No evolution, no money for schools says a new rule handed down by UK education authorities according to a report in BBC News 30 November 2012. A new system of schools, known as Free Schools, is being set up in the UK. These are funded by the government, but are run by groups of parents, teachers, charities and religious groups, and therefore considered to be private schools and do not have to strictly adhere to the National Curriculum that is taught in the government schools. However, a new ruling states that all free schools in Britain must teach evolution as a “comprehensive and coherent scientific theory”, and they must not teach creation in science classes, or the Department for Education will take “swift action which could result in the termination of that funding agreement”.
According to the BBC “The move follows scientists’ concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution”. The British Humanist Association has been organising a campaign named Teach Evolution not Creationism, welcomed the ruling and said it is “an excellent additional safeguard against state-funded creationist schools”. Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, is “delighted” with the new ruling and commented: “The new clause in the funding agreement should ensure that all pupils at Free Schools have the opportunity to learn about evolution as an extensively evidenced theory and one of the most fundamentally important tenets of modern biology. The development of the theory of evolution is an excellent example of how science works, and there is a clear consensus within the scientific community regarding both its validity and importance”.
Not all academics are so strident in their views. Berry Billingsley, head of a Reading University project on how schools cope with questions that bridge science and religion “cautioned against an oversimplified debate”. He commented: “The importance of studying evolution is indeed the first thing to be said but children also need opportunities somewhere in the timetable to explore the ‘Big Questions’, which our research shows they want to consider and it is often the science lesson that stirs up those questions”.
Editorial Comment: The main driving forces for banning creation from UK schools are not teachers and parents, or the taxpayers who provide the government with funds, but militant atheist organisations such as the British Humanist Society who present the issue as one of science vs religion, but whose real agenda is to impose their world view on the next generation, and exclude any others.
The issue at stake here is not science versus religion, but what world view, i.e. religion or philosophy, is being authorised to interpret scientific findings. Science is not done in an intellectual or cultural vacuum, disconnected from other sources of knowledge, and outside the context of people’s world views. The real issue is truth versus error, and whilst Sir Paul Nurse may be correct in claiming there is “consensus within the scientific community” in support of evolution, as head of the Royal Society, he should know that good science is never determined by majority vote. If something is true, it remains the truth even if no-one believes it, and if something is false it never becomes true because many people believe it to be true. We predict that Britain is setting itself up for the same demise in science that happened to the old communist atheist system in the days of Lysenko where politics drove results not evidence, and sadly Britain can only look forward to a third world result.
As we have often stated before, if evolution really was “an excellent example of how science works” it would not need politicians and bureaucrats to enforce its teaching, and punish those who present any challenges to it. Teaching “how science works” involves teaching both the strengths and limitations of science. Science is a useful tool for learning about how the world works in the present. However, it is inadequate for explaining origins as it cannot be used to directly observe the past. To know about the past you need the testimony of a reliable witness who was there, and recorded what was seen and done. A scientist can use this information to stimulate scientific research by saying “if this happened, what evidence would it leave?” and then look for such evidence. Or, having observed the world with scientific methods, they can ask “what could have happened in the past to produce this … ?” and then consult the testimonies that claim to explain the origin of whatever is being studied.
We have recently spent school time with numerous groups of British High School students and we know Berry Billingsley is correct – students do like to ask “big questions” about life, the universe and everything, and when presented with a theory that claims to explain the origin of everything, including themselves, they will ask these questions in whatever class it is presented.
We will continue to take time to visit schools while such doors are open to us. Your support makes this possible. Click Donations to support. (Ref. education, politics, philosophy, world view, prediction)
Evidence News 12 December 2012