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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.

Readers’ comments

Pete B.
It could be the Brit in me, but when someone is banned from expressing their opinion, it fires me up for the cause. Especially when that cause is something I believe in. Much of the blatant discoveries you mention which point away from evolution (blood in dinosaur bones, etc) are often not shouted about in the public domain. So we can present the creation cause simply by talking about scientific discoveries. One question for students might be. "Blood breaks down fairly quickly into the environment. However dinosaur blood has been discovered in unfossilised dino bones. Discuss the implications for this discovery." The obvious answer would follow that "...in the light of current scientific knowledge regarding blood breaking down, dinosaurs must have lived far more recently than thought."
Phoebe A.
"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."

But science really isn't a matter of popular public opinion it is the slow steady process of accumulating knowledge, testing, learning and review by scientific peers. It does not respect the opinions or feelings of people about it. For example nobody really wants global warming to be true but it increasingly looks like it is.

As far as I'm aware neither creationism nor ID have yet broken into that particular conventional scientific arena, nor been part of that process. Until they do then surely they should not be taught in schools as science? Surely your first goal is to convince scientists by using evidence and logic -and by convincing them of your alternatives not just that theirs are wrong. Only after following the conventions of science can you really expect to have your theories taught as scientific alternatives? Otherwise you leave the way open for any idea to, for example astrology, to be taught as science.
Philip Bell
It is true that science should not be a matter of popular public opinion, yet the scientifically bankrupt idea of cells-to-scientists evolution holds sway in the media and in state education precisely because popular opinion marginalises challenges to the materialistic dogma; see "It's not science"
Neither should a scientific theory be approved or denied by a law court; the fact that evolutionists have sometimes resorted to a judge's ruling to outlaw Intelligent Design (e.g. see here and here) again betrays evolution as dogma. Regarding such questions as whether the non-testable aspects of creationism or evolutionism qualify as science, or whether creationist or evolutionary models of unobservable history qualify as scientific alternatives, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Les G.
Thank you for a very encouraging article.
May I suggest, for the sake of any of your readers who might not be familiar with Kipling's "Just So" stories, that you explain the meaning of that very telling term that you frequently use?

I append Wikipedia's explanation of the term if you would care to use it...
Keep up the very good work for the glory of our gracious God and Saviour.

"In science and philosophy, a just-so story, also called an ad hoc fallacy, is an unverifiable and unfalsifiable narrative explanation for a cultural practice, a biological trait, or behavior of humans or other animals. ... This phrase was popularized by the publication in 1902 of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, containing fictional and deliberately fanciful tales for children, in which the stories pretend to explain animal characteristics, such as the origin of the spots on the leopard. ..."
R. D.
The Humanists are just shooting themselves in the foot. If ALL discussion of creation in all public schools is simply completely outlawed (which we're rapidly heading towards), this means the opportunity to present the usual anticreationist falsehoods is lost. The Humanists are powerless to prevent the spread of information online, and are powerless to prevent the church from hosting apologetics speakers. Equally, the more strident they become, the more this helps to make Christian parents aware of the fact that public schools are not appropriate places for Christian children to be sent. Hopefully, such a thing hastens the demise of the public-school system (though we're still a long way off that in this country right now).

All this means is that children growing-up in Christian households are MORE likely to be educated in an appropriate manner - at Christian private schools (or homeschooling) and with access to informed creation teaching, together with informed refutation of the naturalistic historical stories of the Humanists. We've seen the effects of this in the USA in the last half-century... God backs you up when you commit to Him.

Equally, those who grow-up in secular households are more likely to be surprised and take it seriously if and when they stumble upon informed creation ministry websites if they've barely even heard about it previously. How many such testimonies does CMI have on-file of this already? Lots!

Always remember Romans 8:31. God's won victories for His people in far more unlikely circumstances than these before!
Philip Bell
Sincere biblically-minded Christians, whatever their own convictions about the education of their children, must take the growing secularisation of their country's state education system seriously. This article is well worth reading in this respect.

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