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26 June, 2007

Intelligent Design Defeated By Intelligent Politicians

I see from The Register (and elsewhere) that the UK government has declared its intention to keep Creationism out of the classroom. Specifically, they concluded that “intelligent design” is a religion and should not be taught as science in British schools. To quote them:

The Government is aware that a number of concerns
have been raised in the media and elsewhere as to
whether creationism and intelligent design have a place
in science lessons. The Government is clear that
creationism and intelligent design are not part of the
science National Curriculum programmes of study and
should not be taught as science.

It is so rare that a government ever does anything so sensible and praiseworthy, that I'd like to take this opportunity to express my congratulations to the people who made this decision. 'Intelligent design' is a pernicious, fraudulent and disgraceful attempt to deceive people into accepting magic as legitimate science. It is extremely heartening to see that there are people in the British government who are clever enough and level-headed enough to reject it out of hand.
The decision comes in response to an online petition organised by James Rocks of the Science, Just Science campaign. From the bottom of my nouveau-Australian heart, I'd like to say, “Good on ya, Jim!”

Over in the USA, it's another story. The outcome of the battle there between good sense and religious mania is still moot and the cowardice and, sometimes, the insanity of American politicians has given succour to the forces of madness. The amazing fact is that the USA is a country where three of the Republican presidential candidates do not believe in evolution! (The mind boggles! Do they also think the Earth is flat and the Sun revolves around it? If not, why not?) Perhaps this seems just normal or even reasonable for an American (or maybe most Americans don't even care) but, from the outside looking in, American religiosity just looks crazy – like looking at ranting Muslim leaders condemning 'the great Satan', or the old Soviet regime's attempts to deny the evidence of genetics for ideological reasons. This kind of head-in-the-sand Christianity belongs to an ancient, unenlightened world and to see it flourishing in the USA is somewhat scary.

Yet I'd be happy to leave them to it (except that it will eventually bring down their economy – look at how research has been weakening under George Bush). However, the American churches are funding the lobby groups and the 'research institutes' that are distributing Creationist propaganda around the world. So it's not just their problem anymore. It's everybody's. Which means more governments ought to take a stand, like the UK has just done, and keep these crazy people out of our kids' heads.

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