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UK Bans “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”

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I’m informed by a person on the ground that the British government is in a fix about this because the National Curriculum is simply a minimum standard. In other words, it is there to make sure all children get a basic education; it’s purpose is not to ban things.

Ministers to ban creationist teaching aids in science lessons

· Schools will be told not to use special pack
· Intelligent design group asks for meeting

James Randerson, science correspondent
Thursday December 7, 2006
The Guardian

The government is to write to schools telling them that controversial teaching materials promoting creationism should not be used in science lessons.

The packs include DVDs and written materials promoting intelligent design, a creationist alternative to Darwinism, that were sent to every school in the country by the privately-funded group Truth in Science. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Last week, the Guardian revealed that 59 schools had told Truth in Science the materials were a “useful classroom resource”.

The government has already stated that the Truth in Science materials should not be used in science lessons. On November 1, the education minister, Jim Knight, wrote: “Neither intelligent design nor creationism are recognised scientific theories and they are not included in the science curriculum. The Truth in Science information pack is therefore not an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum.” The Department for Education said it was working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the public body that oversees the national curriculum, to communicate this message directly to schools.

But Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrats’ science spokesman, said: “I’m amazed that they have found it so difficult and it has taken so long.” He feared that some teachers would use the packs to promote intelligent design as a belief or that it would be presented as a valid scientific theory.

“[Pupils] are somehow being told these agendas are alternative ways of looking at things. They are not at all,” the Nobel prizewinner and prime mover in the Human Genome Project, John Sulston, said at a lecture last week at the British Museum. “One is science – a rational thought process which will carry us forward into the indefinite future. The other is a cop-out and they should not be juxtaposed in science lessons.”

The teachers’ manual accompanying the DVDs says that the curriculum states that pupils should be taught about different ways of interpreting empirical evidence. “An essential part of this is for pupils to understand the nature and causes of scientific controversy. A good example of this, specified by the national curriculum, is Darwin’s theory of evolution.”

Andy McIntosh, a professor of thermodynamics at the University of Leeds and a member of the Truth in Science board, has written to request a meeting with ministers to discuss the advice the department is planning to send out to schools.

Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis, who chairs the parliamentary science and technology committee, said it was a good opportunity for the department to “send out a very clear directive to say that these materials should not be used within any national science curriculum lesson”.

Source: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/publicservices/story/0,,1965988,00.html

The United Kingdom evidently enjoys more freedom of speech than we do in the United States. For now. DaveScot
The UK, unlike America allows taxes to fund religious schools, correct? On the one hand, this is equitable and fair for those citizens who pay taxes and prefer their children attend parochial schools. On the other, it allows governments long fingers to reach down locally into all matters of education and social matters. I wonder which system is working best today. Michaels7
Einstein said "Question everything." But apparently there are just some questions a "true" scientist can't ask. TerryL
A UK Science Department Head recently was quoted as saying "If I showed this to children, of course they would be convinced," he says. "There's no doubt about that at all." No wonder they want to ban UMOL! Human nature will work in our faavour. When people hear something is banned. They will want to see it and decide for themselves. Why not rate UMOL as "For Mature audiences only" or "This DVD contains material that may offend some viewers." When people see "objective" people becoming afraid of an idea, and rather than entering a rational discourse, seeking to ban the idea. They will smell a rat. idnet.com.au
"Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrats’ science spokesman"... ... and also an honorary associate of the National Secular Society, and vice–president of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association ... davidanderson
"Or it will be locked away for years until those who are brave enough will bring it back and the scientific community will have to answer why they didn’t let the ideas out." Comment by rpf_ID — December 7, 2006 @ 12:42 pm But they will not have to answer why they didn't let the ideas out. A sympathetic press and academy will allow the whole controversy to vanish down the "memory hole" as if there had never been any controversy at all. How many mia culpas flowed from intellectual apologists for communism after the collapse of the U.S.S.R and the general failure of communism elsewhere? russ
I really don't see the problem with their censorship because it will only make it more mysterious and thus, people will seek it out. Or it will be locked away for years until those who are brave enough will bring it back and the scientific community will have to answer why they didn't let the ideas out. Galileo anyone??? Censoring ID will not help them because they are moving science into a realm where I don't think it belongs; the socio-political realm, making science a rhetorical enterprise where power is the goal. Control of what and how you think gentlemen, that is what is at stake............ rpf_ID
Keeping material out of the science classroom is in no way banning it. Anyone in the UK is free to go out and by any ID material they want. Books are not being burned, and no one is under house arrest. Why should ID start out in primary or highschool before it is accepted science? Was this how Gallileo came to be accepted or how Darwinism came to be accepted for that matter? Yes Darwinism has religious implications. It has however become the dominant scientific theory concerning the spread of life on this planet. The only reason to allow ID into school at this early date is because of its religious implications whereas Darwinism has achieved its place despite its religious implications. I am not saying that ID is wrong or has no future, but it is not yet appropriate for inclusion in the all too finite time for science education. jmcd
Yes, let's have an index of proscribed DVDs. William Dembski
Will the darwinians admit at this point that by behaving like this they are basically doing the same thing to ID proponents that they claim the catholic church did to Copernicus and Galileo ? Who would have thought that secularists would have a banned book register ? jwrennie
I have checked out the truth in science website, http://www.truthinscience.org.uk. The website shows these guys to be very clear thinkers who are not biting off more than they can chew. I would, however like to know what "unlocking" is being bundled with. Is there anything that is being sent out that goes beyond presenting the areas where science know that it does not have answers? bFast

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