Council of Europe votes against creationist teaching

Some common sense from our European partners!

It all started when a quick blurb in Nature Vol 449 (11 Oct 07) caught my eye:

“Creationism is a potential threat to human rights and any attempts to incorporate it into science must be resisted, says the Council of Europe.”

Hmmm! Something gone right in the world? Tell me more!

A brief internet snoop brought me to the Council of Europe website , which says:

Strasbourg, 04.10.2007 – Parliamentarians from the 47-nation Council of Europe have urged its member governments to “firmly oppose” the teaching of creationism – which denies the evolution of species through natural selection – as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution.

 

In a resolution passed by 48 votes to 25 during its plenary session in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) declared: “If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights.”

 

Presenting the report, Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE), a former Education Minister, said: “It is not a matter of opposing belief and science, but it is necessary to prevent belief from opposing science.”

 

“The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education,” the parliamentarians said in the resolution. “Creationists are bent on ensuring that their ideas are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.

 

The parliamentarians said there was “a real risk of a serious confusion” being introduced into children’s minds between conviction or belief and science. “The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.”

 

“Intelligent design, presented in a more subtle way, seeks to portray its approach as scientific, and therein lies the danger,” they added.”

For those not quite up to speed on creationist doctrines, on the Council of Europe website you can find this describing creationism and its many varied theories:

“The most intransigent of the supporters of Creationism claim that the world was created by God in six days and maintain that the transformist or evolutionist theories that conflict with the Bible, according to which God created each plant or animal species individually, can only be lies. They say that science is wrong because, in the strictest possible sense, the Bible says something else – which reminds us, incidentally, of the trial of a man called Galileo.

This strict Creationism is subdivided into two branches, one that categorically rejects the scientific discourse and another, also called “scientific creationism” or “science of creation”, that thinks that the science versus religion conflict is only an illusion.

According to “scientific Creationism”, the author of creation, as described in the Bible, is always present and intervenes in the various processes that bring about evolution. Within scientific creationism, the debate on the Earth’s age divides the so-called “young-earth creationists” (YECs) from the “old-earth creationists” (OECs). The first apply a literal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, while the second group admit that creation may have taken place over a long period and seek to reconcile the scientific data with the story of Genesis.”

 

It seems that the creationists themselves can’t agree on one theory! And the above doesn’t even touch on Muslim creationist theory!

I don’t have any specific problem with religion – people are free to believe whatever they want to believe. To quote John Lennon, whatever gets you through the night.

No, my specific problem isn’t with religion itself. I have a problem with the level of blind faith involved with most organised religions. Sorry Mum, but I do. At least with science you have the opportunity for empirical research and to test the facts for yourself. The fact that there are so many differing views of creationism can only make for bigger confusion, more ammunition for schoolyard bullies, and the ostracism of those kids who don’t believe as other kids do. Kids have a tough enough time as it is without having to defend something they’re too young to understand! And what sort of an argumentative defence is “But it says so in the bible! / koran! / teachings of buddha! / insert your own religious book here!”??

The other danger with accepting creationism and letting it be taught in schools is that it would involve legislating peoples beliefs, imposing rules on how people think! And that’s a minefield that no-one, not even the gung-ho Americans, want to try tiptoe-ing over. There are too many religions in the world to single out just one doctrine as being correct – and no-one wants to upset a majority of the globe by rejecting all religions but one. I mean, that’s how the whole Taliban nastiness got started! Right?! No-one’s silly enough to argue that there weren’t human rights abuses in Taliban ruled Afghanistan. We’ve all seen the videotapes.

Don’t we have enough religious wars in the world without throwing a big ol’ creationist log on the fire?

I’m very glad that Europe has voted that creationism isn’t a scientific discipline. As if it’s a science to distort facts, and even totally disregard them, to fit your argument.

Well done Europe! Blessings upon your sensible brains!

 

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About Miss J

Gen-x Australian female - out of my mind and my country. Cast adrift, as it were :) Enjoys: cat-cuddling, books, movies, music, theatre, travel, rpgs, cricket, F1 racing and all things to do with the sea..
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10 Responses to Council of Europe votes against creationist teaching

  1. mklasing says:

    Funny–the problem is that the only reason the THEORY of evolution is considered a science is because scientist have used the scientific method to hypothesize regarding the possibility that man evolved from apes. In reality, for anyone to buy that “THEORY” it takes a hefty spoonful of “blind faith” since there is no scientific proof that it is true. Maybe then, Europe shouldn’t teach the origin of man at all.

    I’d vote for that solution.

    -Murphy

  2. cloudburst says:

    OOH! (throws proverbial hat into the ring!)

    Then how do you explain the genetic similarities between species? (human ape and chimpanzee for example sharing over 98% of genes)

    How do you explain the very slight differences found within same species/different regions? (cormorants of Europe and USA being able to fly, cormorants of Galapagos can’t fly – Asiatic elephants v African elephants – hell, even mosquitos are different on different continents!)

    (ducks under desk for cover from retalitory strike)

  3. mklasing says:

    No retaliation-truly–I am an equal opportunity close-minded believer (ha). Seriously though, I agree there are lots of amazing specifics you can point to that are hard to explain away. Also, it is harder for me to imagine that all of this happened by magical coincidence or karma. Humans have numerous characteristics that animals do not–such as–we act by rational thought (unless we are irrational people-ha) not be instinct–our ability to conduct complex thinking and analysis puts the apes in a dunce cap.

