27 June 2006
Creationism at Leicester University?
Creationism - the belief that the biblical story of creation is scientific fact - is beginning to make inroads into the science curricula of UK universities, The Times Higher can reveal.
Leeds University plans to incorporate one or two compulsory lectures on creationism and intelligent design into its second-year course for zoology and genetics undergraduates next Christmas.
At Leicester University, academics already devote part of a lecture for third-year genetics undergraduates to creationism and intelligent design.
In both cases, lecturers intend to present the controversial theories as fallacies irreconcilable with scientific evidence. But that these alternatives to evolution have been proposed for formal discussion has sparked concern among the UK science community.
We at LSS have heard from a contact at Leicester University that this situatioon has come about because some students have answered exam questions with creationist answers and the university wants to make very clear that they are unacceptable and will be given no marks. This is presumably happening because of comparatively larger intakes of students from evangelical Christian and Muslim families, who have acquired creationist teachings from their preachers and imams, or at overseas madrassas (religious schools). Hence the need to counter the effect of this religious brainwashing.
On the wider question of faith schools generally, Lyn Hurst (LSS President) draws atention to the views expressed by Ken Loach at the end of this interview about his controversial new film:
His socialist hopes remain unabashed, even though he knows the socialist republic in an undivided Ireland won't arrive soon. "One thing that the British could do if they are serious about governing Northern Ireland is abolish sectarian schools," says Loach when we discuss Ireland's future. "But Blair keeps putting money into faith schools. How mad is that!" As he speaks, there is, behind those crypto-Trotskyist glasses, a glint betokening political ardour. You don't get that much in Britain any more. It is a good thing to see.
There is an excellent new site just set up to coordinate the campaign against academies:
There is a discussion forum included.