For some years the British Humanist Association (BHA) has been campaigning to prevent children in UK state-funded schools being informed about the evidence for a creator. They have been remarkably successful, especially in their lobbying for the most restrictive government regulations concerning what may be taught. For example, the latest ‘free school’ funding agreement requires that “The Academy Trust must not allow any view or theory to be taught as evidence-based if it is contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations. This clause applies to all subjects taught at the Academy.” Since the theory of evolution would be deemed “established science” and “all subjects” would include Religious Education, it would appear that this effectively prohibits any meaningful discussion of the scientific evidence for creation in any classroom.
Honesty in debate requires each side to address their opponents’ strongest case. Yet the BHA even set up ‘straw men’ by including arguments that the leading creationist organisations have publicly stated that creationists should not use.
At the same time, the BHA is active in promoting its secular, atheistic worldview in British schools, offering volunteers to help plan lessons and providing curriculum guidance, ‘teaching toolkits’ and other materials. One of these resources is A humanist discussion of … ‘creationism’, in which they claim to expose the main “spurious arguments” used by creationists to criticise evolution. The statements made in this document seriously misrepresent the creationist view. Indeed, so clear is it that the BHA has failed to engage with the real issues and the arguments actually used by creationist scientists, one might wonder whether this is deliberate. Honesty in debate requires each side to address their opponents’ strongest case. Yet the BHA even set up ‘straw men’ by including arguments that the leading creationist organisations have publicly stated that creationists should not use. We respond to the BHA’s claims point by point below.
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