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Creation in schools hits the headlines

Attempts to ban critical thinking increase

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Originally published in CMI-USA Prayer News, September 2011.

Regular readers of our Prayer News and Creation magazine are only too familiar with the constant barrage of anti-biblical sentiment coming from skeptic activists. Tragically, the humanist camp are sometimes aided and abetted by professing Christians. Whether or not ‘creationism’ should play any part in discussions of science—especially in schools—continues to be a hot potato.

My talks at a public school in March 2011, while well received by the teachers and pupils alike, set off a firestorm. They were criticized by a lone parent. Despite the fact that I had been addressing upper high school Religious Education (RE) pupils and that they had also heard from an evolutionist on the same day (a Christian university professor), the parent’s complaint was featured in newspapers throughout the region. The commotion went national when this parent—described by a major British newspaper as a Christian—together with the anti-Christian National Secular Society, the British Centre for Science Education (but see here; the UK equivalent of the anticreationist American NCSE), various prominent atheistic scientists and theistic evolutionists, petitioned Michael Gove (British Secretary of State for Education) to prevent this “dangerous nonsense” from being taught.

Creation—against the law?

A key issue in the whole debate is whether children and young people should be allowed to hear the arguments for biblical creation so that they can make an informed decision.

Read our detailed response to this here but this so-called CrISIS Campaign (standing for “Creationism in Schools Isn’t Science”) is not the first time that organizations like CMI have been seen as a threat to the forces of secularism in our society—and it won’t be the last. In British Columbia, Canada, it is already illegal to teach creation in public schools. A key issue in the whole debate is whether children and young people should be allowed to hear the arguments for biblical creation so that they can make an informed decision.

In May 2011, new guidelines from the UK’s Department for Education and Schools were issued that outlaw any teaching of evolution-contradicting viewpoints in science lessons.1 However, groups like CrISIS, in a press release, wanted much more: “to specifically prevent creationism being taught … in any lesson or activity to children in state funded schools.2 If granted, it would seem not only to prevent outside creation speakers from being invited into RE lessons and assemblies, but no teacher (regardless of the subject) could teach about these issues!

Cautious optimism

Despite the above, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic—though certainly not to be complacent. National surveys in recent years (both in the UK and across European nations) have continued to show encouraging results. In 2008, a survey found that almost 50% of British science teachers thought the exclusion of “creationism and intelligent design … from the classroom would alienate students from science.3 The following year, an Ipsos Mori poll of adults from 10 countries found that 54% of Britons thought that

Evolutionary theories should be taught in science lessons in schools together with other possible perspectives, such as intelligent design and creationism.4

Similar surveys in the US show that significant percentages of the population believe that God created. Clearly, the percentages would be much higher if the same teachers and members of the public had been asked about religious studies lessons! So, the minority of secular activists are completely out of touch with popular opinion.

It is insufficient for us merely to acknowledge the real and growing threat to educational freedom—we must actively engage.

Retaking ground

There is an important lesson here for us all. It is insufficient for us merely to acknowledge the real and growing threat to educational freedom—we must actively engage. Some will do this by writing to their elected officials to lodge their concerns. Some might write to a local or national newspaper, for instance. Others may wish to launch their own petitions or to make the issues more widely known in their local communities, for example getting on board with our ‘Question Evolution’ campaign. Whatever you may choose to do, CMI is here to motivate and equip you, through the vast resources of information freely available at creation.com and through our many books and DVDs. From experience, we’ve found that the best way to start creating a grass-roots awareness of the issue in your local community is to have your church host a CMI speaking event.

Ultimately, our aim is unashamedly to expose the falsehoods of evolution and other humanistic philosophies and to expose people to the truth and authority of the Bible. Ryan D. encouraged us when he wrote:

Keep up the amazing work! I love the fact that the opposition, who is so vocal when insulting Christians, falls deathly silent when challenged to a debate on the facts. May God continue to bless your ministry and win hearts to Christ!

References and notes

  1. S. Adams, Creationism ‘banned from free schools’, Telegraph.co.uk website, 20 May, 2011. Return to text.
  2. Press Release from CrISIS Campaign (12 May, 2011) which is a copy of their letter to M. Gove. Return to text.
  3. See Guardian.co.uk website, 7 November 2008. Return to text.
  4. See Guardian.co.uk website, 25 October, 2009. Return to text.

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