You cannot petition the Lord with prayer! But you can petition the British government

It’s a very sensible petition, too, asking the UK government to treat creationism appropriately.

Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories, but they are portrayed as scientific theories by some religious fundamentalists who attempt to have their views promoted in publicly-funded schools. At the same time, an understanding of evolution is central to understanding all aspects of biology. Currently, the study of evolution does not feature explicitly in the National Curriculum until year 10 (ages 14-15). Free Schools and Academies are not obliged to teach the National Curriculum and so are under no obligation to teach about evolution at all. We petition the Government to make clear that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories and to prevent them from being taught as such in publicly-funded schools, including in ‘faith’ schools, religious Academies and religious Free Schools. At the same time, we want the Government to make the teaching of evolution in mandatory in all publicly-funded schools, at both primary and secondary level.

Yeah, I can get behind that.

(Also on Sb)


  1. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says


    Seems like the answer is No, at least if you want to fill it in honestly. I ticked no to the question UK citizen or resident? and got the message You must be a UK citizen or normally live in the UK to create or sign e-petitions.

  2. Barry Desborough says

    If you are a non-resident in the UK, but a UK citizen, you can tick yes and sign the petition. But if the petition is ‘swarmed’ by non-citizens-non-residents, the petition is likely to be discarded without consideration.

  3. binjabreel says

    @Beatrice: Well, you could just lie about it.

    Also, I’m incredibly amused that this place gets as many ads for Christian Mingle as my Facebook page does. Maybe I should finally sign up. I think I might like to meet more gullible, easily-manipulated women…

  4. HairyChris says

    As a UKer who went through secondary ed (12 – 16) in the mid-80s, I didn’t get taught evolution at all. I quit studying biology at 14 so my memory may be hazy. However the prevailing atmosphere was definitely pro-evolution as most of us were exposed to the majesty of The Attenborough from an early age. Magical thinking didn’t come in to it, certainly in the science class.

    Academies have been a pet dislike of mine since day 1. I was aware that private schools didn’t necessarily have to teach the UK curriculum (you get what you pay for) but the academies allow this bullshit in to public schools by the back door.

    Consider petition signed and Facebooked.

  5. magistramarla says

    Excellent letter!
    Come on, UK! Show us how much more intellectual you are than the US and enact this!

  6. says

    E-Petitions are an official UK Government initiative, designed to allow the public to ‘influence government policy’ The idea being that if your e-petition gets 100,000 signatures it might be debated in parliament. If you want a laugh/cry try trawling through a sample of the petitions. The full range of crazy in on display there. There are one or two sensible petitions as well, like this one.

    However as this is supposed to allow the public to influence UK Government policy I think – as a UK citizen – that only UK citizens should be able to sign.

  7. magistramarla says

    I attended public schools in the US in the ’60s & ’70s.
    I was introduced to evolution in Jr. High (13-14), had an excellent honors biology class in high school, and believe it or not, my husband and I received an excellent science education at a Catholic university. We were both taught critical thinking at an early age and it was reinforced in college.
    The US was going in the right direction 30-40 years ago. The insanity here in the US began near the end of the ’70s and has continually gotten worse.

  8. says

    I went to sign it, and am waiting for email to let me confirm, but I am a bit concerned that after I sent it I noticed a closing date of a week ago today.

  9. BrightonRocks says

    Thanks for the heads up on that PZ, as a science teacher in the UK I have just signed.

    DavidB don’t worry I think that the closing date was 12 Aug 2012 so plenty of time left yet.

  10. says

    I am a UK citizen and signed this day 1.

    @Glen Davidson #4. Many people spotted this, but I guess you can’t change the petition once people have already signed it.

    @HairyChris #8. I was taught it in a comprehensive around 1980, I remember questioning group selection at around 12 years old, but being given a dogmatic answer. So a mixed experience.

    @magistramarla #12. The US has always held the flame of the enlightenment, it is such a tragedy that the neo-con fundies have corrupted and dimmed that flame. Perhaps we rationalists should be making more noise, and perhaps raising a petition in the US.

    @David B #15. The petition is open until Aug 2012. :-)

  11. Graeme says

    @johnnm55: Not might, will. It’s a legal requirement that if any petition reaches 100,000 signatures it will be allotted 1 hour in the house, though there is no bind on parliment to enact anything contained in the petition.

    And yes, this is UK resident or subject only. The one bar on the creationism thing here is that we’re held into league tables, and all schools (even free academies) will have to achieve nationally recognised awards. At the moment creationism is dismissed as it should be, and I can’t see any exam board achieving accreditation if they tried to promote it. A nice petition can’t hurt though!!

  12. says

    hmmm, pity we don’t have this system in NZ. While the national Science curriculum is big on evolution, private faith-based schools can & do opt out, & I know of at least a couple that teach the full YEC view. And of course there’s homeschoolers – not all, but many do teach creationism to their kids. Sigh.

  13. Brian Jordan says

    The British Humanist Association has made a pigs ear of this, launching the petition without fanfare, during the holiday season and not even emailing members.
    It needs a sort of benign Pharyngulisation to get the numbers up from the current pathetic 2400 signatures – the creationists are laughing their socks off.
    We need 100,000 sigs to get it debated in parliament – go to it, UK Pharyngulites, PLEASE!
    (duplicated from Old Pharyngula)

  14. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Signed. Shouldn’t be needed, and it’s to our shame and embarrassment that it’s even mooted – but given that religious crap is far from dead in the UK education system, I hope it gets plenty of signatories.

    Suggest publicising it as much as possible, but not swamping it with loads of non-UK signatories – as noted above, that will only get it disqualified. And for once this is not quite the same as a dumb internet poll, since there’s an undertaking (FWIW) to give it a scrap of time in “the House” if we make it to 100k.

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