Spiritual wanderlust highlights gaps in evolution, claims author

| 40 Comments

Though much of the attention to and reports of intelligent design/creationist shenanigans come from the United States, we’re certainly not the only ones inundated with deniers of evolution and other sciences. A self-described UK evolution “sceptic” is journalist Melanie Phillips, who writes for The Daily Mail. She’s annoyed many scientists in the country due to her views not only on evolution, but also on vaccination (such as this article from earlier this year), drawing the ire of many who point out that she doesn’t understand the underlying science.

She’s proven her critics correct again, with a recent article touching on everything from the Da Vinci Code, to religion/lack thereof, and to, of course, evolution.

(Continue reading at Aetiology)

40 Comments

I honestly don’t think that you need to worry much about either Melanie Philips or about the UK itself. Even a quick reading of her latest essay should convince you that there is nothing in the least original about it. It’s just a Lego-like composition stitched together out of a set of hoary old Creationist chestnuts.

And don’t get the idea that the UK is like the US, even though we share a language. People in the UK are perfectly well able to tweak the noses of scientists, for fun, while not taking the tweaking in the least seriously. In the UK, people take challenging science and pointing out the uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s as entertainment, without for a moment wanting their children to be taught religion as science. You aren’t going to be hearing about the UK teaching ID any time soon.

“You aren’t going to be hearing about the UK teaching ID any time soon”

Really?

http://education.guardian.co.uk/fai[…]5717,00.html

http://education.guardian.co.uk/fai[…]1661,00.html

http://education.guardian.co.uk/fai[…]9066,00.html

http://education.guardian.co.uk/gcs[…]8236,00.html

http://education.guardian.co.uk/hig[…]4171,00.html

this isn’t to say that it’s in the national curriculum or anything, but it would be foolish to pretend that creationism is a spent force in the UK. Note also that in a country without separation of church and state, creationism drops the cloaking device entirely.

I’ve seen several TV documentaries about the MMR vaccine and the video evidence seems compelling. Perfectly normal children until they receive the MMR jab, after which they go down hill rapidly and end up severely mentally handicapped. Yet, studies by scientists don’t reveal anything that could cause this condition by the vaccine. As a parent of three young children myself I’m sure it can be quite a worrying decision for many (all three of my kids have had the jab with no ill effects). Should I vaccinate and risk the side effects (if there are any) or leave it and risk death by the disease ? I’m old enough to remember the horrors of the thalidomide scandal in the sixties. I wonder how many times pregnant mothers were told that it was safe to take and that there would be no problems ? I can see why many lay people are sympathetic to her views.

As regards ID and creationism in the UK Jon, I assume you know about the Peter Vardy schools in the North East of England ? Recent surveys show that belief in young earth creationism is on the rise here. Not only is Ken Ham and a lot of the AIG top team here in the UK this week, we also have John Mckay as well. I think it’s only a matter of time before we catch up with the US!

Unlike the kind of reporters who actually have to go out and dig up a story to write about, columnists are a bit like blog commenters–waving their thoughts and opinions about in the hope that they’ll say something entertaining and significant often enough to continue to draw readers.

They don’t have to be right and, most of the time, they’re not even trying to be “right.”

It’s still sad when an apparently articulate and thoughtful person, who reads and writes for a living, can descend so far below the M level in the intellectual elevator.

(“M,” of course, being in the deep sub-basement, well below Lobby, Parking, Janitorial, and–when fully spelled out–usually followed by “oron.”)

You aren’t going to be hearing about the UK teaching ID any time soon.

I’ve already heard about it —- the Vardy Foundation, right?

I hear that AiG is up to its eyebrows in it.

Thanks for bringing this up Tara.

We do have a problem in the UK - although nothing like on your scale. Still, all of our kids deserve a decent education ( I remember well the remark Ken Miller made about E.O. Wilson) - and the fact that we don’t have your constitutional protection against such bunkum gives us a problem.

It is revealing that in the UK the creationists don’t mess around with ID nonsense, they go straight for good old YEC. ID is so very obviously a construct to get around your constitution you have to be blind not to see it ( or a desperate British Journalist who has to produce 2000 words of nonsense by Friday for a living).

Denying evolutionary biology may seem abstract and rather harmless. Scaring people away from having vaccinations that will save them from harm isn’t.

Tara is more knowledgeable than myself about the results of media-driven health scares on public health - but people like Melanie Phillips are a menace. She gets paid well for her 2000 words of drivel - and people are scared away from their Doctor.

