30 scientists have today demanded the Governments toughen rules on the teaching of Creationism in schools both in and out of the science classroom.
The group, which includes Sir David Attenborough, Sir Paul Nurse, Prof Colin Blakemore, Rev Prof Michael Reiss and Richard Dawkins have signed a statement declaring it “unacceptable” to teach creationism and intelligent design in the schools whether this is in the science classroom or otherwise. The statement claims two organisations, Truth in Science and Creation Ministries International are:
“touring the UK and presenting themselves as scientists and their creationist views as science”.
The Twenty-First floor highlighted this issue as part of its ongoing fake ID campaign back in October last year and is pleased to see that the issue is gathering more attention. However I am cautious regarding a blanket ban on creationism being taught outside the classrooms as it could perhaps be used to encourage critical thinking within religious and philosophical education.
In England and Wales the Department for Education says all schools must teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and creationism should not be taught as scientific fact. However the Guardian revealed that a 2006 survey by Opinionpanel found that nearly 20% of UK students said they had been taught creationism as fact by their main school which worries the scientists. What is perhaps more worrying is that in Scotland, where education remains a devolved matter, there remains no clear guidance on the teaching of ID or creationism in or out of the science classroom.
The Twenty-First Floor previously raised this issue with Learning and Teaching Scotland and the response can be found here. It left us as much in the dark as to the Governments position on the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent design as we were before getting in contact.
For those who feel the teaching of creationism is not a serious issue in the UK it is worth considering the statistic found at the end of this article:
In 2009, an Ipsos Mori survey found that more than half of British adults think that intelligent design and creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school science lessons – a proportion higher than in the US.
A petition relating to the teaching of Creationism in England and Wales can be signed here and the full text of the statement has appeared on Pharyngula. The Twenty-First Floor would like to request the scientists forward a copy of their letter to the Scottish parliament as well as Westminster.
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