Scotland’s Kitzmiller; we need your help

You may well know of the petition seeking to keep evolution denial from being taught as valid viewpoint in Scottish schools. You may not know of the full horror of the Centre for Intelligent Design’s submission to the Petitions Committee, which raises the stakes by claiming that macroevolution (i.e. common descent) is “unobserved and speculative”, and that students should therefore be made aware of the challenge that Intelligent Design poses to what it calls “Neo-Darwinism”.

C4ID, a close affiliate of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, and clearly committed to its notorious Wedge Strategy, is asking for a licence to present Intelligent Design to schoolchildren as legitimate science. I will be accompanying Spencer Fildes to the Petitions Committee hearing on November 11, charged with the task of defending science from this attack, and convincing the Committee that Intelligent Design is non-science, in what has suddenly turned into Scotland’s version of Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District.

We need your help.

If you live outside Scotland, please email the Committee at petitions@scottish.parliament.uk stating your views, and why the issue matters to you. If in Scotland, then in addition to him, please write to your constituency and regional MSPs. For how to contact them (very easy), and my suggestions about how to go about this, see the Letter Writing Suggestions below.

These letters make a difference. Those who deny evolution are constituency. We need to show our lawmakers that we are constituency too. And every letter counts; I heard a senior politician explain that 20 letters to a Member are a lot.

NOW is the time to act, so that these emails are in the MSP’s in-trays in the few days remaining before they consider our petition on Tuesday.

It would be useful for me to have a copy (send to psbraterman@yahoo.com), but not essential. It would be very helpful to have copies of any reply you get.

Thanks. We need all the help we can get.

LETTER WRITING SUGGESTIONS

ALL SUPPORTERS: email petitions@scottish.parliament.uk

Essential: specify that you are writing in support of Petition PE01530. The full text of the petition is at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/gettinginvolved/petitions/petitionPDF/PE01530.pdf

SUPPORTERS INSIDE SCOTLAND: in addition, go to https://www.writetothem.com/

This will give you the names of your constituency and regional MSPs. Click on a name and a letter-writing form will open. (Hint: use cut-and-paste, Control-V and control-C, to recopy the same message to each MSP). Do not write to your Westminster MP; education is devolved.

ALL SUPPORTERS: Compose your message (Hint: use cut-and-paste, Control-V and control-C, to re-copy the same message to each MSP)

Notice that the expressions “evolution denial” and “separate creationism” are probably better than the more respectable-sounding “creationism”.

Keep it short. The most important part from the politician’s point of view is the simple fact that you have bothered to write.

Some points you may want to include:

Mention if you are a teacher, parent, school pupil, scientist, or any other relevant fact. Attach any degree etc letters to your name.

Very useful: any examples you personally know of, of evolution denial or young Earth doctrines presented as possibly true in publicly funded schools

Do NOT attack religion. This is not about religion. It is about not lying to children.

The importance of science to Scotland’s future.

The fact that evolution, common ancestry, and an ancient Earth are fundamental well-established principles of the life sciences and Earth sciences.

DinoPicAaKnown examples of anti-scientific activity, such as the handing out of anti-science books in school assembly at Kirktonholme; the Challenger bus, run by an organisation that supports the extreme Young Earth separate creationist Answers in Genesis; schools staging “debates” giving evolution denial equal consideration with genuine science; and well-funded evolution denial groups such as Creation Ministries International, Truth in Science, and Centre for Intelligent Design active or seeking to become active in our schools (more details here).

Such activities directly undermine the teaching of science and often include directly accusing mainstream scientists of dishonesty.

The petition has already gathered international attention, including support from the (US) National Center for Science Education (see here)

For additional material, if needed(!), see the petition itself,  the most recent Scottish Secular Society Press release, and links therein.

Thanks again for your help.

Links to science-denying sites are nofollow

About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on November 5, 2014, in Creationism, Education, Evolution in general, Politics, Scotland and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

    • Thanks. May I draw your attention to a similar petition in Brazil? http://www.peticaopublica.com.br/psign.aspx?pi=ensinoevolucao And if you could translate it, and also explain which buttons to click to sign and confirm, I will publicise it here.

      Evolution denial has gone international. SO must the resistance to it.

      Like

      • The problem is the evangelicals have hit Brazil in a big way, pushing their nonsense.

        I just signed it, and it appears it just requires name and email. Unclick the box down the bottom, or you’ll get emails about other campaigns.

        My Port is terrible, but the opening paragraphs read, via Google Translate:

        The purpose of this PETITION ONLINE PUBLIC is not to question or to fight a belief – the right to freedom of belief is inviolable constitutional . The petition aims to warn against attempts to establish certain beliefs and worldviews as science and teach them in public , state schools and universities . We seek to highlight the need for a separation between faith and science , not as antagonists , but based on the premise that science and faith are occupying their spaces coexist in modern society .

        Another objective is to request a public position of some organs directly related to this dispute , as the Ministry of Education ( MEC ) , National Education Council ( CNE ) , Brazilian Academy of Sciences ( ABC ) , the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science ( SBPC ) , Regional Council of Biology ( CRBio ) , Brazilian Chemical Society ( SBQ ) , among many other societies and councils related to science.

        Creationism is gaining strength as a movement based on the denial of Evolutionary Theory by Natural Selection by Charles Robert Darwin proposed in 1859 , and originally published in the book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection . It has long been an almost exclusively American phenomenon , being established in sharp contrast to scientific theories such as biological evolution , since 1920. The main target of creationism since its organization as a movement is education . Creationists are bent on ensuring that their ideas are included in the science programs of schools and universities . Over the years since its inception , several trials were waged in an attempt to implement creationism as a scientific discipline , being The State of Tennessee v cases . John Thomas Scopes and Kitzmiller v . Dover Area School District the best known in American history.

        Like

      • Thanks. I’ll be putting this up next week, after I’ve said my party piece to the Scottish Parliament

        Liked by 1 person

      • One more thing. After signing the petition, an email will be sent to you to confirm you’re real. Click on the last link, “Clique no link acima para confirmar sua assinatura”

        Like

      • Thanks. essential information. The “no link” could be confusing to an English speaker.

        Like

  1. Pingback: Keeping creationism out of Scottish schools; the long, long paper trail | Eat Your Brains Out; Exploring Science, Exposing Creationism

  2. Pingback: The battle for evolution in Scottish schools | Leaving Fundamentalism

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