Creationism in the classroom?

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Responding to comments from the Rev Professor Michael Reiss, a biologist and director of education at the Royal Society, that creationism should be covered in science lessons as a recognised “world-view”, the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia has cautioned that the proposal could cause “unnecessary confusion.”

“Professor Reiss’ argument is well intentioned but potentially damaging, especially in the way that it has been misreported,” says Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow. “We need to understand that the so-called ‘controversy’ he is responding to is one being promoted by well-funded, highly politicised lobby groups who represent a small but vocal minority of mainly fundamentalist believers.”

Barrow continued: “Seeking to talk respectfully to children who come from backgrounds suspicious of modern evolutionary biology is one thing, but anything that gives the impression that creationism is some kind of valid alternative theory of origins in a science classroom is not - as Professor Reiss has clarified.”

“In fact creationism, which derives from the misreading of ancient figurative religious texts, is not based on testable scientific hypotheses – but rather a dogmatic refusal of evidence. It is recognised by scholars and the major denominations as both theologically and scientifically untenable.”

“It may be important that classrooms dealing with world-views and beliefs should examine why such denial-based ideas like this arise, but this should not detract from the main task of science education – any more than a geography classroom should be distracted from teaching topography in favour of flat-earthism, or chemistry should include alchemy.”

Ekklesia also welcomed the recent statement from the Church of England’s director of mission and public affairs that science and faith can be “perfectly compatible” and that creationism has created a false impression of Christianity and the church as a whole.

Barrow declared: “It is vital that the churches explain why creationism, which denies science and biblical interpretation and which turns God into a ‘cosmic manipulator’, contradicts the genuine Christian belief that the whole natural process may be seen as divine gift to be explored and cherished.”

Also from Ekklesia: ‘Theology, science and the problem of Intelligent Design’ - http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/6707

More on creationism - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/101