Sunday, June 07, 2009

Michael Reiss Speaks Out

The Times Online has an article on Michael Reiss, the former Director of Education at the Royal Society who was forced to resign following a peculiarly paranoid episode in which he advocated, innocently enough, that if creationism were brought up in the class room, it should not be dismissed out of hand but that the scientific positions that supported the contrary position should be explained. Somehow,the whole thing blew up his face and he lost his job. As the article correctly points out:
That Reiss possessed better pro-evolution credentials than most (a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Cambridge) counted for nothing when weighed against a furious campaign by Fellows of the Royal Society demanding his dismissal. In September, his contract — a secondment from his permanent position as Professor of Science Education at London University’s Institute of Education in Bloomsbury— was terminated.
If ever Ben Stein needed an example of the irrationality of the science establishment, he could not have looked further than this. Now, Reiss is finally having his say. He does, however, let slip something he didn't say at the time that needs no apology whatever:
Of course, Reiss, an evolutionary biologist by training and an ordained minister, doesn’t see it like that. He believes that the exclusion of religious believers from certain scientific positions amounts to discrimination. For him, there is nothing dishonourable about believing in the supremacy of the divine and of science. “Both positions can be held with absolute integrity,” he says. So how does he reconcile the two realms? “Evolution is God’s work. All of science is the outworking of God’s activity.”
A man of integrity and honesty who got shafted for no good reason at all. Interestingly, it has also come to light that it was the NSF that sacked him.

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