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Creation in independent schools

The UK government’s latest target1


Published: 18 October 2018 (GMT+10)

The UK government’s imposition of secularism on schools is now being extended to the private sector. In March this year, the Department for Education (DfE) published a draft document giving advice for independent schools.2 Although they state that this is “not statutory”, they advise that, “Inspectors will take this guidance into account when reporting to the Secretary of State on the extent to which the independent school standards are being met, or are likely to be met, in relation to an independent school.” In other words, “Conform or you will be down-graded”.

In paragraph 13 they state, “Independent schools may teach creationism as part of a belief system but it should not be presented as having a similar or superior evidence base to scientific theories.” One might ask, then, in what sense are these schools ‘independent’? It would seem that they will now be required to bow to the edicts of ministers who are being brainwashed by atheists and humanists. Often, these ‘advisers’ are people who have little understanding of science and whose real intention is simply to use the education system to secularise society.3

Blatant hypocrisy

The blindness of the DfE is seen perhaps most clearly in their ‘advice’ regarding the need to prevent “indoctrination of pupils through the curriculum”. Although this is given in respect of political indoctrination, it might legitimately be seen as relating to ideological indoctrination. Particularly, they say, lessons should not include:

  1. superficial treatment of the subject matter, typified by portraying factual or philosophical premises as being self-evident, with insufficient explanation and without any indication that they may be the subject of legitimate controversy;
  2. the misleading use of data; misrepresentations and half-truths;
  3. deployment of material in such a way as to prevent pupils meaningfully testing its veracity and forming an independent understanding as to how reliable it is.
Education or selective indoctrination?

Yet this is exactly what the DfE is advocating. The view that only naturalistic accounts of origins can be considered scientific is a “philosophical premise” which they are treating as “being self-evident”. It is really a ‘belief system’ or doctrine, that of ‘scientific materialism’, the presumption that nothing supernatural should be considered in explaining anything we observe. However, as noted by Encyclopaedia Britannica, people who hold this view, generally, “make no philosophical attempts to establish their position. Naturalists simply assert that nature is reality, the whole of it.”4 Moreover, as noted by Oxford mathematician and philosopher of science Professor John Lennox, the assertion that science provides the only means of discovering truth is not itself deduced from science; rather it is a statement about science for which there is no evidence.5

Scientific materialism, of course, is commonplace in academia. As observed by Kansas State University immunologist Dr Scott Todd, for many, “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”6,7 In a similar vein, Professor Paul Davies wrote, “Science takes as its starting point that life wasn’t made by a god or a supernatural being: it happened unaided and spontaneously, as a natural process.”8 Yet this is not science but scientism, defined in the Collins English Dictionary as “the uncritical application of scientific or quasiscientific methods to inappropriate fields of study or investigation”. In other words, it is a faith that excludes supernatural explanations in principle and without evidence. Significantly, scientism cannot be considered to be part of science, because it cannot be tested.

Blatant bias

At the same time, school text books give no indication that this is the subject of “legitimate controversy”. When leading academics maintain that life, and indeed the universe, appear to require a designer, they are just ignored.9,10 This is often justified by appealing to the consensus. Most scientists, we are told, believe in evolution, so this should be taught as fact in science classes. Yet science is most emphatically not established by consensus. Respected author and Harvard-trained physician, the late Dr Michael Crichton, rightly stated that the “greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.” In a lecture at the prestigious California Institute of Technology he argued:

“[S]cience has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world … If it’s consensus, it isn’t science … [because] the claim of consensus is invoked … only in situations where the science is not solid enough … .”11

Crichton’s perceptive comments may certainly be applied to evolution. Arguments for evolution mislead because they omit data which point to the theory being wrong. All observations to date indicate that there are no natural processes that appear remotely capable of producing life from non-life.12 For example, even the simplest life-forms would require significant amounts of software and information (DNA), and no known laws can generate this.13 How then can it be scientific to assert that this is what happened? At the same time well-qualified scientists advocating intelligent design or biblical creation are often misrepresented, with their opponents knocking down ‘strawmen’.2 For instance, biblical creationists do not believe in the ‘fixity of species’, that species cannot change; but we are often accused of this kind of scientific ignorance.

In respect of evolution, there is a glaring irony: the educational system is unquestionably acting “in such a way as to prevent pupils meaningfully testing its veracity and forming an independent understanding as to how reliable it is.” The whole gamut of ‘cosmic evolution’, from the big bang, to the self-assembly of the first living cell, to the emergence of Homo sapiens, is fraught with scientific problems of such magnitude that each is effectively falsified. Even secular scientists sometimes complain that ‘explanations’ in text books simply do not fit the facts and that current ‘theories’ need to be replaced (see here)—despite their not having any better alternatives.14 How can pupils evaluate the claims of evolutionists when this information is withheld from them?

