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← Should creationism be taught in British classrooms?

Should creationism be taught in British classrooms? - Comments

erindorothy's Avatar Comment 1 by erindorothy

No, no, no bloody no! Until they can produce absolute evidence for their violent sky daddy - keep their nonsense out of class rooms.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:31:00 UTC | #456535

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 2 by NewEnglandBob

When Hell freezes over. Oh wait, there is no hell. No problem - then just NO!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:35:00 UTC | #456536

Redfingers's Avatar Comment 3 by Redfingers

I fully support schools teaching children that creationism is bullshit.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:40:00 UTC | #456538

Puppy Burner's Avatar Comment 4 by Puppy Burner

We should definitely teach Creationism once they can show some proof.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:41:00 UTC | #456539

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 5 by robotaholic


edit - just some silly old tree rings prove them wrong - or hey the diamond on the finger -

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:42:00 UTC | #456540

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 6 by Saganic Rites

In general religion is taught in schools much earlier than science, so that by the the time that the average pupil is faced with evolution he/she will already have had several years of creationism lodged in their heads, so in reality creationism has always been taught in schools. If the bible/koran/whatever can be simplified and taught to very young children then surely we can do the same with the sciences, particularly the evolutionary aspect.
Children are not as stupid as many people think; since mine were very young I have taken great care to educate them about evolution, starting very simply and getting more complex as they got older. I haven't had to force my views on them, just given them the outline and made information available to them. The result is that my children are now well balanced, intelligent young adults who feel no need for religion. My youngest did flirt with religion for a time whilst in her teens, but after a couple of years of gave it up as 'superstitious crap' (her words, not mine).

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:47:00 UTC | #456542

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 7 by robotaholic

cheers BryanFisher - you sound like a good daddy - I'm all like provide data at any stage of development & world view should align with reality-

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 00:53:00 UTC | #456544

Harvatos's Avatar Comment 8 by Harvatos

Should creationism be taught in British classrooms?

Uh... no.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 01:05:00 UTC | #456547

Balstrome's Avatar Comment 9 by Balstrome

Critical thinking and logic should be taught and how to apply these to every other subject on offer. That is the PC thing to do.Give the correct tools and let the tikes make up their own minds.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 01:09:00 UTC | #456548

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 10 by Bonzai

Creationism has received similarly short shrift from evolutionists. In a study published in 1983, the philosopher of science Philip Kitcher concluded that the flat-earth theory, the chemistry of the four elements and medieval astrology were all as valid as creationism (not at all, that is).

Just what kind of treatment does he think creationism should receive?

The paragraph quoted and the one above it seem to try to set up some kind of symmetry between evolution and creationism as two equal antagonists in a great drama. There is NOMA but this guy seems to be going even one step further.

Even the title of the piece is misleading. Does he think it is a real question?

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 01:14:00 UTC | #456551

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 11 by EvidenceOnly

To me the easy test is this:

1. Should we teach alchemy in chemistry class? NO!
2. Should we teach astrology in astronomy class? NO!
3. Should we teach the stork theory to future medical doctors? NO!

Only if the answer is YES to all these questions, would it make sense to teach creationism in science class.

By the way, how much time would be left for real science if science class had to include ALL creation myths? NONE!

I'm a scientist but not a teacher but if a student asked me why I'm not teaching creationism or intelligent design (from the Dishonesty Institute), I would simply say that I don't want to take their iPods, iPhones, iPads, computers away because they are all based on science, not on myth or ignorance.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 02:02:00 UTC | #456560

Mbee's Avatar Comment 12 by Mbee

Sure teach Creationism, religion, ID, Stork theory, FSM, Fairies and all the other mythologies - but in a Mythology class. It is good to discuss all these ideas.
They do not however belong in the science class.
Science requires evidence - no evidence - not science.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 02:21:00 UTC | #456563

MondSemmel's Avatar Comment 13 by MondSemmel

I won't bother reading yet another article flirting with creationism, but I just wanted to point out that the headline is deeply misleading.

The vast majority of people would allow schools to put creationism in school curricula - in religion classes, that is. The issue ONLY becomes retarded because that's not what ID proponents want. They don't want their creationism there, they want it in science classes. These two issues really have to be seen seperately IMO. (Of course, I don't know how different countries handle religion classes at school. In Bavaria, Germany, where I live, we had 2 hours of religion classes per week every year (you (= your parents) can choose between ethics, catholicism and protestantism).)

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 02:33:00 UTC | #456565

RMIV's Avatar Comment 14 by RMIV

Bolloks! Britian is beginning to look a lot like Texas!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 02:38:00 UTC | #456568

DeepFritz's Avatar Comment 15 by DeepFritz

The answer is YES! The class should be called Stupidity 101.

The class should be taught BS detection, and taught who is writing this garbage and why...

The best thing about my years 11 and 12 english was the "Response to Issues" assignments. They mandated that you ask - who is writing the article in the letters column of the newspapers£ what their background is£ Why would they be writing their article£ what is their agenda£ What tactics and language are they using in their writing£

I did well on this assignment because I think I was born cynical ;)

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 02:47:00 UTC | #456571

pyjamaslug's Avatar Comment 16 by pyjamaslug

It's a tad hard to post here while avoiding the jerking knees; more peanuts, anyone?

Read this:

When teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have in order to shape and provoke a genuine discussion. The word "genuine" doesn't mean that creationism and intelligent design deserve equal time with evolution. They don't. However, in certain classes, depending on the teacher's comfort with talking about such issues, his or her ability to deal with them, and the make-up of the student body, it can and should be appropriate to address them.

So you can see that Prof. Reiss is hardly advocating that creationism should be taught as a scientific theory, simply arguing that it can and in certain contexts should, be dealt with as an invalid counter argument to evolutionary theory. This is perfectly sensible and almost certainly necessary in a world where children have been taught the creation myth since birth, but are exposed to biology only from the age of about 12 (in England, at any rate).

There are people here who are having a fit of the screaming abdabs at the possibility that science teachers might have to dispose of a contrary argument (easily done, I might add).

The annoying thing is that the very same people mock religites who try the same trick by saying their faith can't amount to much if it can't withstand a simple counter argument.

A little introspection required here, I think.


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 03:06:00 UTC | #456575

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 17 by William T. Dawkins

Unless it is taught in a comparative religious study. Absolutely Not!

I noticed the link provider has the name Olathe. FYI: Olathe is an upper middle class mostly conservative suburban area of Kansas City on the Kansas side.

Don't know what Olathe thinks, but thanks for the info.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 03:34:00 UTC | #456580

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 18 by godsbelow

Michael Reiss hasn't changed his views, then, since he was compelled to resign because of his stance from his position as Director of Education at the Royal Society in 2008. Guess he felt he needed to reiterate his position for some reason.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 04:18:00 UTC | #456586

Joe Henderson's Avatar Comment 19 by Joe Henderson

Buy now!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 04:50:00 UTC | #456591

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 20 by EvidenceOnly

What might work is to start the first science class in a new school year at any grade level with 30 minutes of definition of what science is all about:

"Science is what is supported by verifiable and falsifiable evidence. Everything else is superstition. Examples of superstition are a list that is longer than what we have time for but it includes things such as but not limited to: tooth fairies, pink unicorns, santa claus, intelligent design, prayer, supernatural beings, virgin births, resurrections, heaven, hell, belief in god (mostly extinct, religions, ... For the rest of the year, this class will ONLY focus on science. If you want to learn about any superstition, you are welcome do to so outside of this class. You are welcome to believe anything you want but in this class it better be based on evidence."

All religions claim that they want to teach the TRUTH. So this definition of science is TRUTH and should make all religions and the Dishonesty Institute very happy?

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 05:19:00 UTC | #456596

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 21 by TIKI AL

Yes. All courses teaching standup comedy should include this rich source of humor.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 05:36:00 UTC | #456599

pyjamaslug's Avatar Comment 22 by pyjamaslug


Yes, and here are Richard Dawkin's comments on that affair at the time:

The Reverend Michael Reiss, the Royal Society's Director of Education, is in trouble because of his views on the teaching of creationism.

Although I disagree with him, what he actually said at the British Association is not obviously silly like creationism itself, nor is it a self-evidently inappropriate stance for the Royal Society to take.

Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who 'respect' creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.

The accommodationists include such godless luminaries as Eugenie Scott, whose National Center for Science Education is doing splendid work in fighting the creationist wingnuts in America. She and her fellow accommodationists bend over backwards to woo the relatively sensible minority among Christians, who accept evolution.

Get the bishops and theologians on the side of science " so the argument runs " and they'll be valuable allies against the naive creationists (who probably include the majority of Christians and certainly almost all Muslims, by the way).

No politician could deny at least the superficial plausibility of this expedient, although it is disappointing how ineffective as allies the 'sensible' minority of Christians turn out to be.

The official line of the US National Academy, the American equivalent of the Royal Society, is shamelessly accommodationist. They repeatedly plug the mantra that there is 'no conflict' between evolution and religion. Michael Reiss could argue that he is simply following the standard accommodationist line, and therefore doesn't deserve the censure now being heaped upon him.

Unfortunately for him as a would-be spokesman for the Royal Society, Michael Reiss is also an ordained minister. To call for his resignation on those grounds, as several Nobel-prize-winning Fellows are now doing, comes a little too close to a witch-hunt for my squeamish taste.

Nevertheless "it's regrettable but true" the fact that he is a priest undermines him as an effective spokesman for accommodationism: "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he!"

If the Royal Society wanted to attack creationism with all fists flying, as I would hope, an ordained priest might make a politically effective spokesman, however much we might deplore his inconsistency.

This is the role that Kenneth Miller, not a priest but a devout Christian, plays in America, where he is arguably creationism's most formidable critic. But if the Society really wants to promote the accommodationist line, a clergyman is the very last advocate they should choose.

Perhaps I was a little uncharitable to liken the appointment of a vicar as the Royal Society's Education Director to a Monty Python sketch. Nevertheless, thoughts of Trojan Horses are now disturbing many Fellows, already concerned as they are by the signals the Society recently sent out through its flirtation with the infamous Templeton Foundation.

Accommodationism is playing politics, while teetering on the brink of scientific dishonesty. I'd rather not play that kind of politics at all but, if the Royal Society is going to go down that devious road, they should at least be shrewd about it. Perhaps, rather than resign his job with the Royal Society, Professor Reiss might consider resigning his Orders?

Hardly a thoroughgoing condemnation. He is basically saying that Riess's position is OK but because he is a priest, it might be misunderstood; therefore he should resign. That's just bullshit, and unworthy of any serious consideration. It;s very disappointing to see Richard employing the antithesis of the argument from authority.

Riess is right to restate his position, because it is a reasonable and practical stance from which science educators can ply their trade. The royal society has always acknowledged this, now it is simply up to the peanut gallery to catch up.


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 06:13:00 UTC | #456607

Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Comment 23 by Follow Peter Egan

Lots of people support creationism, and therefore it should be taught to their children.


Where to start. Science doesn't work by democracy, I'm afraid.

The fact that creationism has ANY support is all the evidence you need that there is a major problem with education, and that schoolchildren deserve better than to be similarly lied to. Bravo for the UK government finally unveiling plans to teach evolution to primary school children. A step in the right direction of sorting out the problem.

Support for creationism is a product of ignorance.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 06:18:00 UTC | #456609

pyjamaslug's Avatar Comment 24 by pyjamaslug


Oh, sure: I can see you standing front of a class of twelve year olds with that line! It's pretty obvious you have never tried to teach anybody anything.


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 06:20:00 UTC | #456610

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 25 by Stafford Gordon

I find this alarming!

It was established years ago that irriducible complexity is a fallacy.

This is perfect example of how reason fails to impinge on superstition; religon operates in vacuo.

It's also profoundly dishonest, because they must know that it's been disproved, while persisting in "lying" about it.

They are truly incorrigible and cannot be trusted anywhere near the classroom.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 06:48:00 UTC | #456611

scottishgeologist's Avatar Comment 26 by scottishgeologist

Follow Peter Egan said;

Support for creationism is a product of ignorance

What I'd like to know is where this support is coming from - we keep hearing from religites about how Britain is becoming more secular

So is there an actual measurable rise in demand for creationism teaching?

And which faith groups is it coming from?

Is it due to immigration?

Or is there increased support for creationism among non-religious people? Cant imagine why there would be, unless its more of an alien / woo woo / new agey sort of thing

And maybe a flourish of neo-Von Danikanism as well.....

People do believe some complete crap at times - the lack of critical thinking shown is embarasssing at times

I do think that the Scientific Method and proper crtical thinking needs to be taught at an early stage. It could be done at primary school level quite easily

Another thing that needs to be taught (slightly off topic here, sorry) is the ability to communicate. I was at a conference recently and there were many academics and PhD students giving presentations.

Some of the postgrads' presentations were awful - really had no idea how to project or to engage with the audience. The academics were for the most part very good, by comparison

The sad thing about the presentations is that many of them were on very interesting subjects, but spoiled by poor delivery

Science is not just "doing stuff" it is about communicating that stuff to people.


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 06:57:00 UTC | #456613

beanson's Avatar Comment 27 by beanson

That something lacks scientific support, however, doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson.

Reis wants to include creationism as a sop to Islamic students he thinks that this will serve not to alienate them

We can help students to find their science lessons interesting and intellectually challenging without their being a threat

But then he goes on to say that if anything can't be backed by objective evidence then it will not be upheld

we could discuss almost anything, provided we were prepared to defend our thinking in a way that admitted objective evidence and logical argument.

Does he not see that bringing up their cherished fuckwitted beliefs... and then trashing them will only add fuel to the fire, not to mention completely disrupt the lesson

What a fucking cunt

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 07:00:00 UTC | #456617

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 28 by Quetzalcoatl

That something lacks scientific support, however, doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson.

I presume he also supports the study of Pride and Prejudice in Maths class.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 07:10:00 UTC | #456620

pyjamaslug's Avatar Comment 29 by pyjamaslug


Reis (sic) wants to include creationism as a sop to Islamic students

Reading between the lines, are we? Or maybe you had divine inspiration!

Does he not see that bringing up their cherished fuckwitted beliefs... and then trashing them will only add fuel to the fire, not to mention completely disrupt the lesson

Perhaps it might not work with you, but bringing up objections to a theory and then showing why they are invalid is a more or less standard, *scientific* way of advancing one's argument.

What a fucking cunt

Oh, I see now I was so wrong! Your cogent arguments have so completely persuaded me!


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 07:16:00 UTC | #456621

beanson's Avatar Comment 30 by beanson

The man is an accomodationist because he is an Anglican priest, he's like that wooly fuckwit Archbish of cant throwing out lines to Islam- strength in deluded numbers

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 07:17:00 UTC | #456622