Another hollow victory for educational censorship

Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association (BHA) are celebrating this week.1 Following the launch of their ‘Teach Evolution, not Creationism‘ campaign in September last year, the UK’s Department of Education has revised the regulations relating to teaching about origins in government funded schools. Those ‘free schools’2 that teach creation or intelligent design (ID) in science lessons will, from now on, have their financial support withdrawn.

Despite the media furore, however, this comes as no surprise (see Timeline below). Shortly before becoming the UK’s Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove made the following statement on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

“Well, to my mind, you cannot have a school which teaches creationism. And one thing that we will make absolutely clear is that you cannot have schools which are set up which teach people things which are clearly at variance with what we know to be scientific fact.”3

What is particularly sad about these kinds of statements is that what is understood to be ‘scientific fact’ is, in fact, nothing more than thinly disguised philosophical naturalism (aka atheism).4

Secularism not science

The BHA exists, primarily, to further the cause of secularism. They want to forge a new society where the thinking and values of previous generations, guided by Christianity and the Bible, are forgotten. Our morality and laws, they claim, should not be based on such religious myths; rather, they say, we should remodel our society based on more ‘rational’, secular ideas. Moreover, they know that if they can persuade people that science supports their position, they will have won a great victory. Particularly, if they can convince people that their existence can be explained entirely by natural processes—indeed, that no creator was necessary—they will have delivered a coup de grâce against those who work so hard to preserve our society’s Christian roots. And what better place to start than with vulnerable school children who know no better? Writing in The Humanist John Dunphy argued,

“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the [school] classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism …

It will undoubtedly be a long, arduous, painful struggle replete with much sorrow and many tears, but humanism will emerge triumphant. It must if the family of humankind is to survive.”5….

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