the Truth about Evolution
In March of 2001 a meeting held in the buildings of Emmanuel City
Technology College in Gateshead provoked an extraordinary reaction
in the media and even in parliament. The College was initially
involved simply because their building was the venue for a conference
on creation science. However, as a Christian College it emerged
that they were also prepared to teach their children that evolution
is a theory with much evidence against it and that there are alternative
theories of origins. The ensuing furore, apparently largely orchestrated
by prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, was evidence that the subject
touches a raw nerve. What particularly concerned Church Society
was that six Bishops decided to wade into the fray by signing
a letter along with various academics and addressed to the Prime
Minister. The letter gives all the appearance of attempting to
censor the teaching of science in schools so that scientific criticism
of aspects of evolutionary theory is suppressed.
Church Society responded by writing to the Bishops concerned and
by publicly refuting their views in a news
release. A second letter to the Bishop
of Oxford explains why this was such a serious issue.
fuller article was produced in the Society's magazine Cross†Way
and a meeting was arranged at the General Synod of the Church
of England when Professor Edgar Andrews spoke to the subject 'Teaching
the Truth about Evolution'.
The teaching of Gateshead College appears to fall well within
the expectations of the National Curriculum
in sharp contrast to the closed mindset displayed by Richard Dawkins
and the six Bishops.
Release : Bishops must not suppress debate : 16 March 2002
Article Teaching the Truth
to the Bishop of Oxford
Note : Church Society is committed to the
inerrancy of the Bible as God's Word written. Some members of
the Society therefore believe in a young earth and in six day
creation whilst others believe Scripture to be compatible with
a longer time-frame. The Society
took action on this issue because of the censorship of views
the Bishops' letter represented. There is clearly considerable
disquiet amongst scientists about the viability of naturalistic
evolution as an adequate model for explaining the world as it
is. To hide this from children is sheer folly. Moreover, all
Christians, being committed to the authority of the Bible as
God's Word written, accept that naturalistic evolution as it
is commonly taught is false.
letter written to the Bishop of Oxford.
The Rt Rev Richard Harries
Diocesan Church House
Dear Bishop Richard,
Thank you for your letter of 2 May. I realise that you will have
had a lot of correspondence on this matter and that your reply
was a standard letter. However, I fear that your reply did not
engage at all in the fundamental question we raised regarding
freedom of speech and the suppression of scientific opinion.
Your position appears to be
that you think the views of those who doubt the theory of evolution
should be suppressed. This was very evident in your initial
letter to the Secretary of State for Education. Your letter of
2nd May is interesting in that it shows why, in the light of your
own background, you think such views should be suppressed.
One of the speakers at the apparently controversial meeting in
Gateshead was a Professor of Combustion Science from Leeds University.
Apparently you consider that his views, as a Professor of Science,
on the validity of the theory of evolution should be kept hidden
from young people. I trust you are aware that there are many many
scientists from many disciplines, holding many different religious
convictions (and none), who assert that the standard views about
the big bang, the age of the universe and naturalistic evolution
are all contrary to observable data. They often find themselves
ostracised and some find it very difficult to get papers printed.
You yourself seem to be contriving in this attempt to suppress
This is not simply a matter of the Bible vs Science. It has to
do with the future of scientific endeavour. Writing in relation
to theories about the source of the Sun’s power Hilton Hinderliter,
Professor of Physics at Pennsylvania State University wrote ‘this
is just one more situation in which the belief in evolutionism
has proved a mental roadblock to true scientific progress!’
By now you should have received an invitation to a meeting at
the York General Synod to be addressed by another Professor of
Science, Edgar Andrews. I know that there are many meetings competing
for our time but hope that you will be able to join us, hear from
Professor Andrews and engage with him on this important matter.
from the National Curriculum
Sc1 Scientific enquiry
Ideas and evidence in science
1. Pupils should be taught:
a) how scientific ideas are presented, evaluated and disseminated
[for example, by publication, review by other scientists]
b) how scientific controversies
can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence
[for example, Darwin's theory of evolution]
c) ways in which scientific work may be affected by the contexts
in which it takes place [for example, social, historical, moral,
spiritual], and how these contexts may affect whether or not ideas
d) to consider the power and limitations of science in addressing
industrial, social and environmental questions, including the
kinds of questions science can and cannot answer, uncertainties
in scientific knowledge, and the ethical issues involved.