It is noticeable that many intelligent design supporters (and creationists) have written in support of Michael Reiss, despite the fact that Reiss claims to be a theistic evolutionist. The latest is a piece in the November issue of the UK Evangelical Times by David Tyler, (who often writes for ARN) in which he welcomes Reiss’s call for respectful dialogue in the classroom so that the views of those who hold to different worldviews can be recognised, respected and treated fairly. Reiss has argued that disrespecting those who have different worldviews only turns children away from science and is therefore counter-productive to providing good science education. Many ID supporters and creationists broadly agree with this assertion and therefore welcome calls for respect in the science classroom.
What is also noticeable about the events surrounding Michael Reiss is the lack of comment and support for him from organisations who hold to a theistic evolution position such as the UK based Faraday Institute (FI) and Christians in Science (CiS). A word search on the CiS website for ‘Reiss’ reveals only one entry in an article (in the School Science Review – see below) merely as a mention of Reiss’s book under ‘Further Reading.’ On the FI website no results for Reiss were found.
One may wonder why there is such silence from CiS and FI when Reiss (who is a theistic evolutionist who held an important position at the Royal Society) was recently treated so unjustly at the hands of some Fellows of the Royal Society. The article by Michael Poole and comments in the postscript of Denis Alexander’s book Creation or Evolution give some clues. Both quote Augustine, and use it to infer that creationists and intelligent design supporters are ‘disgraceful’, ‘dangerous’ and therefore an embarrassment to the gospel. This gives the appearance that some leaders in CiS and FI do not share Reiss’s calls for respectful dialogue, but instead wish to isolate IDers and creationists by misrepresenting their arguments and disrespecting their worldview. Poole’s article has a prominent place on the CiS Home page and he seems to be the spokesman on education policy within the CiS.
I would love to be proved wrong on this, so perhaps if I have misunderstood the silence on Michael Reiss by CiS and FI then I offer my apologies in advance, but they need to demonstrate their support for Reiss and his call for respectful dialogue in the classroom through written articles on their websites to remove doubt.
Mike Poole on the CiS website ‘Creationism, Intelligent Design and Science Education,’ SSR, (90) 330, p. 123-130, Sept. 2008
See also Science and Values