Honestly Peter Henderson - the evidence is not compelling - it consists of a few anecdotes that were swept away ages ago. Read Ben Goldacre (scientist, journalist -and most of all family doctor or what we call a GP or General Practitioner): The journalist that just doesn’t understand science

You can dismiss Melanie Phillips as a crank - but she has direct access to the main newspaper bought by ‘Middle England’ (and national newspapers are hugely influential in this country). This is a bunch our politicians are particularly keen to please - is it any wonder that some of us are worried?

For many, the claim that evolution enabled life to cross the species barrier so that humans are merely the last link in the evolutionary chain remains a step too far – not least because, by the standards science itself sets, it fails the test of evidence. It is merely a theory.

I know I should ignore her, but after reading an article overflowing with so many exasperatingly stupid evolutionary strawman arguments I still get the urge to fly to the UK and beat Melanie around the head with some basic science text books.

Still, it’s a bit reassuring to know that all the fruitcakes aren’t on this side of the Atlantic.

i hope The Daily Mail doesn’t pay her for her writing.

f

I’ve seen several TV documentaries about the MMR vaccine and the video evidence seems compelling. Perfectly normal children until they receive the MMR jab, after which they go down hill rapidly and end up severely mentally handicapped. Yet, studies by scientists don’t reveal anything that could cause this condition by the vaccine. As a parent of three young children myself I’m sure it can be quite a worrying decision for many (all three of my kids have had the jab with no ill effects). Should I vaccinate and risk the side effects (if there are any) or leave it and risk death by the disease ? I’m old enough to remember the horrors of the thalidomide scandal in the sixties. I wonder how many times pregnant mothers were told that it was safe to take and that there would be no problems ? I can see why many lay people are sympathetic to her views.

I work in vaccine research, and have taught this topic to medical students. I can’t speak for the whole “medical-pharmaceutical complex”, but I would assure Ms. Phillips, if I had any reason to believe she would listen, that no responsible “vaccinologist” would contend that there is zero risk to any vaccine; it’s always a question of balancing the risks of the disease against the risks of the vaccine.

Personally, I’m not familiar with any reliable research causing me to think the MMR vaccine is a risk even in the same ballpark as the diseases it prevents, but I’m open to references. Unfortunately, Ms. Phillips didn’t see fit to provide any. Perhaps if I Google the MMR skeptics she mentions I can track it down. One statistic I’m sure Ms. Phillips would be intensely interested in is that mumps (you know, one of the M’s in MMR) used to be the leading cause of viral encephalitis before the vaccine. Now, of course, mumps encephalitis is unheard of.

It may be of passing interest to some that I have an autistic son, and have spent a fair amount of time and effort researching the etiology of this. It’s my (I daresay) informed opinion that Ms. Phillips and her MMR skeptics are full of #### on this issue.

Wow, science in England is really going downhill. Pretty soon the Prime Minister might begin endorsing homoepathy or something equally silly.

Re “For many, the claim that evolution enabled life to cross the species barrier so that humans are merely the last link in the evolutionary chain remains a step too far”

Maybe somebody should point out that the “species barrier” is between distinct species that are already separate from each other. In a speciation event, the population that produces a new species isn’t crossing a barrier, it’s just becoming different from its nearest relatives.

Henry

Maybe somebody should point out that the “species barrier” is between distinct species that are already separate from each other. In a speciation event, the population that produces a new species isn’t crossing a barrier, it’s just becoming different from its nearest relatives.

Damn good point Henry J!

What are these “species barriers” Melanie is talking about? It is either sloppy language or displays her scientific ignorance. I think it is widely acknowledged that a “species” is a useful but still arbitrary human-imposed category. No one has come up with a definition of what a “species” is that doesn’t have plenty of exceptions. Perhaps she means “kind” when she says “species”…, let’s not go there.

Somebody should email her this thread.

Abouth the MMR vaccine and the links to Autism, this has been looked at in japan where some of the statistics that lead to these conclusions were based.

What was not taken into account was that the definition of Autism has changed over the past 20 or so years to included Asperger’s Syndrome which is a milder or more functional form of Autism. I don’t know where to find them now, but i have seen the graph of the increases in instances of Autism in japan and the UK prior to and after the introduction of the MMR jab. The increase in Autism correlates exactly with the introduction of Asperger’s and other forms of Autism to the broad definition of Autism. This evidence was used to debunk the link between MMR and Autism. I will try find a source i can link to for this.

This shows that there is no increase in instances of Autism, just the diagnosis had changed from a narrow perception of Autism to a much wider one.

Wow, science in England is really going downhill. Pretty soon the Prime Minister might begin endorsing homoepathy or something equally silly.

Well his wife (an otherwise very bright human rights lawyer) caused some embarrassment a few years ago because of the role of a new age ‘lifestyle consultant’ in the family:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheriegate

Her relationship with Peter Foster’s then-partner, the so-called “style guru” and former model Carole Caplin has given rise to headlines in some newspapers. Caplin is credited with introducing Booth to various New Age symbols and beliefs, including “magic pendants” known as “BioElectric Shields”[6]. The most controversial of Booth’s New Age practices occurred when on holiday in Mexico she and Tony Blair, wearing only bathing costumes, took part in a rebirthing procedure that involved smearing mud and fruit over each others’ bodies while sitting in a steam bath.[7]

Can’t imagine Bush getting up to this kind of thing.

- but then maybe he’s scared of her:

Cherie Booth is a relative of the American actor John Wilkes Booth who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.[11][12]

… and Blair isn’t ‘sound’ on creationism:

Blair on Creationism and ‘Diversity’ in schools

“The prime minister’s view is that this school is performing within the national curriculum and it is important that we recognise diversity,” said the spokesman.

Downing Street said that Blair did not have a view on creationism - which asserts that a world where man lived side-by-side with dinosaurs was created by God in seven days.

But Blair’s answer to a Commons question on the teaching of creationism in state schools is “pathetic”, according to the Lib Dem MP who raised the issue.

On Wednesday, Dr Jenny Tonge called on the prime minister to say whether he was “happy to allow the teaching of creationism alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in state schools”.

Dr Tonge says she was attempting find out what the prime minister’s “religious and philosophical thinking” was on education.

Her question followed media reports about the teaching of “creation theory as literally depicted in Genesis” alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution at Emmanuel College.

“It was shock and horror that creationism should be taught and given the same credence as Darwin’s theory,” she said. “I had no idea we were getting creationism taught in this country alongside evolution. I’ve heard about happening in the States I didn’t think it had reached our shores yet.”

The MP is concerned that a faith-based idea is being given the same weight in a state funded school as a theory based on hard evidence.

“They certainly should not be putting things like creationism, with no scientific basis on a par with a theory backed by scientific evidence,” she said.

Tonge believes that the North East college should “have the threat of their funding withdrawn” unless assurances can be given that teaching is in line with the national curriculum.

She is concerned that Ofsted is not dealing with problems at a time when the government is planning to expand the number of faith schools.

“If Ofsted has missed this in a place like Emmanuel College, how are they possibly going to assure us that our money is not being used for this kind of thing?” she asks.

“Ofsted are obviously not able to pick it up. If there are schools all over the country teaching a diversity of different subjects in different ways how are Ofsted know they are teaching the national curriculum?”

She says Blair is “clappy happy” on education and dismissed his claim that all is well because the school has good exams record.

Blair claimed that reports about the school’s teaching practices were “somewhat exaggerated”.

“It would be very unfortunate if concerns about that issue were seen to remove the very strong incentive to ensure that we get as diverse a school system as we properly can. In the end, a more diverse school system will deliver better results for our children,” he said.

“If she looks at the school’s results, I think she will find that they are very good.”

But Tonge insists that the government’s emphasis on results an “outrageous response”.

“Totalitarian regimes often had good results in their schools and were indoctrinating children,” she observed.

A possible MMR link to autism was posited by Dr Andrew Wakefield in a paper that appeared in The Lancet medical journal. See link below for the actual paper:

http://www.healthprotection.org.uk/[…]efield98.pdf

Unfortunately, as is often the case with the Daily Mail, they got wind of this single paper and out came countless scare stories about thousands of innocent infants being mentally disabled because of this vaccination. Soon everyone was in on it. Cue TV interviews of tearful mothers clutching their autistic children claiming “MMR did this to my child” with lawyers in close attendance. Wakefield did not help matters by believing his own hype and making grand claims for the vaccine to be withdrawn. The government was caught off-guard with no adequate stocks of the single-jab vaccines that suddenly were in huge demand. The result was the vaccination levels of children against measles dropped to as low as 60% in some areas, putting the lives of thousands of children in danger.

