Why creationism still belongs in schools

By Adam Hilsenrath, February 26, 2014

Like many other politics students, I often enjoy watching Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons every Wednesday at noon.

As this inconveniently conflicts with my politics lessons in school, I turn to the medium of the Daily Politics Show, which couples the ever-entertaining Commons debates with further argument and discussion between guests of opposing political persuasions.

On February 5, a particularly entertaining PMQs - including the usual back and forth between David Cameron and Ed Miliband - was followed by a segment on Professor Roberts, who put forward her argument that creationism has no place in science lessons in schools.

Now, while I am willing to meet the Professor up to the point where I agree that religious belief should not be confused with the discipline of science, her presentation, despite generally remaining along her line of argument, had a distasteful aura surrounding it that brought up a few questions for me.

Firstly, there was her point that avoiding the teaching of creationism is “being honest with our children” and that “presenting creationism as a scientifically valid concept is nonsense”.

While many people may not believe in creationism, to imply that religious people are liars for teaching creationism to their children would be, to some, harsh and unfair and, to others, an attack on their right to freedom of religion; take your pick.

A quick internet search (alas, I do not have the manpower for an appropriate survey) will find you plenty of examples of modern day religious scientists.

An article from the Guardian indicates a large number of scientists that suggest compatibility between religion and science, including Peter Higgs, Brian Cox, and many Nobel Prize winners (for one name amongst many others, Einstein).

Indeed, there is even an online book entitled “50 Nobel Laureates and Other Great Scientists Who Believe in God”.

The simple fact is that while Professor Roberts can disagree with the compatibility of science and God, it is overly dismissive to refer to it as nonsense and, in what I consider to be her harshest comment: “creationism has the potential to ruin a scientific education”.

There are several reasons why this last statement should be ignored. While I, as a humanities student, am not the best example, there are many people - observant or otherwise - who believe in God and creationism and who like to study the sciences.

Nobel Laureates aside (of which Professor Roberts is not one), I have many friends enjoying the sciences while retaining their own religions. My school and others have many examples of this; it is not as if religious schools have particularly below-average performances or participation in the sciences.

Last updated: 5:59pm, February 26 2014