It warms the cockles of my heart to see this sort of thing, it does. Scientists in Britain are on the attack!
Leading scientists have launched an unprecedented attack on the teaching of creationist theories in Tony Blair’s flagship academies.
Britain’s most prestigious scientific body, the Royal Society, said children were being confused by the teaching of the Bible’s creation story in science lessons.
I think we need more like this. We typically sit back, we’re engaged with our own work, our own collection of smart students, and we avoid getting angry at the dirty dealings of the creationists, the lies they spread, the attention and effort and money they suck up with their fraud and ignorance. It’s long past time to be proactive and strike out at them.
In a statement issued today, the Royal Society defends Darwin’s theory of evolution as the best explanation for life on earth.
It accuses the Government of failing in its duty to ensure pupils at state schools, including the academies, learn the value of genuine science.
The Royal Society statement is very good and clear and strong. It doesn’t mince words in dismissing Intelligent Design, either.
Some proponents of an alternative explanation for the diversity of life on Earth now claim that their theories are based on scientific evidence. One such view is presented as the theory of intelligent design. This proposes that some species are too complex to have evolved through natural selection and that therefore life on Earth must be the product of a ‘designer’. Its supporters make only selective reference to the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports evolution, and treat gaps in current knowledge which, as in all areas of science, certainly exist – as if they were evidence for a ‘designer’. In this respect, intelligent design has far more in common with a religious belief in creationism than it has with science, which is based on evidence acquired through experiment and observation. The theory of evolution is supported by the weight of scientific evidence; the theory of intelligent design is not.
The closing paragraph also says something important:
Science has proved enormously successful in advancing our understanding of the world, and young people are entitled to learn about scientific knowledge, including evolution. They also have a right to learn how science advances, and that there are, of course, many things that science cannot yet explain. Some may wish to explore the compatibility, or otherwise, of science with various religious beliefs, and they should be encouraged to do so. However, young people are poorly served by deliberate attempts to withhold, distort or misrepresent scientific knowledge and understanding in order to promote particular religious beliefs.
Young people are entitled to learn about scientific knowledge. I think that’s a key part of what should be our educational philosophy. People should be free to abandon reason and believe what they want as adults, but we as a society are obligated to give our kids the best opportunity possible and to teach them the most successful, best established scientific ideas—not “controversies” or fairy tales designed for compatibility with their biases, but what works. The creationists are advocating the dumbing down of science education and are peddling ignorance instead of knowledge. I consider what they are doing to be criminal child abuse.
So, yeah, we should be on the attack.