Wednesday, 3 February 2010

View From the Pulpit : Why I joined the BCSE - Professor Paul S. Braterman, M.A., D.Phil., D. Sc.

I have joined BCSE because I agree with its mission of supporting science education, and, more specifically, because of my concerns about the spread of a new, largely US-inspired, brand of Creationist thinking in this country (see, for example, the chilling account at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/feb/21/religion.highereducation).

My own background is in chemistry, which I taught at Glasgow University until 1988, and then the University of North Texas until my formal retirement in 2007. I have been interested in chemical problems related to the origins of life for some 30 years, and this brought me into direct contact with the Creationist movement in the US. When I returned to the UK after a 20 year absence, I was horrified to find that this movement is now targeting the UK, with direct assistance from such wealthy and highly professional bodies as the Discovery Institute (an Intelligent Design thinktank), and the undiscriminatingly creationist cult of Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya).

The avowed aim of both these bodies is to undermine the teaching of naturalistic explanations, and replace it with the untestable and therefore scientifically empty concept of a directing intelligence. Even worse, this aim is ultimately driven by a naïve scriptural literalism, which would consign to the garbage can the central concepts of biology, cosmology, and physics, as well as over 2000 years of rich scholarship and debate within the religious communities themselves.

Welcome aboard Paul.

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