Sunday, 25 September 2011

Call for Evolution not Creationism Launched

The last few days has seen widespread press coverage of a call for evolution to be taught in UK schools.

The call was headlined by some large organisations and some of the country's top names in science and science communication.

BCSE welcomes this campaign and, in particular, the call for guidelines to be issued to all state funded UK schools stating that creationism can not be presented as valid science in any lesson or activity. This call was first made earlier this year as part of the CrISIS campaign.

It is very gratifying that organisations and individuals far more influential than our own modest group are now calling for Mr Gove to do the right thing.

As we pointed out at the time CrISIS was launched, such a move would be a quick and simple one for Mr Gove, would cost him nothing, and would enable those of us at the grass roots level to defend our children's education against distortions, omissions and downright lies from those either attempting to proselytise their extreme beliefs or trying to undermine science education more generally so as to make future attempts to do so easier. Clear guidelines would also remove the wriggle room used by those trying to make life easy for the creationists without being too obvious about it, and it would also make it easier to show those unaware of this issue and so happy to pretend it does not exist, just what they are up against and what their responsibilities are.

We call on Mr Gove, once again, to do the right thing.

We would further point out that there are currently two main creationist disinformation campaigns active in the UK. The first is based on the "World Around Us" web site that hides any mention of creationism or intelligent design which we covered here. This is being presented as the "secular evidence for creation" by creationist churches around the country and is suggested as a resource for parents and pupils to use to challenge their teachers.

Secondly the Glasgow based C4ID is openly pushing Intelligent Design and, believe it or not, is actually trying to stick to the line that ID isn't creationism despite all the evidence. This group appears well funded and is now involved in promoting heavily subsidised summer schools, seminars and more recently dinners for politicians, academics and educationalists where US based creationism/ID "personalities" get to push their hugely distorted view of science away from the public gaze. Such tactics are well tried in the US where creationists have long given up attempting to even appear to be doing any science and instead concentrate on political lobbying to advance their agendas. Before we dismiss such lobbying as ineffectual we should pause for a moment to remember that the nation that landed on the moon now has almost half their population dismissing vast evidence that world is much older than 6,000 years old and now find themselves with only 28% of their biology teachers able or willing to cover evolution effectively.

Should Michael Gove decide to ignore the growing pressure for action on this issue, the public might begin to wonder about the extent and effect of such political lobbying in conservative party circles.

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