Tuesday, 23 September 2008

British Scientist Expelled After Controversy Over Creationism

A leading scientist was expelled from the Royal Society.

Joel Kontinen

Creationism is a dangerous word – at least if you say it aloud. Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Education at the Royal Society, the leading science organisation in Great Britain, was forced to step down after he was accused of instructing teachers to discuss creation in science classes.

Although the British press invented colorful headings of the dispute, professor Reiss, who has a PhD in biology and is also an ordained priest of the Church of England, did not encourage teachers to treat creationism as a valid alternative to Darwinian evolution. He merely said that creationism is a worldview that should not be disparaged.

However, professor Reis did not say that creationism was wrong, and this caused Darwinists to call for his resignation.

For instance, Richard Dawkins, who makes no bones about being an atheist, questioned the right of a Christian to be the director of education of a leading science organisation.

But Index on Censorship, an organisation committed to freedom of speech, lamented the lack of academic freedom in Great Britain.

It seems that the basic thesis of Ben Stein’s recent documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is very obvious in Europe. Critics of Darwinian evolution are discriminated against. Scientists do not even have to criticise evolution. Just a mention of the word creationism is enough to bring them into trouble. The same is true of another forbidden word, design, especially if it is preceded by the term intelligent.

In October 2007 the Council of Europe claimed that creationism was a potential threat to human rights. Now it seems that panic has also spread to the British isles. At least the leading science publications Nature and New Scientist have sternly warned their readers about the dangers of dissenting from orthodox Darwinism.

Steve Fuller, a professor of sociology at the University of Warwick in the U.K. thinks that the fear of creationism is at least partly due to the popularity of intelligent design in Britain.

For instance, Truth in Science, an organisation run by highly placed scientists, has campaigned for a more honest approach to the teaching of evolution in schools.

But with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species approaching in 2009, his supporters are nervous and this seems to have resulted in panic reactions.


Fuller, Steve. 2008. Science shouldn’t shut down discussion. Index on Censorship. http://www.indexoncensorship.org/?p=622

Intelligent Design The Future. 2008. Expelled in England: Steve Fuller Shares View on Education Director’s Resignation. (19 September.) http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2008-09-19T15_39_27-07_00

Smith, Lewis ja Frean, Alexandra. 2008. Leading scientist urges teaching of creationism in schools. Times Online. (12.9.)

Times Online. 2008. Unintelligent Design. (editorial, 12 September). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/leading_article/article4735469.ece