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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS supports new campaign against creationism in schools

The NSS has given its support to a new campaign aimed at challenging the increasing influence of creationist ideas in schools.

The campaign — which goes under the name Creationism In Schools Isn’t Science (CrISIS) — was started by Laura Horner, a parent of pupils of St Peter’s state secondary school in Exeter after a creationist was introduced to the children as a scientist and allowed to “teach” for an hour and a half.

When challenged by Mrs Horner, the school insisted that it had done nothing wrong within the current guidelines, despite presenting creationism on equal terms with modern science.

The Department of Education guidance on the teaching of creationism is clearly not working and the CrISIS campaign is calling for a tightening up of the national guidelines by the Department for Education.

NSS Senior Campaigns Officer Tessa Kendall said: “State-funded schools must not sell children short by allowing beliefs to be promoted as ‘facts’ of equal value with scientific evidence. It should be made clear that science is not an ‘alternative’ and that there are not other ‘truths’ of equal value. Believers who dismiss evolution as ‘just a theory’ don’t know the difference between a theory and a hypothesis.”

CrISIS has written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove signed by both eminent scientists and theologians – and the NSS. They have also launched an online petition to Mr Gove, which can be signed here.

Tessa Kendall discussed this story on this week’s edition of the Pod Delusion.

Published Fri, 13 May 2011