The Evolution of Creationism in Britain (Michael Roberts), + press coverage update

The 2006 edition of Numbers’ book is an update of the original referred to in the opening paragraph. I would also draw attention to Scientists Scientists Confront CreationismConfront Creationism, Petto and Godfrey, eds, 2007, in which Numbers covers the same material in a more manageable 27 pages, and includes valuable essays by Massimo Pigliucci, Eugenie Scott, Brent Dalrymple and others on the historical, scientific, philosophical and pedagogical context.

Meantime, press coverage of the Scottish Secular Society petition seeking “official guidance to bar the presentation in Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time” continues; additions since I first posted on this on November 21 are

Herald 22 November:   David Andrew Robertson, Moderator-designate of the Free Church of Scotland, accuses us of anti-religious paranoia

Herald 23 November:  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.

Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

Over twenty years ago Ron Numbers published his excellent book The Creationists. There he traced the roots back to the Seventh Day Adventist in the late 19th century and not before.  The book dispels many myths about creationism but many still hold these myths and assume that creationism was the position of Christians until challenged by scientists.

A few years in the magazine of the Geological society of America  GSAToday Dave Montgomery of Seattle gave an excellent short account of the history of Creationism. http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/22/11/pdf/i1052-5173-22-11-4.pdf It is well worth using as a summary. Following all recent scholars like Ron Numbers[1] he traces the roots of YEC to about 1900 in the Seventh Day Adventist church, rather than presenting the view that it is a re-incarnation of 17th century ideas. He rightly emphasises that Calvin and Steno were “young earthers” due to limited knowledge rather than a doctrinaire stance.

He…

View original post 1,963 more words

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 24, 2014, in Creationism, Education, Philosophy, Politics, Religion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This article is NEW:
    http://www.c4id.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=262:government-to-impose-scientism-on-our-children&catid=52:frontpage&Itemid=1

    This is Noble’s footnote 8.
    http://www.nature.com/news/does-evolutionary-theory-need-a-rethink-1.16080
    Laland writes: “Some of us first met to discuss these advances six years ago. In the time since, as members of an interdisciplinary team, we have worked intensively to develop a broader framework, termed the extended evolutionary synthesis1 (EES), and to flesh out its structure, assumptions and predictions. In essence, this synthesis maintains that important drivers of evolution, ones that cannot be reduced to genes, must be woven into the very fabric of evolutionary theory.
    We believe that the EES will shed new light on how evolution works. We hold that organisms are constructed in development, not simply ‘programmed’ to develop by genes. Living things do not evolve to fit into pre-existing environments, but co-construct and coevolve with their environments, in the process changing the structure of ecosystems.
    The number of biologists calling for change in how evolution is conceptualized is growing rapidly. Strong support comes from allied disciplines, particularly developmental biology, but also genomics, epigenetics, ecology and social science. We contend that evolutionary biology needs revision if it is to benefit fully from these other disciplines. The data supporting our position gets stronger every day.”
    However, Noble MISUSES this footnote to try and make a claim that is NOT justified by the 2013 comments in Nature. He claims: “More seriously, what the Government is proposing is an affront to the scientific method. Scientists have always understood their task to be the unfettered investigation of nature without imposed dogmas, and to be able to challenge any scientific hypothesis if the evidence merits it. In the area of origins, the scientific evidence certainly merits a re-think of naturalistic Darwinian evolution, as a recent paper in Nature highlighted.” Thus Noble falsely suggests that the comment in Nature is saying that the whole theory of evolution needs a ‘re-think’ because of unspecified ‘scientific evidence’ (and because it is based on ‘naturalism’). What was proposed was a revision or broadening of the theory.

    Like

    • Typical Noble (though I suspect it was fed to him by the DI crowd); taking the fact of ongoing discoveries about how evolution works to pretend that the scientists involved are suggesting that it doesn’t. I predicted this when I heard of the EES debate.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: