I’ve just spotted this article from Tuesday’s Education Guardian which talks about the teaching of creationism in schools and concentrates on the visit to the UK of mad Australian creationist John Mackay. Of course, Richard Dawkins can always be relied on for a good quote:
“The spread of Peter Vardy’s creationist beliefs into the academies run by the Emmanuel schools foundations is extremely worrying,” says Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene. “In March 2002, Stephen Layfield – Emmanuel’s head of science – delivered a lecture in which he openly listed ways creationist teachers should provide alternative biblical explanations for evolutionary data. This is a man charged with the responsibility of teaching our children and whose department received a star rating from Ofsted. “We cannot afford to take creationism lightly. It is not an amusing diversion, but a serious threat to scientific reason. People like Mackay thrive by drip-feeding misinformation. We need a much more open public debate, both in schools and elsewhere, so that his ideas can be seen for the rubbish they are.”
And then today we have AC Grayling writing about religion and atheism. He includes a call to complately ban the teaching of religion from schools.
Let us challenge religion to leave children alone until they are adults, whereupon they can be presented with the essentials of religion for mature consideration. For example: tell an averagely intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere, invisibly, there is a being somewhat like us, with desires, interests, purposes, memories, and emotions of anger, love, vengefulness and jealousy, yet with the negation of such other of our failings as mortality, weakness, corporeality, visibility, limited knowledge and insight; and that this god magically impregnates a mortal woman, who then gives birth to a special being who performs various prodigious feats before departing for heaven. Take your pick of which version of this story to tell: let a King of Heaven impregnate – let’s see – Danae or Io or Leda or the Virgin Mary (etc, etc) and let there be resulting heaven-destined progeny (Heracles, Castor and Pollux, Jesus, etc, etc) – or any of the other forms of exactly such tales in Babylonian, Egyptian and other mythologies – then ask which of them he wishes to believe. One can guarantee that such a person would say: none of them.
It’s a nice idea, but unfortunately it doesn’t stand a chance whilst the PM is a believer in an invisible sky pixie.
I’ll just add that to the list of reasons why Blair must go.