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News – ‘Back to the basket…!’

October 2008

‘Back to the basket…!’

 

Teaching creationism in schools, as an alternative view to the theory of evolution, has been raised as a serious option by Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Education at the Royal Society, one of the UK’s leading scientific organisations.

     Speaking at the British Association’s Festival of Science in Liverpool, Professor Reiss was reported as saying that it was self-defeating to dismiss as wrong or misguided the 10% of pupils who believe in the literal account of God creating the universe and all living things. Prof. Reiss averred it might be better to treat creationism, as related in the Bible or Koran, as a world view.

     The comments appeared to put the professor at odds with the Royal Society’s previously declared position that creationism had no place in schools, and pupils should understand that science supported the theory of evolution. Within 24 hours the following ‘clarification’ appeared on the Royal Society’s website amid widespread media reports of a dramatic change in policy:

     ‘The Royal Society is opposed to creationism being taught as science. Some media reports have misrepresented the views of Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Education at the Society, expressed in a speech yesterday.

     ‘Professor Reiss has issued the following clarification: “Some of my comments about the teaching of creationism have been misinterpreted as suggesting that creationism should be taught in science classes. Creationism has no scientific basis. However, when young people ask questions about creationism in science classes, teachers need to be able to explain to them why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories, but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis. I have referred to science teachers discussing creationism as a world view; this is not the same as lending it any scientific credibility”.

     ‘The society remains committed to the teaching of evolution as the best explanation for the history of life on earth’.

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