|Growing political pressure|
Truth in Science is faced by growing political opposition as Members of Parliament and Government ministers seek to discourage science teachers from using our resource packs. Forty MPs are calling for a “restriction” on its use and one has suggested a “directive” against it. Recent developments are as follows:
• On 6 December 2006 Truth in Science received a response to our request for a meeting with the Department for Education and Skills. The letter did not refer to our request for a meeting but informed us that the Department had received many enquiries about the Truth in Science resource pack, most of them expressing concern. The Department stated that: “Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory and is therefore not included in the science curriculum.” The letter concluded:
In view of the number of enquiries about the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in science lessons, the Department is working with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to ensure that schools are completely clear as to the reasons for this position.
• Graham Stringer MP (Manchester Blackley, Labour) has tabled a new early day motion in the House of Commons, now signed by forty MPs. It reads:
That this House welcomes the Government's statement that `Neither intelligent design nor creationism are recognised scientific theories and are not included in the science curriculum'; is very concerned by the claim that the teaching pack circulated to schools by the creationist group Truth in Science is being used in science lessons in 59 schools; and calls on the Government to investigate how widespread the use of this pack is with a view to restricting it to use in religious education lessons.
• Dr Evan Harris MP (Oxford West & Abingdon, Liberal Democrat) has proposed an amendment to this Motion to make the final clause read: “...and calls on the Government to investigate how widespread the use of this pack is with a view to restricting it to use as an example of religious belief, but not as instructional material, in religious education lessons.”
• Ed Vaizey MP (Wantage and Didcot, Conservative) asked the Secretary of State for Education and Skills detailed questions about the number of schools teaching intelligent design, and what guidance and advice the Government would be give to schools. He received a holding answer on 30th November with similar content to our letter from the Department regarding the advice they would give.
• A similar pair of questions have been asked in the Welsh Assembly by Labour Member for Newport East, John Griffiths (WAQ 48804 and 48805).
• Phil Willis MP (Harrogate and Knaresborough, Liberal Democrat), who chairs the parliamentary science and technology committee, asked the Department for Education and Skills "which schools are using the material provided by the organisation Truth in Science in science lessons". On 6 December he received the answer
Mr Willis also told the Guardian that a meeting between Truth in Science and the DfES would be 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.”
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.