Empowered to exploit

According to paragraph 65 of the DfE’s document, “teaching staff should not exploit pupils’ vulnerability … by trying to impose their own views on pupils”. Yet there can be no doubt that this is exactly what is happening in state schools. Many children will go to school open-minded and ready to hear both sides of the argument—but they won’t. Rather, atheist teachers are being empowered to assert their materialistic, anti-Christian dogma with the full support of the State.

Up until now parents have been able to protect their children from this kind of secular indoctrination, for instance by sending them to independent schools. This, however, may not provide a solution in the future. Hence, Christian parents will need to do more to educate their children in these matters at home, whether their children attend a school or are home educated—and resources to support this are available through our webstore.

The wider picture

In terms of establishing a secular worldview in people’s minds and hearts, the doctrine of evolution is just the tip of the iceberg. It is not just that children are taught that there is no reason to attribute their existence to a Creator. Rather, the whole of the state educational system, in mandating the exclusion of God from the curriculum, gives the message, “God is irrelevant and we can all get along fine without Him.”

Of all subjects, science is seen as the primary vehicle for establishing this view. Science, it is claimed, is objective and therefore completely reliable. According to English educationalists, Robin Barrow and Ronald Woods, “The very nature of scientific activity precludes the possibility of indoctrination in science.”15 In order to safeguard our children we need to help them see the folly of such thinking.

Secularism leads to idolatry and the deification of science.16 According to Professor Richard Dawkins, “Truth means scientific truth.”17 In such thinking, there is no place for any reality outside of the physics and chemistry. For people who embrace this philosophy, the saviours of society become scientists, technologists and economists. They think that scientists will provide the knowledge, technologists the means to use this knowledge and economists the policies that will enable us to enjoy it.

There is much to be positive about, however. While, secularism may be in the ascendancy in the UK there has never been a time when more facts have been available supporting the Christian worldview. Whether it be in science, history, archaeology or philosophy, Christianity stands head and shoulders above all other belief systems. More and more we have the answers and more and more these are being made available in books and magazines. Be encouraged and get informed!

References and notes

  1. First published in CMI-UK/Europe’s Update, August 2018. Return to text.
  2. Department for Education, The independent school standards: advice for independent schools, Draft, March 2018; consult.education.gov.uk/school-frameworks/operating-the-independent-school-regulatory-system/supporting_documents/180214%20%20ISSAdvice%20v13.0draftforCS.pdf. Return to text.
  3. Statham, D.R., Strawmen and censorship: the British Humanist Association and creation in schools, 9 August 2014; creation.com/humanist-censorship. Return to text.
  4. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Naturalism. Return to text.
  5. Phillips, M., The World Turned Upside Down: The global battle over God, truth and power, Encounter Books, New York, p. 73, 2010. Return to text.
  6. Todd, S.C., correspondence to Nature 401(6752):423, 30 September 1999. Return to text.
  7. It is not suggested here that Dr Todd (a professing Christian) endorses this view. Return to text.
  8. Davies, P., The Origin of Life, Penguin, London, p. 4, 2003. Return to text.
  9. Flew, A., There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind, Harper Collins, New York, 2007. Return to text.
  10. Lennox, J.C., God’s Undertaker: Has science buried God? Lion Hudson, Oxford, 2007. Return to text.
  11. Crichton, M., Aliens Cause Global Warming, Transcript of a Caltech Lecture, 2009. Return to text.
  12. Batten, D., Origin of life: An explanation of what is needed for abiogenesis (or biopoiesis), 26 November 2013, updated 20 January 2017; creation.com/origin-of-life. Return to text.
  13. Gitt, W., with Compton, B. and Fernandez, J., Without Excuse: Information: the key to life, scientific laws and the origin of life…, Creation Book Publishers, Atlanta, GA, pp. 200–202, 2011. Return to text.
  14. An example of such an admission is James Williams (University of Sussex), writing in the Times Educational Supplement; Bell, P., Don’t believe evolution—just accept it! creation.com, 19 May 2003. Return to text.
  15. Barrow, R. & Woods, R., An Introduction to Philosophy of Education, 2nd ed., Methuen, London, p. 71, 1982. Return to text.
  16. Jones, A., Science in Faith: An Outline of a Christian approach to the sciences, Christian Schools' Trust, ch. 1, 1998. Return to text.
  17. Dawkins, R., Personal philosophies that give life purpose, Independent, p. 4, 23 December 1991. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Tony R.
Thank you for this article and the one on no ice age in the future; the Victorian government are trying the same thing here in Australia.
Colin G.
When I was at school in the 1960's evolution was taught as a theory in biology lessons (as distinct from observable testable scientific fact - thanks to Mr Mills for making the distinction). Everything I've read on the subject between then and now indicates that historical evolution (goo to you) does not even qualify as an acceptable theory, based as it is on so many impossible assumptions - not least the origin of life.
I cannot understand why successive governments, BBC and other media, persist in plugging the discredited theory and even go beyond to call it fact. The secular agenda voluntarily refuses to accept the biblical creation account which is so clearly supported by observable scientific facts around us. Romans 1:19-21 is still so relevant.
Mitch C.
This demonstrates that Creationists are the true, objective scientists, and that Evolutionists must stoop to coercion and intimidation, because observable, testable scientific evidence does not back up their confident claims.

