Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Council of Europe finds creationism dangerous

The Council of Europe has its eyes on creationism. They propose a 19 point resolution with an associated 105 point explanation. The summary states,
The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.

Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.

The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.
Aside from being completely wrong about creationism, the document is filled with inaccurate comments and their proposals are fearsome.

Rebuting the proposal would take a bog post or several per point so I will pick out a few.
3. The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education. Creationists are bent on ensuring that their theories are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.
Not all creationists seek to mandate teaching of creationism in schools. 2 leading creationist organisations (Creation Ministries International and Answers in Genesis) in the English speaking world and the Discovery Institute specifically have stated they do not want laws forcing their views taught. The creationist organisations' primary target is Christians within the church. And while they are happy if individual schools wish to include creationism within their curriculum, the idea of making it mandatory and therefore having opponents teach it and likely distort it is not appealing.
11. Our modern world is based on a long history, of which the development of science and technology forms an important part. However, the scientific approach is still not well understood and this is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism, synonymous with attacks of utmost virulence on human rights. The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.
So how exactly is a rejection of science a serious threat to human rights? I don't advocate rejecting science but this comment is patently false. Many men have accepted science and used inventions available through scientific development to serious impinge on human rights. I don't blame science for that, but if you are wont to connect acceptance of science to human rights I think you will have stronger case for an inverse relationship that a direct one.

But the frightening comments are such as these,
17. Investigation of the creationists’ growing influence shows that the arguments between creationism and evolution go well beyond intellectual debate. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.
The idea that the council is benevolent and knows what the society needs. They have judged creationism and found it wanting and therefore must protect the vulnerable public. They cannot be exposed to "dangerous" ideas for that will damage society. Your thoughts must be controlled and you are limited in what we will let you think about, but it is all for your own good. Trust us as we want the best for you.

All while approving of abortion and euthanasia, overriding the rights of parents (education in Germany, corporal punishment in Sweden), and witnessing a rise in slavery coincidental with the demise of Christianity.

You can worship God, but only if your religion is approved by the benevolent powers:
13. All leading representatives of the main monotheistic religions have adopted a much more moderate attitude. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, as his predecessor Pope John-Paul II, today praises the role of the sciences in the evolution of humanity and recognises that the theory of evolution is “more than a hypothesis”.
Their proposal, in 5 parts, would find agreement by creationists for the first 3:
18.1. defend and promote scientific knowledge;

18.2. strengthen the teaching of the foundations of science, its history, its epistemology and its methods alongside the teaching of objective scientific knowledge;

18.3. make science more comprehensible, more attractive and closer to the realities of the contemporary world;

18.4. firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution by natural selection and in general resist presentation of creationist theories in any discipline other than religion;

18.5. promote the teaching
of evolution by natural selection as a fundamental scientific theory in the
school curriculum.
And the creationists would add that if 18.5 is enacted then they should do this fully, teaching evolution, warts and all—for there are many difficulties that could be raised. And if you don't want exposure to the problems but just school child acceptance of the shaky theory, then it is propaganda and not science you are proposing.

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  1. Hi Bethyada,

    You have a thoughtful blog going on here - even though I heartily disagree with almost everything!

    One point: The Council of Europe is not the European Union. They are two separate organisations. Your header suggests confusion on this point.

  2. Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes. - the Council of Europe

    The remark concerning intelligent design is false. ID's advocates include agnostics and others who do not believe in biblical creationism. The truth is that Darwinian evolutionary theory is currently under attack by many in the scientific community.

    The teaching of evolution etc. should no more be politicized than the propagation of manmade global warming/climate change. To the extent that it is science that is the issue, politics/policies are not involved. To the extent that the matter has become political, that matter is not science.

    In other words, if the Council of Europe wants to rule on the teaching of evolution, it is not engaged in science. It is doing politics. And it is not protected by the mantle of science.

  3. Their materialist paradigm is being shaken and shaken well. They are obviously getting worried that the facade is starting to crack.

    In the US they have even used the courts to block any open exchange of ideas on this issue. It must be evolution and evolution only.

    Does anyone suppose here would be a furor if some people doubted the laws of thermodynamics?

  4. Thanks cisbio, now corrected. I am not totally familiar with all the intricacies of European politics.

    And if you are not a Christian then I would not expect you to agree with a lot of what I write. Hopefully you will find some thoughts of what I think a fully consistent Christian worldview looks like--at least within the topics that I cover.



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