Doubt has since been cast on the veracity of the original paper. It appears Dr Wakefied had a conflict of interest, as he accepted money off lawyers keen to pursue litigation against the makers of the MMR vaccine when his paper was published. The Lancet journal has since stated that, had it known of this, it would not have published the paper in question. Also, 10 of the original 13 authors of this paper have now withdrawn their support for it. In addition, further studies such as the aforementioned Japan one (where MMR has not been available for many years) cast further doubt by showing that diagnosis rates for autism have continued to increase in modern times regardless of this vaccine’s influence.

Whilst this is nothing to do with evolution or ID, it does highlight the significant dangers that scientists face when dealing with a media who want concrete answers yesterday, otherwise the jounalists will go with whatever they can embellish!

Andrew

One note regarding vaccination and autism–a great resource if you want to do some reading is Respectful Insolence (old site here); search on “vaccines,” “autism,” or “thimerosal.” Indeed, all vaccines have potential side effects, but there’s no good evidence they cause autism. For the record, I have 2 kids of my own and they’re fully vaccinated.

Dean: I’m not saying I support Mz. Philips views on science etc. but I have seen a number of documentaries (I think the BBC’s Horizon did one a while back) on the topic and, most of the parents affected appear to be convinced that the MMR vaccine has something to do with their children’s condition, despite the assurances from leading health experts.

Wasn’t there a rumour a while back that even Tony Blair had either refused to vaccinate young Leo or opted for separate jabs ? I can’t remember which was the case, but he did create some controversy at the time by refusing to come clean as to what exactly he had decided. If our number one citizen doubts the scientists reassurances then what hope is there for the rest of us ?

As you say Dean, the situation regarding creationism is not as bad as the US (except perhaps here in NI, at least among the evangelical protestant churches) but it is growing. I would say that much of this is due to AIG UK. Have a look at their events programme and it seems that the evangelical wing of the church in the UK is latching on to this crazy doctrine. The sad thing, in my opinion, is that no-one from that branch of the church, either here or in the US, seems to have the courage to speak out and say that YECism is wrong !

What are these “species barriers” Melanie is talking about? It is either sloppy language or displays her scientific ignorance.

Neither, really. God created all kinds in one go, as they are now. They are distinct, no new kinds have been created since, no different kinds are even possible except as God Wills. The “species barrier” is what prevents one current kind from morphing into another current kind. And this is one of only two conceptually possible process “evolution” can take - either minor variations within a kind (happens all the time), or the transition from one existing kind to another (never happens). The first is microevolution, no problem. The second is macroevolution, never observed. The appearance of a new kind never before seen can happen ONLY by Divine Miracle. And if God did this repeatedly, He would have told us in the Bible. But of course He does not do this, because He got it right the first time.

Flint - yeah right. Micro-evolution and macro-evolution are exactly the same - evolution. There are plenty, literally millions, of species that existed long ago and no longer exist now. Whatever you think God has told you, he created us through the very beautiful mechanism of natural selection, if, that is, he has ever existed. I wonder if the reason you post things like this on this website is purely Christian Apologetics and to ensure your place in Heaven? Waste of time, loser. On the Melanie Philips article - such opinions are very rare among educated Brits, most of whom are very proud of Darwin and his discovery (his picture is on the £10 note). Apparently creationist beliefs are on the increase here but they will never be intellectually accepted as they are in the US because most people here just don’t take religion seriously. And of course, to reject evolution you have to be religious. In fact, most people’s reaction to creationism is just to look shocked and then to remark “Stupid Americans”. On the MMR jabs, Tony Blair refused to say whether he’d had his young son vaccinated, which seems to be a most unsatisfactory response. Luckily, MMR vaccines are now being taken up again and the kind of ill-informed hysteria Melanie Philips would conjure up are now seldom heard. If only the same were true of her…

Anthony, Flint’s kidding. He just likes to channel the creationist PoV now and again.

If the “sons of God” interbred with humans in Genesis, does that mean we’re the same biological species as angels?

Anthony, Flint’s kidding.

And I believe he’s neither American nor stupid.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Oh, sorry. Does that mean that they’re all kidding? That God, eh. Such a laugh.

Well, Dembski doesn’t kid. He just performs street theatre. And Berlinski intentionally “diminishes in sophistication.”

But everyone else at the DI is actually kidding, yeah. They’re going to have a big “Gotcha, we’re all Marxist atheists!” party next Darwin Day.

Dean: I’m not saying I support Mz. Philips views on science etc. but I have seen a number of documentaries (I think the BBC’s Horizon did one a while back) on the topic and, most of the parents affected appear to be convinced that the MMR vaccine has something to do with their children’s condition, despite the assurances from leading health experts.

