September 22, 2008


The Royal Society is sadly unenlightened on creationism (George Pitcher, 18/09/2008, Daily Telegraph)

The Rev Professor Michael Reiss didn't say he was a creationist. He merely said in a speech last week that children with a creationist upbringing should be engaged with in science lessons, rather than simply dismissed as wrong.

"Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me to be a sufficient reason to omit it from the science lesson," he said. "There is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts that they have - hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching - and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion."

Hardly revolutionary, perhaps, but sufficiently heretical for the zealots of science successfully to demand his head. He had let a chink of creationism in, you see, and the new secular scientific establishment decided he was an enemy of the state. A pusillanimous Royal Society duly condemned him.

Because even to acknowledge the existence of creationism is to encourage decadence. In a neo-Stalinist way, creationism must be air-brushed from the picture of the world that our children see, so toxic is it to scientific truth.

The assumption is that Prof Weiss believes that the universe was created by God several thousand years ago in six days, as recorded by witnesses in the book of Genesis.

Just as I believe in an invisible sky fairy, apparently, I must also believe in the literal interpretation of the Genesis story. Actually, I believe in neither.

But I do believe in a purpose to the human story, a meta-narrative to history, if you like, or a journey to understand the mind of God, in Prof Stephen Hawking's phrase. I believe there is evidence for all that. And that, I guess, makes me a creationist. seek to ban the beautiful narrative else how would the ugly one prevail even amongst schoolchildren?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2008 11:46 AM
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