The government released a new set of funding agreements last week including clauses which specifically prohibit pseudoscience.
"The parties acknowledge that clauses 2.43 and 2.44 of the Funding Agreement [which preclude the teaching of pseudoscience and require the teaching of evolution] apply to all academies. They explicitly require that pupils are taught about the theory of evolution, and prevent academy trusts from teaching ‘creationism’ as scientific fact," one clause reads.
The funding agreement defines creationism as "any doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution," and goes on to note that this idea is rejected not only by the scientific community but most mainstream churches as well.
"It does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory," the agreement states.
That got me thinking. Here in the US, legislatures are constantly debating creationist bills, all usually the same old ‘strengths and weaknesses’ boilerplate, and the good guys are reduced to playing defense (often successfully, fortunately). Conservatives and creationists are really good at being aggressive in pushing stupid ideas forward.
So where’s our offense?
Why doesn’t someone (hey, NCSE, what you doin’ today?) take the language of the UK resolution, adapt it to have a more American flavor, and get friendly state politicians to propose it? Many politicians, proposing it many times, just like the game the creationists play. It may not get passed the first time through, but persistence works, and having a clear statement of principle can be a great rallying cry.
And don’t tell me you don’t want to antagonize the electorate. That’s timidity that gets us nowhere. Have you ever noticed that the idiots on the right say incredibly stupid stuff all the time, and they still manage to advance their agenda? So why be shy about saying something intelligent?