Monday, November 13, 2006

Bring back theocracy!?

Last week (yes I know that's a long time ago in this hyperfast day and age) a new religion backed think-tank called Theos published a report called Doing God: A Future for Faith in the Public Square. This called for links between religion (Christianity I assume) and state to be upheld (and strengthened) and has been backed by leading (Christian) figures. Following this the Archbishop of York has been condeming the erosion of Christianity from public life due to illiberal atheists undermining Britain's religious heritage. It's a position that secularists (me being one) would argue very strongly against, as religion should be a private affiar and should be totally separate from the state. There should be no government preference (perceived or otherwise) towards any religion, or non-religious group, with everyone treated equaly in the eye's of the state. Apparently there's only the UK and Iran where religious leaders sit on the state legislature - these being the bishops in the House of Lords. A response to this report can be found on the National Secular Society's website here.

In another note from the NSSs website there was a quote by our good reverand Tony Blair saying talk of Creationism in some schools (being some of the new part privately funded City academies sponsored by the evangelical Christain Peter Vardy) was "hugely exagerated". He goes on to say “I’ve visited one of the schools in question and as far as I’m aware they are teaching the curriculum in a normal way. If I notice creationism becoming the mainstream of the education system in this country then that’s the time to start worrying,”. Now I have some issue with what he says there. I don't think you should wait for Creationism to become mainstrean before you start worrying there Tony. I think if Creationism is being taught in even one school then you should be worried and stamping it out hard. You can't let these schools teach there own warped brand of knowledge just for fear of losing people ready to sponsor you City academies scheme. It's a very dangerous route to let any school go down.

[Update - In todays Guardian there was an article on an Intelligent Design information pack being sent out to UK school by the group Truth in Science (it was also on Newsnight tonight). You'd hope from a group called Truth in Science this would be an information pack on how to counter ID arguments, however in reality it's an ID propaganda exercise. From the article is scarily seems that there is some positive feedback and take up of this information pack from school head's of science!

"The teaching pack, which includes two DVDs and a manual, was sent to the head of science at all secondary schools in the country on September 18 by the group Truth in Science. The enclosed feedback postcard was returned by 89 schools. As well as 59 positive responses, 15 were negative or dismissive and 15 said the material was 'not suitable'"

The claim as ever by the distributors of the pack is that they are just trying to give the ID theory a voice in the science class and be critical of Darwinism. The reality is that they are trying to put across a religious viewpoint as if it has some basis in testable science. This should be kept well clear of the science classroom.

The government to it's credit has said "Neither intelligent design nor creationism are recognised scientific theories and they are not included in the science curriculum.", however the fact that there are some science teachers who are willing to use this material is still very worrying.

There are quite a lot of other places in the internet where you can read about people speaking out against ID, so I'm not going to say anything lengthy here, although read this for the ruling from a US case brought to court about teaching ID in schools.]


  1. Anonymous4:26 pm

    However, notice that is didn't say how many school received the pack, only that 89 replied and 5-odd were positive. I reckon there must be hundreds of secondary school in England, and I'll bet the ones that didn't even send the reply form back (the large majority) thought "what a load of rubbish!" and threw it out.

    The schools could also show it to classes to teach pupils how to weed out misinformation in today's society...

  2. The article said 59 were positive responses! The 89 in total that replied is only a small fraction of secondary schools, so I hope the rest dismissed it and threw it out as rubbish. Of those that kept it I can only hope that they used it to show how to spot religious misinformation (or the point of view of a certain belief system), but again I'd expect this as part of an R.E. class rather than science.