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!