You may have noticed that good old Prof Dawkins is popping up again on the TV, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species. And a fine populariser of science he is too, although I feel he does tend to go for the straw men rather a lot when he strays into the realms of theology.
But then again, over here in Norn Iron, where I’m amazed we haven’t yet had a monkey trial, we do rather give him plenty of ammunition. The newly appointed chair of the Stormont education committee, Mervyn Storey (DUP, North Antrim) popped up in today’s News Letter, demanding the teaching of creationism in science classes:
Creationism is not for the RE class because I believe that it can stand scientific scrutiny and that is a debate which I am quite happy to encourage and be part of.
The issue for the current Education Minister [Caitriona Ruane] is that she tells us she’s all for equality – surely if that is the case, you can’t have one set of interpretations being taught at the expense of others.
So, if there are those from the scientific community [who believe in creationism] who can give a view about how the world came into existence then it can’t be set aside. You can’t have one very narrow theory.
This is not about removing anything from the classroom – although that would probably be the ideal for me – but this is about us having equality of access to other views as to how the world came into existence and that I think is a very, very important issue for many parents in Northern Ireland.
And I am delighted that Prof Dawkins bothered to come back and reply:
I have no objection to all kinds of daft ideas being taught in comparative religion classes but in science what we should teach is what there is evidence for and children should be encouraged to examine evidence…
If this politician [Mr Storey] wants to import creationism into science classes, I’m wondering which kind of creationism – Hindu creationism, Jewish creationism, Babylonian creationism, Aztec creationism?
My guess is that it is probably Genesis creationism and there’s absolutely no reason for it.
And the good professor goes on:
We live in a democracy and anyone can get elected…
I think it’s sad that people with ridiculous views do get elected because it suggests that the electorate is not sufficiently well-educated to see through them.
I would hope that a flat-earther would not be elected and would not be serving as an important official in educational circles – exactly the same would be true of at least a young earth creationist.
Not, perhaps, a line that would go down well with the God-fearing folk of North Antrim, but at least Norn Iron’s small community of scientific rationalists will have a nice warm feeling today.
Hat tip: Slugger.
Rud eile: the gay debate rumbles on, with a new row over Rev McIlveen and his congregation placing an anti-gay ad in the News Letter. Some things never change, do they?