Blinded by science or blinkered by belief?

27th May 2011 at 01:00

While it is positive that the Government has stated it will not accept openly creationist groups from running state-maintained free schools, that does not tackle issues of creationism or ID being taught as science or fact in those or any other school.

First, although the 2007 Government Guidance on the Place of Creationism and Intelligent Design in Science Lessons is clear that these approaches have no scientific underpinnings whatsoever, it is not statutory and, further, it only applies to national curriculum science.

It is not clear whether it might also apply to science lessons in free schools and academies which do not have to follow the national curriculum.

Second, it does not apply to ID being presented as science in other subjects, including RE. This is a problem compounded by the fact that evolution and natural selection is not a compulsory part of the primary curriculum or early secondary curriculum, meaning pupils in some schools are at risk of never learning about the "real science" of our origins.

Perhaps it is these more covert ways for extreme religious perspectives to be taught in schools that we should be worried about, rather than the groups who are open in their agendas and were unlikely to pass suitability tests in any case.

Naomi Phillips, British Humanist Association.

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