?î It says that a ëfree resource packí is being sent to school heads of science in September 2006.

The new group catalogues among its supporters ëyoung earth creationistsí such as the Rev George Curry, chair of the hard-line Church Society, and Andy McIntosh, a combustion theorist from Leeds.

Also listed are evangelical ministers, including author John Blanchard, and people with scientific qualifications and positions but no accepted status within debates about evolutionary theory as a cornerstone of modern biology.

The website includes GSCE lesson plans for teaching ëIntelligent Designí, which proposes the notion that life on earth may have been produced by an unidentifiable intelligent cause or causes.

In a landmark US decision by a Pennsylvania federal judge in 2005, ID was dismissed as ëunscientificí and unsuitable for the science classroom. Critics say that it is a religious viewpoint masquerading as science, and theologians say that it the discredited ëGod of the gapsí theory in new clothes.

In relation to the National Curriculum, TiS claims: ìAlternatives to Darwinian evolution as a theory of origins can be taught in Key Stages 3 and 4 under the topic of ëIdeas and evidence in scienceí.î

The group says that science teaching in UK schools is ëbiasedí because it does not give room to creationist-style ideas.

But former UK schools minister Jacqui Smith has declared categorically that the government is against the teaching of creationism and ID in science lessons in British schools ñ a position reiterated by Alan Johnson. The OCR Exam Board has also ruled it out ñ but there are evidenced claims that it is being taught in some academies.

Geologist and Anglican vicar Michael Roberts [see his own article] told Ekklesia: ìThe material on the website is carefully packaged, and its YEC roots, and thus its scientific worthlessness, may not be immediately apparent to the undiscerning.î

He added: ìIt is a concern that the authors are sure that OFSTED will not object to their ideas. The result will be to confuse studentsî.

Roberts, himself an evangelical and a long-term campaigner against creationism, believes that the Church of England and other churches have not been outspoken enough in their opposition to anti-evolutionism.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has spoken of creationism as a ëcategory mistakeí because of its misuse of Christian ideas.

Among those who testified against Intelligent Design in the 2005 Dover School Board case in the USA was the noted Catholic scholar John F. Haught, Professor of Theology at Georgetown University, and author of ëGod After Darwin? A Theology of Evolutioní.

Also instrumental to the argument was noted biologist Kenneth Miller (Brown University), who has written ëFinding Darwinís Godí. He demonstrated that ID is not a testable theory in scientific terms.

Commented Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia: ìCreationism and ID are in no way comparable to scientific theories of origins and have no place in the modern science classroom. They also distort mature Christian understandings of the universe as coming into being through the whole world process, not through reversals or denials of that process.î

He added: ìThe roots of creationism, whether in its ëhardí form, or in attenuated ID ideas, lie not in science but in misinterpretations of the Bible. Claims that such notions can be justified from a ëliteralí reading of Genesis are nonsensensical. This book has not one, but two ëcreation storiesí. They differ widely in detail, are highly figurative, and were written to combat fatalistic Ancient Near East cosmogonies by stressing the underlying goodness of the world as a gift of God, not to comment on modern scientific matters.î

The Vaticanís astronomer recently described creationism as ësuperstitioní, and statements on the compatibility of evolutionary theory and Christian faith have been issued by, among others, the Episcopal Church, Presbyterians and Lutherans in the USA.

[Related articles on Ekklesia: Theologians and scientists welcome Intelligent Design ban; Schools minister says creationism has no place in classroom science; Exam Board rules out creationism in UK classrooms; Vatican astronomer says creationism is superstition; Archbishop of Canterbury criticises teaching of creationism; Creationists target schools and universities in Britain; Dawkins attacks creationist plans; Faith schools may allow extremists in, say critics; Creationists plan six more schools; Christians to explore values in science and technology; New Christian academy rejects creationism as 'rubbish']

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.