It reminds me of Genesis 50:20 "... you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good... ."

I totally agree with Nathan G.: Let the secular world mandate that we teach the best arguments for Evolution. Then counter those arguments with observable scientific evidence and thereby expose the weaknesses and fallacies of Evolution. The better students understand Evolution, the better equipped they will be to answer those claims.

Creation.com is a unique, valuable resource in this effort: It gives clear, easy-to-understand answers, based on solid science, that provide compelling rebuttals to the unproven (and unprovable) claims proffered by Evolutionists, and which confirm the Biblical account of six-day creation and the global flood.
Dianne W.
I am not surprised this is happening. I researched the activities of the secular humanists two years ago and learned exactly what they have been up to. It is they who are behind the push to force evolution on independent schools, actively campaigning to achieve predetermined goals. I learned that they are never satisfied with their wins, but always have another step in mind. You can be sure that achieving these inspections won't stop there. I know for a fact that their ultimate goal is the total eradication of independent schools and the banning of homeschooling. They are out to ensure that NOT ONE child will escape evolutionary indoctrination.
Louis C.
Jared C I finished school in 2016 in South Africa, and I can tell you that Miller-Urey, Haeckel's embryos and transitional fossils were all still taught.

I had been lucky, however, in that I grew up on Creation Magazine and other creationist materials at home, and I went to a Christian private school with strong Biblical principles. The senior biology teacher was an informed creationist. She taught us about the trap needed to get meaningful amounts of amino acids when she taught us about the Miller-Urey experiment, and showed us the actual photographs of embryos alongside Haeckel's frauds.
Jared C.
I graduated high school in the late 90's. My 11th grade biology teacher wasn't enthused about teaching evolution, but he still stuck to the curriculum. The teaching about evolution definitely created doubts in my faith at the time... but it was also that teaching would eventually remove any of those doubts a few years later. Finding out that virtually everything you were taught on a subject was either long out-dated, wrong, exaggerated, or falsified (even knowingly falsified for over 100 years) has a way sealing out lingering doubt.

There are two particular topics that still get a rise of me (and to my knowledge are still being taught today). Learning later that the Miller Urey experiment wasn't nearly as successful as the text books would lead you to believe is bad enough, but we also watched a video of the subject that related amino acids to actual Lego bricks. Like it was so simple to put together that a child could do it. It's pure propaganda. But the one that really gets me going.... I'll never forget a catholic kid standing up in class and declaring, "Evolution must be true," while we were being "taught" about Haeckel's embryos. The actual pictures of real embryos discrediting those drawing wouldn't be released for a few more years. But to then learn the his drawings had been known to have been wrong and falsified long before my grandparents were even born would lead me to a final question: If evolution was so overwhelming evident, why do they have to lie to children about it?

The saddest part about that kid in my class is that his life spiraled out control over the next summer. At the time, I blamed his new demeanor on the drugs... and the drugs on his friends. But looking back... He was open rebellion against both God and his parents.
Nathan G.
As a born pessimist and mistrusting observer of modern philosophical and educational trends, I understand the comments posted here. However, our kids are not dumb, despite their digital addictions. Their math and language skills are not sufficient, but they want answers (just like us) to the Big Questions. My kids in Germany come from various religious backgrounds, but are invariably more open to the three-letter "G"-word in science than my alleged "science" colleagues are. Do not sell kids short, nor ignore their need to know the truth based on testable evidence. I like all my kids personally (even if I don't agree with all of their habits or actions) and promise them that I will never knowingly tell them a lie. They also are free to ask any question of me, with the promise that I will do my homework, too, if I don't know the answer.

