Some good thinking from the government, for once.
It’s a blow for religion, but a triumph for rationality; creationism is not science and has no place in a modern classroom.
Religious people of all faiths have the freedom to practise their beliefs in their places of worship and at home and any other places where they get together for their mutual interests. The big problem has been, however, that they have wanted to push their beliefs into every aspect of daily life. But not everyone wants that, and of course no religion wants to give any time over to any other religion, either.
Most importantly, perhaps, the theory of evolution itself will be a specific subject that will have to be taught to young people in schools. You can almost hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth already.
One of the most ridiculous arguments put forward by creationists is that creationism is “scientific.” It is nothing of the sort, and the people who claim it is have, themselves, no clue at all about how science works. These scientific illiterates would quite cheerfully drag us all back into the dark ages. They claim that evolution is “only a theory,” as though “theory” means some kind of blind guess, rather than its scientific meaning of being a comprehensive, well tested explanation for observable phenomena.
Even more ridiculous is the pathetic appeal to fairness – the stupid idea that students should be taught “the controversy.” The religious say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution so that the students can then make up their own minds about which side they want to believe. How moronic can these people be? If you ever need dental treatment, would you prefer to go to a qualified dentist who has learned his profession based on scientific evidence, or would you be happy to be treated by someone who had studied “both sides” and had then decided to go with their faith in the Tooth Fairy theory of dentistry?
No, the purpose of education is to impart to our young people the best knowledge we have, not unsubstantiated beliefs, however sincerely they might be held.
There are some independent faith schools that run their own curriculum, so of course they teach creationism and deny evolution (actual science). Those students, however, are often unable to get into higher education because their “qualifications” are not recognised. They also, of course, cannot get jobs that require a proper education; the problem is even more pronounced in America, where there are many examples of youngsters having to undertake remedial courses to enable them to get into a proper college or university.
[Edit: I made a mistake earlier, attributing the following illustration to Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools. It is not actually part of their curriculum, but it is out there, being used by some Christian fundamentalists.]
It’s a genuine example of the nonsense that some children are being taught as though it were real. (More about fundamentalist schools can be found here at Leaving Fundamentalism).
Let me make one thing very clear before the fundamentalists jump in here: evolution is a fact, but it is not an attack on religion; it is a theory (in the scientific sense of the word) that has been verified and fits every criterion of what makes it science. If creationism really is science or scientific as the creationists claim, then they are free to submit their “science” to the relevant scientific journals for publication. And their research can actually be published if they can support it with testable evidence. Faith, however, will not cut the mustard, nor will references to any scriptures.
I’m tempted to continue writing about this, ad infinitum, (and I could, quite easily) but you probably get my basic gist. If any religious people out there want to disagree with me about what is or is not science, then I invite any creationist that wants to insist that creationism is scientific to jump into the comments section and put forward a testable hypothesis about any aspect of creationism.
It’s as simple as that.
In the meantime, I will give you this cartoon that just summarises the dilemma that faces the believers (I have to say that Doonesbury has a gift for illustrating this kind of paradox):
This is a pretty good article about the new school requirements: