November 2, 2006
The Blair switch project
British prime minister Tony Blair, in an interview with New Scientist:
Q: One subject that is of great concern to scientists is creationism. There has been a suggestion that creationism is being taught in some British schools. What are your views on this?
A: This can be hugely exaggerated. I’ve visited one of the schools in question and as far as I’m aware they are teaching the curriculum in a normal way. If I notice creationism become the mainstream of the education system in this country then that’s the time to start worrying.
It’s good to know that Blair is waiting to “notice creationism become the mainstream of the education system” before he starts worrying. But then what else would Brits expect, given that his government is actually responsible for introducing creationism into British schools? You might recall this story from last April:
Leading scientists have launched an unprecedented attack on the teaching of creationist theories in Tony Blair's flagship academies.
Britain's most prestigious scientific body, the Royal Society, said children were being confused by the teaching of the Bible's creation story in science lessons.
It follows a recent revival in creationist thinking, most notably in three schools supported by multi-millionaire car dealer and evangelical Christian Sir Peter Vardy.
The schools - a city technology college and two city academies - are allowed to stray from the national curriculum under Labour's controversial scheme to give schools more autonomy if they win private backing.
In a statement issued today, the Royal Society defends Darwin's theory of evolution as the best explanation for life on earth.
It accuses the Government of failing in its duty to ensure pupils at state schools, including the academies, learn the value of genuine science.
The Emmanuel Schools Foundation, which sponsors the schools, could hardly be clearer about its mission. According to Nigel McQuoid, who chairs Emmanuel’s governing body:
To teach children that they are developed mutations who evolved from something akin to a monkey as a result of a cataclysmic chemical accident and that death is the end of everything is hardly going to engender within them a sense of purpose, self-worth and respect. To present, however, the Truth that they were made by a loving and just God who sees every one of them as being of equal and real value and capable of achieving their best, and to speak of the life beyond death, creates an altogether more positive sense of responsibility, accountability and direction.
And Blair’s government? Well, its Department for Education and Skills has offered a “general assurance” that it won’t allow British school science lessons to be infiltrated by “creationist” ideas. And its clueless education watchdog, Ofsted, has rated one of Emmanuel’s so-called schools “outstanding”—for the third year in a row.
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