Creationism in science lessons?

15 Sep

Once again the thorny issue of teaching creationism in science lessons has been raised. This time, unusually, in the UK media and by a British scientist, Michael Reiss. Although, Mr Reiss is actually suggesting science teachers discuss creationism with students who raise the subject, the debate, inevitably, has turned to whether or not it should form part of the science curriculum. And, once again, the same arguments are being used by advocates, namely that evolution isn’t a fact, it is just a theory. Please people stop it! The word theory has more than one definition, and in a scientific sense it is used thus: 

“A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena”
Definition courtesy of WordWeb

On the other hand, creationism could be more accurately described as a hypothesis,

“A message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence”
Definition courtesy of WordWeb

To get back to the subject – do I think the creationism hypothesis should be taught as part of school science lessons? No! Most definitely not! Creationism has no more place in a science class than astrology – and that has a far larger following. No science teacher worth the title would even consider teaching a module about the effects of being born on the cusp of Libra and Scorpio with Pisces rising and the same should apply to other forms of belief and superstition.

Of course people are free to believe anything they like, and on the whole the rest of  society should respect that. However, we don’t have to agree with them, nor should we make allowances for their views if it means compromising valid teaching practices.

Further Reading:

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3 Responses to “Creationism in science lessons?”

  1. Liam September 16, 2008 at 11:57 am #

    I agree completely; there is no place for creationism in a Science classroom. The acceptance of a scientific theory is an aggressively competitive process; other scientists will do all they can do disprove a theory and its originator may even play devil’s advocate to test a theory’s veracity. Creationists usually don’t take kindly to having their ideas challenged; it’s all about faith. Creationism is clearly not a scientific theory, so how can it be allowed equal time at school, or any time at all for that matter.Creationism is taught in religious schools. That might be the choice of parents who want a religious education for their children, but these schools are partially funded by the government, and often receive levels of funding far above disadvataged state schools. Of course let them make that choice if they wish, but not at the tax payer’s expense.

  2. Kate September 16, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    State religious schools have the same advantage here too. Our local village school was taken over by a religious organisation about 5 years ago, and yes, they do get more funding than the mainstream schools, including keeping their 6th form (for kids 15-18) open while the schools in the nearest town are losing theirs. Plus, at a time when the government are saying they want to give parents more choice, we have less. Very few people would have chosen to send their kids to a church school, but we have no choice because it’s the only one.

  3. Kate September 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    That should be 16-18, not 15 – I’m blaming an unfamiliar keyboard.

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