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CTC's creationist talk enrages scientists

LEADING geneticist Professor Stephen Jones and other distinguished scientists are calling for inspectors to revisit a city technology college which teaches creationism.

Leading staff at Emmanuel City College, Gateshead, said on the Christian Institute's website that creationism should be taught alongside evolution.

Professor Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, is writing a letter of protest to Education Secretary Estelle Morris and the Office for Standards in Education has received a complaint from University College London's professor of pharmacy David Colquhoun.

The scientists are worried that pupils will leave Emmanuel with a distorted view of science which will have to be corrected when they arrive at university.

Some creationists believe the world was created just 6,000 years ago, that Adam and Eve existed, and that dinosaurs coexisted with humans.

UCL's Professor Jones has written to OFSTED saying: "It seems to me appropriate to ask that a new inspection is made of Emmanuel College as a matter of urgency."

Last weekend the school hired out its lecture hall for a two-day conference on the subject. Both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches accept evolution as a fact.

On the website, the college's principal, Nigel McQuoid, says: "Both creation and evolution provide ways of explaining the past that are beyond direct scientific examination and verification."

In a statement he added: "College has never hidden its Christian foundation but it does not seek to foist any one faith upon any student. Issues relating to science and faith are wholly appropriate for discussion."

OFSTED said that as its inspection of Emmanuel College was conducted more than a year ago, and the complaint is too late and should be directed to Estelle Morris.

Tony Blair defended the school in Prime Minister's questions this week. Lib Dem MP Jenny Tonge asked if he was happy for creationism to be taught in state schools. He said that the school was getting good results and he welcomed diversity in education.

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