Skip to main content

I blame Dawkins

The recent furore (well, furore in teacup) over Free Schools teaching creationism has made me quite angry. We have seen the creationist/intelligent design lobby in the US over the years use all sorts of dirty tricks to try to sneak creationist pseudo-science onto the agenda. But now those opposing religion, specifically the British Humanist Association, but also plenty of others who should know better, are resorting to their own dirty tricks, and it's not good enough.

If you want to make your point by using good reasoned argument, you mustn't cheat or you will be ignored when the truth comes out.

The problem I have is this. There is every good reason to oppose creationism, which in its most extreme ('young Earth') form says God made the Earth, essentially as it is now, 6,000 years ago, and in its watered down ('old Earth') form says God made the Earth as it says in Genesis in the Bible, but over a longer timescale. Creationism is biblical literalism.

However the majority of believing Christians (and basically this is an attack on Christianity, let's not pretend otherwise) in the UK are neither creationists nor literalists. They believe in a creator God but believe that said God used the mechanisms that science thinks are responsible for things being the way they are, whether it's quantum theory and the standard model or evolution.

All this sound and fury is because certain factions are conflating creationism and a Christian belief in God, which are simply not the same thing. I don't think they are doing this accidentally - this appears to be a deliberate attempt to mislead. They are trying to make 'creationism' just another word for 'Christian' and I object, if only as a writer to this misuse. It would be ridiculous to say that, for instance, a CofE school in its assemblies or RE lessons could not teach about a creator God - that's thought police territory. Such a school shouldn't be able to teach creationism as science - and they aren't allowed to - but the two things are totally separate.

Of course there is a different issue of whether we ought to allow religious schools at all - I don't think we should - but that debate is quite different from this one. While they exist they have the right to do what the law says they can do.

I'm afraid I really do blame Richard Dawkins and his cohorts of muscular atheists who never seem to let their bad effect on the general public's opinion of science get in the way of really irritating people. This is anti-religious bigotry pure and simple.

Bah.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope