Teach evolution, not creationism

By Agencies
19 Sep 2011

Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories, but they are portrayed as scientific theories by some religious fundamentalists who attempt to have their views promoted in publicly-funded schools. There should be enforceable statutory guidance that they may not be presented as scientific theories in any publicly-funded school of whatever type.

Organisations like ‘Truth in Science’ are encouraging teachers to incorporate ‘intelligent design’ into their science teaching. ‘Truth in Science’ has sent free resources to all Secondary Heads of Science and to school librarians around the country that seek to undermine the theory of evolution and have ‘intelligent design’ ideas portrayed as credible scientific viewpoints. Speakers from Creation Ministries International are touring the UK, presenting themselves as scientists and their creationist views as science at a number of schools.

The current government guidance that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ should not be taught in school science should be made statutory and enforceable. It also needs to be made comprehensive so that it is clear that any portrayal of creationism and ‘intelligent design’ as science (whether it takes place in science lessons or not) is unacceptable.

An understanding of evolution is central to understanding all aspects of biology. The teaching of evolution should be included at both primary and secondary levels in the National Curriculum and in all schools.

Currently, the study of evolution does not feature explicitly in the National Curriculum until year 10 (ages 14-15), but the government is overseeing a review of the whole curriculum with the revised National Curriculum for science being introduced in September 2012 to be made compulsory from 2013. Free Schools and Academies are not obliged to teach the National Curriculum and so are under no obligation to teach about evolution at all.

Signatories

Organisations:

Association for Science Education
The Association for Science Education is a dynamic community of teachers, technicians, and other professionals supporting science education and is the largest subject association in the UK. The ASE is an independent and open forum for debate and a powerful force to promote excellence in science teaching and learning, with unique benefits for members.

British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

British Science Association
The British Science Association is the UK’s nationwide, open membership organisation that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering. Established in 1831, the British Science Association organises major initiatives across the UK, including National Science and Engineering Week and the annual British Science Festival.

Campaign for Science & Engineering
The Campaign for Science & Engineering is a leading independent advocate for science and engineering in the UK. CaSE’s objective is to communicate to Parliament and the nation as a whole the economic and cultural importance of scientific and technological education and development, and the vital need for the funding of this research by Government and industry.

Ekklesia
Ekklesia is an independent, not-for-profit think tank which examines the role of religion in public life and advocates transformative ideas and solutions rooted in theological thinking and dialogue with others. It also looks at the operation of beliefs and values in society and politics more widely.

Individuals:

Jim Al-Khalili OBE
Sir David Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA
Sir Patrick Bateson FRS
Professor Colin Blakemore FRS, FMedSci, HonFSB, HonFRCP
Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS, FMedSci
Sir Roy Calne FRS
Dr Helena Cronin
Professor Richard Dawkins FRS, FRSL
Professor Robin Dunbar FBA, FRAI
Professor R. John Ellis FRS
Professor Sir Anthony Epstein CBE, FRS
Dr Dylan Evans
Sir James Gowans CBE, FRCP, FRS
Professor Robert Hinde, CBE, FRS, (hon) FBA, FRCPsych
Dr Julian Huppert MP
Professor Hugh Huxley FRS, MBE
Professor Steve Jones
Professor Sir Hans Kornberg FRS
Lord Krebs FRS, FMedSci
Professor Sir Harold Kroto KCB, FRS
Professor John Lee MBBS, PhD, FRCPath
Sir Paul Nurse PRS
Rev Professor Michael Reiss FSB, FRSA, AcSS
Professor Steven Rose
Sir David Smith FRS FRSE
Sir Fraser Stoddart FRS, FRSE
Sir John Sulston FRS
Professor Raymond Tallis FMedSci, FRCP, FRSA
James Williams FSB CSciTeach
Professor Lewis Wolpert CBE, FRS, FRSL
(Biographical notes here: http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/signatories/)

* More on the Teach evolution, not creationism! initiative: http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/

* Progress so far: http://evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk/progress/

* e-petition to the government: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1617

* Ekklesia's comment on the launch of this venture: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15403

* Theology, science and the problem of ID (Ekklesia, November 2008): http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/6707

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.