If the independent schools in England are smart, they will do three things:
1) Teach the Bible as the absolute truth, based on all the available historical and scientific facts.
2) Teach evolutionary twaddle extensively alongside real operational science, in order to demolish Neodarwinian claims to scientific accuracy. Students must understand both creationism and evolution better than the evolutionists do in order to refute evo nonsense in the face of opposition. (This is how I teach my own children to demolish evolutionary piffle.)
3) Turn up the evolution on inspection board visiting days, then go back to teaching a balanced view on the days they aren't there. No one has to commit suicide for a hostile guest. "Sly as serpents, gentle as doves." If your kids can argue evolution more impressively than the evos, they won't know what to do. I can run circles around my colleagues, then ask them questions they can't answer. They hate it.
B. N.
I just watched the National Geographic, "One Strange Rock", season 1, episode 4, called "Genesis". (Watched on an airplane so cannot say where else to see it) The writers cleverly use credible but non scientists (astronauts) to speak [in absolute terms] about origins; true scientists would say "maybe". I.e. The primordial soup with lots of lightning created life, spoken as fact. Yes it adds [that] we also needed "stardust", a salute to the fact that the theory / experiment is a bust.
Philip Bell
Note that CMI is in the process of working on a response to 'One Strange Rock'. As they say, watch this space!
Michael S.
Dominic, while I agree there is more info available for Christianity/creation, than ever before, I think the secularists are achieving a psychological castration by use of deception. There was once an experiment I heard, where dogs were kept on long chains, and food was just out of reach of them. Each day the dinner bell rang and the dogs ran forward to get their food, but to no avail as it was just out of reach. This went on for so long that when the experimenters took away the chains when the dinner bell rang even though there was food available for the dogs just yards away from them, the dogs didn't try to get the food any more so they went hungry. For so long they had been trained to think that the food just wasn't available that their psychology became the hurdle.

Now compare that to what the secularists do. The enemy is very clever, for most of the public have all of the information for ID and creation before them each day but they DON'T read it, for they have been told for so long that creation is only pseudo-science believed by a minority fringe crackpots that they have been CONDITIONED to not bother reading the arguments from creation.

I would say that is the greatest hurdle to overcome. Because by the time you reach a pulpit in a university, I am afraid most students will have already have judged you to be a stereotype that only exists in their heads, and psychologically they will already be hardened and resistant to what you say, as they have been trained to.

Though I am not saying your efforts are futile. Those who do find the truth, tend to find it ABUNDANTLY. But it's because the Holy Spirit led them to it.
Philip Bell
And because the work is indeed challenging, while we certainly recognise the vital work of the Holy Spirit to effect real change in hearts and lives, Christians must be all the more active in doing all we can to put our hands to the plough (plow, for our US friends :) ) as per the previous comment. No less than 14 different ways in which concerned people can play their part are listed in Using your talent.
Revd W.
My experience in the education system is that it is one big propaganda machine for naturalism, feminism, multi-culturalism, anti-nationism, and the Labour Party; that is why the Government was until recently [pushing for] inspecting churches and Sunday schools: they want to close down any independent system of education and seal up any alternatives to their indoctrination. We surely have an uphill struggle, on all of this, and it is time to put our elbows to the plough. Good and perceptive article by Dominic. I enjoyed the conference recently in Westminster. [Ed. CMI's European Creation Conference]
King T.
Thank you for highlighting once again just how pervasive and more blatant the fight against God is becoming.

However, one needs to ask oneself what Christians are doing about the situation. Surely if these things are raised in the public mind Christians should be willing to challenge them in court? Or will that be a distraction from what we are supposed to be doing, namely preaching the gospel?
Can Christians that CARE not band together and raise the money for a protracted legal battle and get the secularism shown up for what it is? As an interesting side note it would be instructive to see Theistic evolutionists throw in their lot with the atheists and humanists to fight against Christians who actually believe the bible as it stands.
Philip Bell
You make some good points. However, while we encourage Christians to become active in all sorts of ways and provide information to equip them, CMI's mandate and vision does not include lobbying, conducting surveys or legal action; see: What we do. We agree with Russell Humphreys' statement in this article: "The main creationist organizations, including CMI, think that it is more profitable to educate individuals about the issue than as organisations themselves to lobby governments. Then when enough individuals understand, they can do the lobbying."
See also STILL linking and feeding.
Phil M.
So according to Professor Richard Dawkins, “Truth means scientific truth.” He would have been closer to the mark had he said, “Truth means historical truth”. After all, the origins controversy is about the truth of history, not science.

How so? Because, I (and just about everyone else) can objectively demonstrate that, when talking origins, we are talking History, e.g. origins occurred in the past, history is the past, therefore when talking origins, we are talking history. But can it be objectively demonstrated that, when talking origins, we are talking Science?

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