The attack on biblical creation in UK schools continues
Published: 9 March 2014 (GMT+10)
CMI have frequently published articles regarding the unbalanced way in which creationism is dealt with at Government level, and in some instances banned in the UK education system.1,2,3,4 Only a few weeks ago, we ran with an article, appealing to End bad science and discrimination in education policies. The attacks are relentless and display a level of aggressive intolerance that is hard to stomach, coming as they do from the self-proclaimed ‘voices of reason’.
Four recent news stories from the UK demonstrate the manner in which the offensive continues:
- In Kirktonholme primary school, East Kilbride, Scotland, Headteacher Alexandra MacKenzie and her deputy Elizabeth Mockus were redeployed to backroom duties while an investigation was to be carried out. A number of parents had complained about two books which had been handed out to their children during a school assembly. One answered the question ‘How you know God is real?’, and the other was titled ‘Exposing the myth of evolution’.5,6
- A parent and also a Member of the Scottish Parliament have called for an investigation, after a physics teacher, Leonard Rogers, during a discussion on the big bang with his class at a school in Midlothian, informed them that evolution was not proven. Apparently, he also told the class that he was a Christian with strong creationist beliefs.7
- As a result of the first two news stories, the Scottish Secular Society called for the ban of creationism in science classes in Scottish schools. While they acknowledged that they had no issue with pupils understanding that not everyone accepts evolution, they stated that the only place that creationism had in Scottish schools was “within a discussion context in religious and moral education classes”.8
- Professor Alice Roberts,9 in an interview with the Times Education Supplement (London), has called for new laws in the UK to extend the ban of teaching creationism beyond state-run schools to all independent schools, which would include privately run Christian schools.10
The increasing censorship of creationism from any scientific discussion should raise the eyebrows of any rational thinking person. If the evidence for evolution really is so overwhelming why can no challenges be discussed? The reality is that even the most basic concepts of evolution, such as the origin of life, how the process of mutations could create huge volumes of information in living things, and many others are not even close to being answered!
Is the science class the correct place for the discussion?
The debate between creation and evolution is too often presented as a ‘science versus religion’ or ‘faith versus reason’ debate. However, the Bible is more than merely a spiritual book, and there is more to evolution than its (dubious) status as a scientific theory. The Bible is a history book that has implications for how we understand the physical world around us, which impinges very much on the scientific domain. Evolution is based upon a naturalistic philosophy which has much to say about our origin, worth and ultimate demise. As atheist Dr William Provine put it, “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposeful forces of any kind, no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be completely dead. That’s just all—that’s gonna be the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.”11 Creation and evolution both deal with questions relating to the realm of historical science (rather than operational science). Also, as Provine rightly points out, both quite definitely have implications for how we live our lives here and now and what will become of us after we die. Both worldviews have consequences and the evolutionists hiding this behind a veil of supposed pure concern for the quality of science education are hardly being honest; rather they betray their ‘scientism’.
Professor Alice Roberts, anatomist, atheist, and ‘Distinguished Supporter’ of the British Humanist Association. Most well known as a TV presenter, she is increasingly critical of those who are evolutionary dissenters.
Professor Alice Roberts, in her interview, went on to say, “People who believe in creationism say that by teaching evolution you are indoctrinating them with science, but I just don’t agree with that. Science is about questioning things. It’s about teaching people to say, ‘I don’t believe it until we have very strong evidence.’”12 But she misrepresents people who believe in biblical creationism here. We do not equate teaching evolution to ‘indoctrinating people with science’, as evolution is not an equivalent to science! Rather, evolution teaching is really the attempt of those with a naturalistic worldview to try and explain our origins; and they do so using arguments that properly belong within the discipline of historical science. But, if it’s truly the case that, as Professor Roberts believes, science is about questioning things and not believing until there is strong evidence, then her calling for new laws to ban creationism altogether in the classroom reeks of a double standard. For how can evolution, which Roberts calls science, be questioned if pupils are not allowed to ask the questions, or if the evidence against evolution cannot be presented?
If Robert’s words were really applied fairly, it would also mean that the science class is exactly the right place for a balanced discussion on the creation and evolution models, the different worldviews, their influence on our interpretation of scientific data and so on. Of course, the fuller outworkings of the Christian faith and naturalism/atheism could then more appropriately be discussed in a religious education classroom, although neither can be truly divorced from one another because of the manner in which science and ideology are inseparably connected in all discussions about origins.
Pupils need to be taught the clear distinction between the presuppositions of historical science and the outworkings of operational science. They need to be taught the basics of the philosophy of science so that the myth of neutrality is dismissed. Unless this happens, they will not understand the vital difference between opinions (masquerading as facts) on a topic like the unknown evolutionary origin of life and the facts which demonstrate, for example, the existence and properties of magnetic fields.
So what’s the real issue?
