Young people are being cheated by deliberate attempts to withhold, distort or misinterpret scientific knowledge in order to promote particular religious beliefs
That is the conclusion of a recent report by the Royal Society published in the face of growing controversy over the teaching of creationism and intelligent design along side evolution in schools.
Professor David Read, Vice-President of the Royal Society, said: “The Royal Society fully supports questioning and debate in science lessons, as long as it is not designed to undermine young people’s confidence in the value of scientific evidence.”
The report acknowledges that many people both believe in a creator and accept the scientific evidence for how the universe and life on Earth developed. But it indicates that “some versions of creationism are incompatible with the scientific evidence”.
Karen O’Boyle, a former Catholic and Head of science at Kingsway School in Oxfordshire, told Laboratory News: “There has been a lot of fuss over the issue, but I can’t see a time when anything other than evolution will be taught as the explanation for life on Earth in science lessons. And that is the way it should be.”
This mood was echoed at the recent annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers when Revd Chris Wilson, an executive committee member of the association and Christian minister, said: “I believe creationism has a role within the religious education syllabus – but it is not a science, should not be treated as such and should not be taught as a valid alternative to evolution.”
The organisation Christians in Science have come out in total support of the statement by the Royal Society. However many creationists believe that intelligent design is based on sound evidence and reject the idea that it should be confined to religious education. Reed Carson, president of the Theosophy Foundation of Georgia told Laboratory News: “Numerous quotes from the leading design theorists make completely clear that this issue is driven by the evidence. As it is, Darwinists are acting like dogmatic fundamentalists. Darwinists axiomatically preclude any possibility of consciousness outside of our craniums. And this tenet they cling to as an article of faith.”