    It isn’t blind faith to see a Creator at work here–much harder for me to grasp the blind assumption that all of this happened accidentally. I highly recommend the following from a scientist:

    The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins

    -Murphy (ducks under desk for cover from half-ape man that just delivered my mail)

  4. cloudburst says:

    See – and I like the thought that there is complete chance in me. That I am the unexpected creation of a random confluence of events, that I’m a fluke of nature, the like of which never to be seen again!

    (I know – that sounds like I should be wearing a bright top hat & tails & standing outside a circus tent!)

  5. mklasing says:

    Oh, I have no doubt that you are unique–the like of which never to be seen again–because God made you that way. :) and…because there is no such thing as reincarnation.

    You are not, however a fluke of nature–“Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7.

    In my case, it no longer takes God long to count the hairs as they are fewer and fewer.

    Have a great day and know that you were created and therefore loved since the Creator loves all of the Creation!

    -Murphy

  6. cloudburst says:

    Now, see, I don’t want to start anything – but this is exactly the problem. I’m an agnostic with Buddhist leanings – what makes you think I won’t take offence to you quoting me from your chosen religious literature? Will you take offence if I quote Buddha back at you?

    See – this is how problems get started, and exactly why religion has no place in school. There’s no need to start such prejudicial and exclusive behaviours so young, there is no need for kids to be ostracised because being a different religion means that they can’t participate in the Easter nativity.

    And, truthfully, I do hate being quoted at. I get it from my mother, who’s tried to get me to church more times than I can count. She even tried dragging. I’m still agnostic with Buddhist leanings, however many cards, books and even tea towels she sends me with prayers or quotes on them.

    Quoting at me isn’t going to change my mind, it just makes me not like you as much. Makes me not respect you as much if you can’t make your point without quoting religious literature.

    No offence intended, Murphy, but can you see my point of view – as I can see yours?

    I can respect your beliefs without having them forced upon me. Can you do the same?

  7. mklasing says:

    Hakuna Mattata–I absolutely respect your right to believe whatever you want. I would never be offended by quotes from Buddha or from an agnostic literary somebody unless the quote was something like “Die Christian!” Then I might be somewhat offended. As for forcing my beliefs–I don’t recall holding a gun to your head and making you restate the quote.

    If quoting Scripture makes you like me less–that is sad and unfortunate–it means you have no respect for my beliefs. Which is fine. Interestingly I quoted something encouraging, not damning, nevertheless you were oddly offended.

    No need to be afraid of quotes–they can’t hurt ya–all they can really do is inspire you to think about their meaning and relevance to you–if any. If you think there is no meaning and relevance then and liking me less makes you feel better–you are welcome to do so.

    I believe that no matter what you believe there is a God up there that loves you. I believe he does so even if you remain agnostic. I simply quoted one of many verses that backs up why I think that way. Consider my quote simply a source quote explaining the basis of my statement. Nothing more I assure you. I have to quote Scripture to make my point because it forms the basis for all of my religious beliefs.

    I agree that religion as you have described it has no place in school. Kids in public school should not be forced to participate in a purely religious activity. But where does it stop? Why are Christian kids not just as offended and ostracised by not being allowed to say “Merry Christmas” or pray in school as an agnostic kid would be if forced to do the same? My kids go to public school They are taught all about Hannakuh (spelling?), Hinduism and Buddism, but the have “Winter Break” and can no longer sing Christmas Carols in any school production. Seems like Christianity is being attacked by the nonbelievers–not the other way around.

    -Murphy

  8. marco silva says:

    When we understand that the Bible uses the term “day” to represent various periods of time, we see that the account of the six creative days in Genesis need not conflict with the scientific conclusion that the age of the earth is about four and a half billion years. According to the Bible, the earth existed for an unstated period before the creative days began. (See the box “The Creative Days—24 Hours Each?”) Even if science corrects itself and suggests a different age for our planet, the statements made in the Bible still hold true. Instead of contradicting the Bible, science in this and many other cases actually provides us with voluminous supplemental information about the physical world, both present and past.

    Some fundamentalists claim that creationism rather than evolution explains pre-human history. They assert that all physical creation was produced in just six days of 24 hours each sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. But in doing so, they promote an unscriptural teaching that has caused many to ridicule the Bible.

    Is a day in the Bible always literally 24 hours in length? Genesis 2:4 speaks of “the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” This one day encompasses all six of the creative days of Genesis chapter 1. According to Bible usage, a day is a measured period of time and can be a thousand years or many thousands of years. The Bible’s creative days allow for thousands of years of time each. Further, the earth was already in existence before the creative days began. (Genesis 1:1) On this point, therefore, the Bible account is compatible with true science.—2 Peter 3:8.

    Commenting on claims that the creative days were only 24 literal hours in length, molecular biologist Francis Collins remarks: “Creationism has done more harm to serious notions of belief than anything in modern history.”

  9. Rudy Upchurch says:

    Creationism is wrong to deny the evolutionary processes that brought life–and the universe–to where it is today. The progression of life through the eons is too well documented not to admit that mankind is evolving from simpler forms. Evolutionists, on the other hand, are just as wrong to deny that there is a creative and controlling power beyond our physical universe. Those who deny Big Bang have their heads in the sand. Perhaps the controversy could be resolved by teaching evolution as physical processes (without denying God) and Big Bang in the same course, and let students draw their own conclusions.

    Science has to acknowledge that there is an unseen non-physical world from which the universe came, perhaps now unmeasurable, that we must some day reckon with.

    For the record: I am a born-again Christian–a former atheist–who also believes in Science. I do not see a conflict between Science and God–only in the interpretations of that God.

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