So just what is so horribly wrong with biblical creation that the scientific aspects associated with it should not be discussed in a science classroom? And what is so special about evolution that it should in no way be challenged? Why would these ‘voices of reason’ object to two models and their arguments being presented and investigated side by side? (but note CMI’s policy about The Teaching of Creation in schools). Surely the weaker and inconsistent model would be obvious to all? It suggests that they know full well that the evolution model would not fare well in the debate; the material facts would let them down. Preventing such open discussion ultimately hampers teaching pupils how to evaluate worldviews and engage in debate. However, the real issue at hand is not that of how material facts are interpreted, but rather the implications of how they are interpreted. Some might begin to consider the alternative, Special Creation by God—perish the thought!
While the evolutionary ideology allows people to live as they choose with no prospect of an afterlife or accountability to the Creator, biblical creation clearly implies the fact of the Creator, the truth of the Bible, the fact of human rebellion, the significance of Jesus Christ (Creator and Saviour), and the reality of future judgment. Psalm 24:1 states that, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” This is the case because God is the Creator who set the rules and standards, and as the Creator we belong to, and are accountable to, Him. The biblical creation account teaches about man’s origins, that we all come from Adam, and that Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden bringing death and sin upon all mankind (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). However, God did not abandon us but set in motion a wonderful plan of redemption which was fulfilled in his son Jesus Christ, who was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5) and appeased God’s righteous wrath and indignation towards us (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 2:2). As a wonderful consequence of these things, all who believe in Jesus shall have eternal life with Him, but those who refuse Christ will face eternal punishment in hell (see John 3:18; Matthew 25:46). That is a massive, sobering implication, but it is the truth. More about the good news can be found here.
Without doubt, the attacks against biblical creation will continue in the UK and around the world, people will continue to be dismissed, redeployed or otherwise silenced, investigations called for by secular evolutionists and the voice of biblical creationism silenced, due to the Gospel implications. Many of the people who don’t want to face up to the consequences of evolution being falsified are uncomfortable with the implication of there being a righteous Creator and Judge for human beings. As in days of old, there will continue to be those who shout out, “Give us no more visions of what is right…. and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” (Isaiah 30:10-11, NIV).
References and notes
- See Evidence for Creation now banned from UK religious education classes. Return to text.
- See Heavyweights move to ban creation. Return to text.
- See Dawkins gloats over boost to evolutionary dogma in schools. Return to text.
- See Creation in schools hits the headlines. Return to text.
- Kirktonholme Primary heads removed over religious row, 13 September 2013; see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-24077924, accessed 10 February 2014. Return to text.
- Creationist Row: Headteachers removed from school, 13 September 2013; see www.scotsman.com/news/education/creationist-row-headteachers-removed-from-school-1-3091562, accessed 28 February 2014. Return to text.
- Calls for probe into creationist physics teacher, 28 September 2013; see www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/calls-for-probe-into-creationist-physics-teacher.22287215, accessed 10 February 2014. Return to text.
- Guidance call for creationism lessons in Scottish schools, 2 October 2013; see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24371575, accessed 10 February 2014; Secular society calls for a ban on creationism in schools, 2 October; see www.heraldscotland.com/news/education/secular-society-calls-for-a-ban-on-creationism-in-schools.22310389, accessed 10 February 2014. Return to text.
- Professor Alice Roberts is currently the president of the Association for Science Education and Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. Return to text.
- Science-Creationism: a ‘very real threat’ in schools, 6 February 2014; see www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6392583, accessed 10 February 2014. Return to text.
- Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? A debate between William B. Provine and Phillip E. Johnson at Stanford University, April 30, 1994. Full text can be viewed at: http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm. The quotation can also be sourced at Evolution = atheism, no purpose. Return to text.
- Ref. 9. Return to text.
Creationist teaching is banned in UK schools because the views are not rational. I am speaking professionally here, as someone who helped draft the evolution policy for the museum service I work for in England, Leeds Museums and Galleries. Promotion of such indoctrination, i.e. creationism as the truth in how life emerged, makes for a scientifically illiterate population that will be ill equipped to be good stewards of our the only home we have this side of eternity, Earth. Which, by the way, I believe to be part of God's plan in a universe uniquely designed for life to emerge. Just not in the way that CMI is promoting. Try reading an enlightening book, Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life.
It is my firm conviction, having been right through the UK education system (including studying the natural sciences at university) and having taught science, that the shoe is firmly on the other foot; it was, in fact, my zoological studies that caused me to question and then reject my confident belief in evolution, not any theological reason (I was, at the time, a theistic evolutionist, unaware of the glaring biblical errors of my position).
And incidentally, I am not alone among my colleagues, in regularly reading the writings of evolutionists. Some of these writings simply obfuscate and equivocate on key issues, but a few are indeed refreshingly honest in their evaluation of the alleged scientific support for evolution.
