Warning against 'erroneous' website

21st January 2011 at 00:00

On November 26, The TESS published notification of a website, The World Around Us, that claims to be a resource prepared by "a group of scientists, historians and educationists . in the mainstream of their subjects". According to a spokesperson, it "presents . evidence from mainstream science to encourage discussion, and suggests the evidence points to a paradigm crisis in evolutionary theory".

The British Centre for Science Education (BCSE) has had the opportunity to evaluate this website. Since the authors remain anonymous, we cannot judge the first of their claims. However, all the others are erroneous.

There is nothing mainstream about this site. Beyond a thin veil of deniability, it pursues a creationist agenda, proffers (and describes as mainstream) a reading list full of creationist (including Young Earth creationism) materials. It misrepresents recent research in areas ranging from molecular phylogeny to plate tectonics to radiometric dating.

A student using this resource will be thoroughly misinformed. A teacher directing students to it will be in violation of the guidelines in force throughout most of the UK, which specify that creationism and intelligent design have no place in the science classroom.

For a discussion of the many scientific and logical errors presented, see http:bcseweb.blogspot.com201101latest-uk-creationist-ploy-world- around.html.

Paul S. Braterman (for BCSE committee), professor emeritus, University of North Texas, honorary senior research fellow in chemistry, University of Glasgow.

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