Friday, June 20, 2014

Great Britain Extends Creationism Ban From Public Schools to Academies and Free Schools is reporting that there has been a change to the acceptance of the statutes concerning the teaching of creationism as an acceptable alternative to established biological and geological science.  Since sometime last year, creationism has been banned from state-run schools.  Now the wording has been expanded to include schools that are maintained by the state but run semi-privately.  This includes what are known as "free schools" and "academies."  A running battle has been waged by several groups to try to keep these schools from falling under the sway of the government in terms of being able to teach creationism.  They have lost. Ian Dunt writes:
New clauses for church academies published on June 9th clarify the meaning of creationism and state that it is a minority view within the Church of England and Catholic church.

It then adds: "The requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school."

Because every free school and academy is required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in its funding agreement, the explicit statement that creationism is incompatible with it bars the teaching of it as a scientific theory.
So what, exactly, is “creationism?” As far as the state-run schools and academies are concerned:
Creationism, for the purposes of clauses 2.43 and 2.44 of the funding agreement and clause 23E above, is any doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution. The parties acknowledge that creationism, in this sense, is rejected by most mainstream churches and religious traditions, including the major providers of state funded schools such as the [Anglican] [Catholic] Churches, as well as the scientific community. It does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory.
This represents a new clarification of the language and is very clear: the government has implicated both young earth creationism and intelligent design in their definition of creationism.  From here on out, it will be only private schools that can teach creationism in any form.  Although there is no analogous model here in the United States, this might be roughly similar to any school taking public money for school vouchers being prohibited from teaching creationism, a model currently being promoted by Zack Kopplin. It is hard to say if such a restriction would ever be placed on US schools in the future, barring a court decision because support for creationism in all of its forms is so high among the populace, as a whole. 

1 comment:

  1. There was some discussion of this over at Jon Garvey's blog.

    Of course, he has the advantage of more familiarity with things on the other side of the pond.