Wasn’t there a rumour a while back that even Tony Blair had either refused to vaccinate young Leo or opted for separate jabs ? I can’t remember which was the case, but he did create some controversy at the time by refusing to come clean as to what exactly he had decided. If our number one citizen doubts the scientists reassurances then what hope is there for the rest of us ?

The problem stems from the fact that autistic symptoms often show themselve at the smae age children are vaccinated - about the age of four I think. If all children are vaccinated then probability will tell you that its a raging certainty that some children will be diagnosed as autistic within weeks or days of having a jab ( or going to the dentist, or having their eyes tested for that matter).

From the point of view of a concerned parent the co-incidence may seem too great - but as we say ‘ an anecdote is not data’. Combined with lawyers looking for somone to sue, a dodgy doctor who doesn’t perform proper scientific studies - and journalists like Phillips who like to make up their copy with health scare stories - and you have the makings of a publiic health disaster. Doctors in private practice offering single jabs profit hugely from the confusion. As a result vaccine take-up in metopolitan London has declined to the point that herd immunity is compromised - the upswing in mumps and measles has caused some parents to think again and vaccine uptake is improving. As someone said we had our first death from measles in this country for ages - although this was of a boy that Phillips and the Mail are hardly likely to shed tears over - he was a traveller.

Blair was quite fairly sticking to his guns about whether Leo was vaccinated - he had previously made a determined staement that he wasn’t prepared to discuss his children with the press. I think in the end it transpired he may have had the triple jab after all?

Ben Goldacre is a good authority on the whole MMR debacle - unfortunatel his forum is getting spammed to death at the moment but his articles are worth a read:

www.badscience.net

For Uk news and comment on creationism in the UK it’s time to plug:

www.justscience.org.uk

and

www.creationism.co.uk (actually ‘Blackshadow’ - an anti-creationist website)

I can almost see the well-worn thesaurus that sits in the center of Melanie Phillips’ desk. I bet she has minimums: at least one word will be replaced with another from the thesaurus in each paragraph, more if possible.

Sigh. What I was trying to show, was that creationist “strawmen” are in fact organically coherent consequences of a consistent view of biology. Start with certain axioms, and the rest follows very naturally.

So my point was that this was neither sloppy language nor scientific ignorance. This was the logically necessary position following ordinary rules of inference from zany axioms.

I wasn’t trying to kid. I was trying to say that the Creationist Big Picture isn’t going to be much concerned with criticisms of little bits of it, when the Big Picture all hangs together so neatly.

Uh, despite living in Alabama, I’m still American,

There have been a series of pretty silly comments here about teaching in the UK. I’ve lived in both the UK and the US, and there simply is nothing like the US creationist movement in the UK.

Do some private schools teach creationism? Sure. So do some private schools have a religious purpose. Unless you advocate outright censorship, that’s going to happen. What exactly do you want to see happen? Banning creationism by law? Send an idiot like Vardy to jail?

The point is you aren’t going to see anything like the trend towards state school board sponsorship of creationism or hostility toward evolution. And I emphasise that I mean not just that you don’t see it today, but you aren’t going to see it in the future because that sort of partisan interference in science education simply isn’t in the British tradition.

As for “no separation between church and state”, for as long as I’ve been hearing this trotted out in the US, the siller it sounds to me. There is massively more religious interference in politics in the US any day of the week than there has been in Britain since about the time of James II.

Anthony:Re. people taking religion seriously in the UK: People in this part of the UK (NI) take religion very seriously. As I’ve said a few times, there are a lot of folk here who would love to see Creation science taught in schools as real science. Many in these parts view evolution as evil.

But it’s not just here. Wasn’t there a news story a week or so ago about a ferry company in the Western Isles having problems because they were running a service on a Sunday ?

I think the phrase that’s used over where to describe beliefs like YECism etc.is “Only in America”. I remember only too well the “Pet Rock” phenomenon in the 1980’s. Mind you, you’ve got to hand it to the guy who came up with the idea-I think he sold a million or so boulders attached to a piece of string at a dollar a time !

But it’s not only in America:

http://www.justsixdays.co.uk

Check out the forums section on his site and you’ll see some pretty strict views (even compared to NI !) and some anti- science articles as well (which he’s written for AIG)

Apparently Mr. Taylor was on the BBC’s Heaven and Earth show the Sunday before last. He was also interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds a while back and even managed to debate an unsuspecting Richard Dawkins for a few minutes!

“Lamuella” posted five links to Guardian stories earlier. I recommend that everyone read them, since they don’t make the point she seems to think they do. One of the stories is plain wrong. Students are not going to be required to “study creationism”. They will be required to know what the historical background to the introduction to Evolution was. And why not? It’s part of British history, after all.

The other links are to stories about so-called faith-based schools. Well, not quite. Actually they are about National Union of Teachers (NUT) hostility to faith-based schools. The underlying story is about the NUT’s kvetching about schools which are mostly non-union. And what does the NUT do? It floats a scare story about our children being indoctrinated with Creationism. This is smart union tactics, but no more than that. Note that a Catholic spokesman was quick to point out that Catholic schools don’t even teach creationism. (Muslim schools do, I think, but they still have to pass the same science A-level exams as everyone else).

And the fifth link isn’t about what is being taught, but about - apparently - mostly Muslim students making claims on behalf of creationism, and distributing leaflets. What that has to do with schools “teaching creationism” I can’t guess.

Oh, and for amusement value, notice that the Guardian actually had to explain to its readers what Creationism is. Do American newspapers need to do that?

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Re “notice that the Guardian actually had to explain to its readers what Creationism is. Do American newspapers need to do that?”

Well, look how often somebody or other will ask for a definition of the term on this blog. ;)

Henry

Do some private schools teach creationism?

- don’t care myself: ‘Jon Livesey’.……

- Vardy has public funds to run a state school for kids who don’t elect to go there for religious reasons.

… the schools in question are not ‘private schools’ - your arguement fails.

re: the recent BBC poll where a surprisingly large number of people (15%) ‘agreed’ with ‘Inteliigent design’.

If you ask an underpaid student to stop hurried shoppers whether ‘Intelligent Design’ is a good idea - I guess a lot of people will say ‘yes’ to just to get them off their back ( how many people are going to say “No! stupid design is better!”).

ID has no hold in the UK outside of sad gits like myself who have been following the PT debates.

I doubt that 1 in 100 people here have a clue that intelligent design has a particular meaning.……

“Lamuella” posted five links to Guardian stories earlier. I recommend that everyone read them, since they don’t make the point she seems to think they do.

Actually, it’s “he”

What point did I “seem to think” I was making? You said “You aren’t going to be hearing about the UK teaching ID any time soon”. What I was saying was that you already are hearing about places in the UK teaching - or being accused of teaching - creationism. Emmanuel College in Gateshead teaches creationism “alongside” evolutionary theory and has done so since 1990. If I’d really wanted to, I could have provided fifty links on Vardy, and Ofsted’s capitulation to Vardy, but is was simpler just to provide links to some of the most recent articles about creationism being taught in schools.

the statements “You aren’t going to be hearing about the UK teaching ID any time soon” and “Do some private schools teach creationism? Sure.” are at odds with each other. If you meant that you won’t see STATE schools in the UK teaching ID, you should have said so.

As for “no separation between church and state”, for as long as I’ve been hearing this trotted out in the US, the siller it sounds to me.

I wasn’t “trotting out” the comment about no separation between church and state. I was pointing out an aspect of creationist strategy. In a country where the constitution is interpreted as disallowing government sponsorship of religion, anti-evolutionists push “intelligent design”. In a country where the head of state is head of a church, anti-evolutionists push creationism.

And talking of things that are “silly”, how “silly” is it for you to assume what country I’m from, just as you assumed my gender? I’m an Englishman, albeit one currently not living in England.

… and its not just the NUT that opposes more faith schools - 64% of the British public do as well:

http://education.guardian.co.uk/fai[…]4593,00.html

As an amusing aside, when the Dover trial kicked off the BBC Breakfast News briefly covered it (it was a very slow news day). They repeatedly referred to ID as “creationism” which made me chuckle. Furthermore, there was a hilarious interview with an ID supporting vicar, in full dog collar robes. He managed to say with a straight face that ID, “Wasn’t about religion”. By this point I was nearly paralytic with laughter.

I have no doubt that a suitably loaded survey would reveal large amounts of skepticism about evolution and support for ID in the UK. Brits are skeptical of all science, particularly after the BSE debacle. At the same time though, most Brits couldn’t give a toss about religion either, outside of an Easter/Christmas setting. The result is almost total ignorance of the origins debate that goes on in more “modern” countries like the USA. Brits simply don’t get polarised by religious matters like that.

Andrew

Lenny I feel your pain.

I gave my pet rock the MMR.

The MMR made it autistic as it has not talked to me since.

… coicidence Corbs. Anyone knows that rocks run out of anything useful to say after 6000 years ;)

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