A very enlightening book indeed is James Shapiro's 'Evolution: A view from the 21st Century', revealing that, as a top molecular biologist and evolutionist himself, he is utterly sceptical that natural selection (whether Darwinian or NeoDarwinian) is capable of producing the biological complexity that all thinking observers can analyse.
It's not a case of whether people are being indoctrinated (since we all learn from those who have more knowledge or authority than ourselves); rather, whether what people are being indoctrinated with is correct.
To me the Theory of Evolution sounds a lot like the movie industry. If you want to make a cartoon movie, what you have is a selection of still pictures, each slightly different from the other. But if they are presented quickly to the eye they give the ILLUSION of movement. It’s the same with the Theory of Evolution. Some still images of animals or fossils are quickly presented in front of the unsuspected eye of the child, giving the ILLUSION of motion/evolution from one species into the other. All this is just a huge illusion. The reality (hard evidence) is just this: unconnected still images. Oh, and yes, a lot of dotted lines to connect these pictures on the page of the evolutionary textbook. Therefore the desperate plea of the evolutionists: “Don’t allow creationists to point out to children that this is all still images and dotted lines!”
I was an atheist and evolutionist for most of my life. I was debating with an atheist recently and pointing out to him the flaws in evolution. He got angry and he made offensive comments about Jesus that I won't repeat. His response, and I have experienced similar responses from other atheists, is a reminder to me that this is a worldview issue not a scientific issue. Why else would a discussion about the weaknesses of a scientific theory cause such an emotional reaction? Sadly, this atheistic worldview is being imposed upon our children.
The RE teachers have asked me several times to speak to the children about Creation in RE. 'Strangely' those opportunities have dried up. I believe this is due to the educational reform we are seeing in the UK.
I loved chatting to the kids about evolution and creation, and the way they responded in the classes was fantastic.
The thing I found is that the kids actually do want to know about 'where we came from' and really actively get involved in the conversation.
Too bad that in their bid to promote critical thinking, the government is doing the exact opposite. Pity their evolutionary blinkers blind them to the irony...
This is the fruits of bible-believing Christians keeping their faith hidden 'in the church'.....and confining the teaching of creation to the church and its immediate environs....
Do they think that the Church actually makes laws in the Parliament?
Bible-believing Christians need *parliamentary representation*.....that *works*.....it has worked in the US... If Bible-believing Christians have not got a significant voice in Parliament, then, don't act all surprised when anti-Christian laws are passed!
Attempting to make one's starting point other than the only possible starting point always leads to sillyland (why it eludes people is incredible):
"they stated that the only place that creationism had in Scottish schools was “within a discussion context in religious and moral education classes”."
Yet this moral absolute position is not proclaimed from a religious and moral education class - mmmmm rather odd.... - not to mention that facts are not interpretable within an evolutionary framework. If anything can happen - knowledge is an illusion, even this knowledge claim therefore renders the notion of evolution as impossible.
There is something sadly wrong with a society which tries to minimise censorship of the truly harmful, e.g. pornography, on the one hand, and promotes the blatant censorship of legitimate and healthy debate, e.g. on the origin of life/mankind, on the other. The Government and the media, especially the BBC, are causing great harm to society in general by trying to discredit the very foundation of moral standards and behaviour given to us in the Holy scriptures. This is a self-destruct course for society just as it was for the once great Roman empire, for example.
I think the reason evolutionists don't want creationists to be able to question evolution, is you don't just question it, you prove it to be completely false; i.e. mutations don't create wonderful new information, for new life forms, they wreck or delete information.
I believe in literal Genesis, therefore YEC! I think it's sad Christians don't take a strong stand on Genesis! The problem with evolutionism that I have seen is evolutionists squirm [and] won't get pinned down to origins of life! They claim evolution is just a change over time? How do we make them admit this lie [and] own up to it, [that] evolutionism is not scientific, [but] dogma with a consensus to protect it; consensus actually hinders science. Ty for all the great work you do CMI [and] may God bless you all.
The best way to 'encourage' people to own up to the scientific bankruptcy of evolution is to keep asking good questions. This is what our effective 'Question Evolution' campaign does. And we're taking this to the next level as we (CMI) press ahead with our Evolution's Achilles' Heels project.
I would never have thought we would see the day when God, Jesus and our very creation would be so openly degraded. Though I should not be surprised because God's Word warns us time after time that this would be the case as the time [of the End] draws closer. ... My primary point regarding this article and the beliefs of persons like the professor lies in the very basic point of evolution. There is a new series coming on TV called the COSMOS, and the intent of the producers seems to be very much the same as all evolutionists, in that we started with the big bang. In the opening segment of the program the narrator explains that the ENTIRE cosmos and humanity as we know it started from a single cell microscopic organism and expanded from there. Here is my question to all of the evolutionists: where did that first single cell organism come from? Was it just there lying in wait? WHAT created it???? This is exactly the reason they do not want both subjects taught together because it raises too many questions about the validity of evolution at the core. And that in turn makes the entire concept of evolution questionable. I posed these arguments in my college classes and it embarrasses and angers the teachers because they cannot answer the question with any validity. I am a Christian and I do not, in any way, feel threatened by the evolutionist.
