by Dominic Statham
In January 2012, we reported here that, following a campaign by the British Humanist Association, the UK’s Department for Education had revised the regulations relating to government funded schools.2 We stated, based on press reports at the time, that those ‘free schools’ that teach creation or intelligent design in science lessons will, from now on, have their financial support withdrawn.3 However, now that the new free schools funding agreement has been published, it’s clear that the situation is far worse than was originally apparent. The new clause (24A) actually states that
‘[the school] shall not make provision in the context of any subject for the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.’4
Since it would be understood that the theory of evolution is ‘established science’ and that ‘any subject’ would include Religious Education, it would appear that this effectively prohibits any discussion of the scientific evidence for creation in any classroom.
Hence, the only view of origins that can be presented to the youngsters as ‘evidenced based’ is the one that, in the words of Richard Dawkins, infers that the universe has ‘no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference’, that we are no more than biochemical machines ‘dancing to our DNA’ and that people are not responsible for their actions.5 Indeed, they are to be taught that the only rational explanation for their existence is the belief system that paved the way for the killing of millions in Soviet Russia,6 World War I,7 World War II,8 and the Holocaust.9 At the same time, teachers are forbidden from telling their students that there is any evidence for the view that people are made in the image of God (and that they therefore have intrinsic value), or that the creationist world-view that led to the rise of science10 was based on anything other than religious ignorance. Moreover, it would seem inadmissible to teach that the practice of the Christian faith, which led to the abolition of slavery, the founding of hospitals, schools and many other charitable institutions, that taught honesty, respect and self-sacrifice, was based on anything other than a belief in unsupportable myths….
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