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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Will Brit “faith and science” heavyweights speak up after education director’s firing?

A friend wrote this morning to ask a question: Why, after Michael Reiss was fired from his position as education director with the Royal Society in Britain, did we not hear from Brit “faith and science” heavyweights Alister McGrath and John Lennox.

Basically, Reiss was made to resign for suggesting that intelligent design and creationism should be raised in science classes so that students could be argued out of believing in either.

I wrote back to say: As for McGrath and Lennox, maybe they have already responded, and I just haven’t got the mail.

Also, their response path may be complicated by the fact that Reiss’s heretical suggestion is a bad teaching idea. If they understand clearly why it is a bad idea, they need to be careful how they support him.

Why is it a bad teaching strategy? Well first, Reiss wants students to explain their intelligent design or creationist viewpoint for the purpose of having the science teacher explain that it is wrong, wrong, wrong, and that there is no evidence of purpose or design in life forms.

Reiss’s strategy allows for no possibility that there is evidence against Darwinism. So Darwinism is to be treated as a Revealed Truth in which the science teacher proselytizes the erring student.

That is a common conversion strategy used in evangelical religions. The intended convert is encouraged to express his own thoughts, often in response to a question, in order to hear the Truth he is now asked to embrace.

Traditionally, science education isn’t supposed to be like that - but hey, that was then and this is now. Evangelical atheism is what taxpayers in Britain re now apparently funding. So the mere fact that Reiss’s approach is a strategy for indoctrination in evangelical atheism can be overlooked for our purposes.

The bigger problem is that it is not difficult nowadays to discover many reasons for disbelieving in Darwinism, even if these reasons are not permitted to soil the sacred pages of the science text or uttered aloud in a science classroom. So, following his strategy, conflict with unbelievers in the science classroom would dramatically escalate.

Still, I doubt that any of that is the reason Reiss was fired. First, two thirds of the ideas currently afloat in education are dumb, dumber, and dumberer. So if dumbness were a firing offence, half the education faculties in the Western world would just disappear. And most of the other half haven’t published recently.

Second, while Reiss’s idea would likely benefit intelligent design in the long run, it’s not likely that either he or the Royal Society crowd even recognize that fact. (Had he recognized it, he would certainly not have advanced the idea, because he is a devout and unquestioning Believer.)

Essentially, Reiss was made to resign for the offense of blasphemy. He wanted science students to hear sacrilegious words like “intelligent design” and “creationism,” for the specific purpose of enlightening them in the true doctrine of Darwinism.

But such blasphemies no man may utter in the sacred temple of the science schoolroom (= materialist indoctrination centre). So his protests that he is utterly sincere and that he meant only to help did not move his virtuous judges to pity.

It is common for primitive religions to offer devoted adherents as human sacrifices, and Darwinism certainly looks like a primitive religion, compared to ethical monotheism.

See also “Michael Reiss: Sinner in the hands of an angry God”

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