It is high time that all science teachers who believe in creation unite and stand up as one man to object against the one-sided and indoctrinational manner in which evolution(ism) is taught to and forced upon all students. It is my conviction that there must be many science teachers out there who are devout creationists but are afraid - except for the brave few who are willing to risk their career - of admitting their worldview because of the grave consequences it may hold to them.
If only a (significant) number of protesters in every school would vent their opinion then their strong voice could not possibly be ignored any longer by the school-board, and what is more, the school-board should have a very hard time firing all creationists and replacing them by evolutionists!
An anonymous survey among all teachers in every school may be the start of a radical change in science education in which (at last!) both worldviews will be given equal attention and that is precisely the way how true and objective science should operate and be taught: present and explain both models and let the students decide for themselves which scientific facts suit which model best. Get the (many) lies and unproven evolution-junk out of the text-books as soon as possible and replace it with up-to-date, reliable and factual scientific information instead.
I predict the outcome will not surprise us creationists, for of course creation, which is relying entirely upon God's infallible Word, will win hands down!
My response to these 'secularist fundamentalists' is that evolution and earth's origins have not been properly scientifically tested! How can it be? Were you there when the earth was created?! Most of evolution is historical science and the assumptions of time it is based on have repeatedly been proven (with evidential science) to be incorrect, among many other things that have been disproven / remain unproven.
The only 'poison' (I use this word as it was used by a respondent on the TES webpage) is those who claim to be educated but refuse to allow beliefs other than their own! If creationism is nonsense and unscientific (which it patently is not) then please respond to the scientific arguments it raises with actual science, not insult. People denounce creationism with little thought or research (I wonder if they use the same 'scientific' methods in all their work?!). It is strange when those who have researched and proposed creation principles are gifted scientists who use evidential methods!
I suggest that the only unscientific behaviour is of those who seek to silence any other way of thinking than their own, meaning their ‘science’ is no longer scientific! The more people react against creationism, the more convinced I am that it is God's truth. Aside from the evidence, this is because very often the 'spirit' behind something is revealed in the way people react (e.g. with increasing open hostility to creationism and the Bible!) Eg. if it's not true, then why is it so attacked?! Lord, open all our eyes to fully see who you are and what you have done for us! All these things will pass away but the truth of God's Word will stand.
Even if I were coming at this from a secular point-of-view, it would just baffle me how the education system has to teach evolution as an uncriticisable fact.
Somehow, I can remember when I was in reception class all those years ago. Our teacher was teaching us about the Big Bang for the first time using a very large picture book. But I remember that before she opened it, she clearly emphasised that "this is just what scientists believe", which was her way of saying to very young children, "This is just a worldview. You're free to have a different one".
When I was growing up, all of my classmates professed to having Christian worldviews, but by high school, their naturalism teachings very quickly affected their opinions. How quickly people's beliefs can change without a solid foundation!
What a tragic and gloomy outlook Dr William Provine has! This grieves me greatly. I'm sure he is a man of great skills and passion, but for what end? God in His infinite mercy and from His Father's heart wants for each person exactly the opposite of what the good doctor proclaims. The muzzling of creation teaching deprives the children in these schools, at least, an opportunity for an alternative to the negativity of atheism. Thank God for C.M.I. and groups like it that present hope and life, and most importantly present the giver of hope and life to a world that often sees no need for God or Christianity.
The development of the internet has, as Dr. Sarfati said a while back, blown "the marketplace of ideas" wide open. Try as they might, Humanists have no hope of silencing creationist voices. We really ought to see these desperate attempts as what they are - the flailing, mis-punching efforts of a doomed ideology whose proponents are doing their best to delay its demise. Make no mistake - the Humanists are scared of the prospect of the growth of Biblical creation belief. But they are powerless to stop it. A few hours on CMI's website (or that of ICR, or even that of many other competent Biblical creation advocates) can easily undo years of attempted indoctrination. And to have this sort of draconian attitude on display just lays bare, that much more, how bankrupt their case is.
Although the tone of this article is rather gloomy, I honestly believe that we ought to be celebrating this sort of thing, not lamenting it. The Humanists have picked the losing side - we all know that, and it's only going to become more and more obvious as the next few decades unfold, praise God.
Creationists are not against science, we are fully accepting of science. Touting evolution as science is fraudulent because it is self-contradictory.
Natural selection will 'select out' partial/non-beneficial structures prior to the structures being fully formed and operational because the transient forms are a survival liability.