Academics Fight Rise of Creationism at Universities

After what I wrote yesterday about the christian influence on education, there’s a good article in today’s Guardian about how creationism is on the rise in British universities.

In the United States there is growing pressure to teach creationism or “intelligent design” in science classes, despite legal rulings against it. Now similar trends in this country have prompted the Royal Society, Britain’s leading scientific academy, to confront the issue head on with a talk entitled Why Creationism is Wrong. The award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally at the society’s event in April.

“There is an insidious and growing problem,” said Professor Jones, of University College London. “It’s a step back from rationality. They (the creationists) don’t have a problem with science, they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease as we see from the United States.”

Yesterday, I focussed particularly on what the christians are doing. But it seems that the muslims are at it too.

Leaflets questioning Darwinism were circulated among students at the Guys Hospital site of King’s College London this month as part of the Islam Awareness Week, organised by the college’s Islamic Society. One member of staff at Guys said that he found it deeply worrying that Darwin was being dismissed by people who would soon be practising as doctors.

Well, yeah. I don’t want to be treated by a doctor who disagrees with the fundemental scientific principles of human biology!

A 21-year-old medical student and member of the Islamic Society, who did not want to be named, said that the Qur’an was clear that man had been created and had not evolved as Darwin suggests. “There is no scientific evidence for it [Darwin’s Origin of Species]. It’s only a theory. Man is the wonder of God’s creation.”

He did not feel that a belief in evolution was necessary to study medicine although he added that, if writing about it was necessary for passing an exam, he would do so. “We want to become doctors and dentists, we want to pass our exams.” He added that God had not created mankind literally in six days. “It’s not six earth days,” he said, it could refer to several thousands of years but it had been an act of creation and not evolution.

Someone with views like that should not be allowed anywhere near patients.

And finally, there’s this

Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists, according to a biology teacher at a leading London sixth-form college. “The vast majority of my students now believe in creationism,” she said, “and these are thinking young people who are able and articulate and not at the dim end at all. They have extensive booklets on creationism which they put in my pigeon-hole … it’s a bit like the southern states of America.” Many of them came from Muslim, Pentecostal or Baptist family backgrounds, she said, and were intending to become pharmacists, doctors, geneticists and neuro-scientists.

It’s time that rational people stood up and said “enough is enough!” Where do I sign up to fight the forces of medievalism?

5 comments

  1. I recently read Steve Jones’ book The Single Helix. It’s quite good, but his views on animal testing differ from mine. In fact, I’d say that he and Richard Dawkins are both as dogmatic in their own ways as some of the people they set out to oppose. I enjoyed Dawkins’ recent programmes on Channel 4 about religion, but some of his arguments did seem to come across as “I’m right because I’m right”, rather than because of evidence etc. Mind you, he probably is right, so it doesn’t really matter!

  2. Dawkins (and Jones) do, of course, have centuries of scientific research to back up their arguments. The theists who Dawkins was talking to don’t have anything that stands up to logical debate.

    The way I interpreted those discussions was that Dawkins was unable to to present his evidence as the theists weren’t interested in hearing it.

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