Creationism petition Scotland; press coverage to date; your help still needed

MSPs on Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee heard that some religious groups are waging a ‘campaign of disinformation’ in the classroom

Updated November 29

If you as parent, teacher, or student have come across examples of separate creation or a young Earth being presented as scientifically credible (or, worse, as true) in Scottish public schools, please let me know (details in confidence) and if you are willing to go public please write to citing petition PE01530

Petition site and comments:

Spencer Fildes, petitioner, on Good Morning Scotland 11 Nov 2014

BBC recording of hearing; Spencer Fildes and Paul Braterman give evidence to Public Petitions Committee 

7 Nov Scotsman; Bid to ban creationism is militant atheism:  Campaigners bidding to ban schools from teaching creationism in science lessons are “militant atheists” who want to impose their own views on youngsters and discourage questioning, a church leader has claimed. Reverend David Robertson…

Free Church of Scotland of Reverend David Robertson, who has claimed that campaigners bidding to ban schools from teaching creationism in science lessons are

Free Church of Scotland of Reverend David Robertson, who has claimed that campaigners bidding to ban schools from teaching creationism in science lessons are “militant atheists”. Picture: PA

(Interestingly, when preaching to Ken Cunningham, of whom more below, and Alastair Noble at Cartsbridge Evangelical Church, the Reverend shows full awareness that many of us are religious believers. Maybe he takes the Ninth Commandment more seriously when he is actually in church.)

11 Nov Aberdeen Evening Express; [Glasgow] Evening Times MSPs warned on schools creationism 

11 Nov STV News Teaching of creationism in schools ‘cannot be ignored’, MSPs told

Herald 12 Nov Religious extremists infiltrating schools:  This otherwise excellent article includes the statement “Creationism is the belief that the universe and living beings originate from acts of divine creation.” Not in this context. Our petition specifically refers to separate creationism is opposed to the established science of evolution. Although our opponents pretend otherwise, it has nothing to do with religious or philosophical positions regarding creation as a whole.

TESS 14 Nov 2014 Schools are being infiltrated by cults, say secularists

NCSE ([US] National Centre for Science Education] News 12 Nov Update from Scotland

Christian News, November 17, objects to banning the teaching of biblical creationism as fact (I continue to be amazed at the arrogance of those, like the authors of this article, who claim a monopoly of Christianity on the basis of their boneheadedly ignorant interpretation of its foundational documents.)

Herald  November 21, reports on Ken Cunningham, Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, and his submission in response to a request for comment from the Petitions Committee.  My comment: Not Head Teachers; one ex-Head [in consultation, he later claimed, with the Association’s presidential team, whoever they may be] speaking for all his members with no further apparent mandate from his Association’s membership. And Cunningham and Noble [Director of the Centre for Intelligent Design, whose plans to promulgate creationism are a major matter of concern to us] are not as reported both members of the Free Church of Scotland; they are Elders (Cunningham also Secretary) of the same small independent Church, Cartsbridge in Busby, with a total membership of around 250; a much closer association. Denholm messes up on “creation” again.

21 Nov, The Centre for Intelligent design warns those on its mailing list: Government to impose Scientism on our children (no link available). So now you know. The Centre regards evolution science and the study of the age of the Earth as forms of Scientism, whatever that may be.

See also commentary “Creationist Manoeuvres in the Dark” by Spencer Fildes, who has done more than any one of us to unmask the concealed connections.

Herald, November 22: In response to Spencer’s remarks to the Herald on November 21, the Reverend David Robertson accuses us of a McCarthyite campaign and anti-religious paranoia.

Herald 23 Nov:” Scotland’s culture war: secularists and church head-to-head.” A wide-ranging review by Judith Duffy.

Herald 24 November:  Unnamed EIS spokesperson(s) condemn our petition. Herald reporter once again confuses the teaching of separate creation (the subject of our petition) with the idea of God as Creator, discussion of which which we explicitly defend.

Herald 25 November: “I think most of us have had enough of the aggressive and perverse campaign against free speech by the Scottish Secular Society” – Rev David Fraser; “Our leaders need follow the robust example of the EIS and defend the rights of the majority for the expression of their faith across the spectrum of school subjects”

Herald 26 November Letter attacking Dvd Fraser’s defence of creationist teaching

Herald 27 November: letters. Among other things, corrects Rev David Fraser, states “The EIS position is that teachers can be trusted to conduct themselves professionally without the need for legislation.”

Herald 28 November: Letter, Hugh McLoughlin, says we don’t explain what we mean by creationism, invokes European Convention on Human Rights

Herald 1 December: Letters; Bob Downie reiterates support for keeping religin, science separated. Garry Otton repeats scope of petition.

Herald, 16 Dec: Government response. Spencer and Paul B comments.

Herald 21 Dec Teaching with dinsoaurs “WHEN it comes to Scotland’s culture wars, many would view this last week as a catastrophe for the Scottish Secular Society (SSS), and a success for the ­country’s religious fundamentalists”

but facing it on the next page has SNP Councillor Sandy Howat questioning, on behalf of many SNP members, creationist teaching, opt-out rather than opt-in Religious Observance, and the presence of unelected representatives of religion on Council Education Committees.










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 21, 2014, in Creationism, Politics, Religion, Scotland and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Keep up the good work. All over the world people look to Scotland to take the lead in keeping creationist myths out of science classes.


  2. “If you think they are valid alternatives to the established science you should say so and you should throw us out”



  3. Reblogged this on Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin and commented:
    What’s going on in Scotland


  4. Reblogged. Essential background reading if you want to understand creationism.


  1. Pingback: Wonderful Life · Creationism in Scottish Schools

  2. Pingback: The Evolution of Creationism in Britain | Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

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