|Senior academics support Truth in Science|
As reported yesterday in the Sunday Times, twelve senior academics have written to the Prime Minister and Education Secretary in support of Truth in Science.
The group was led by Norman Nevin OBE, Professor Emeritus of Medical Genetics, Queen's University of Belfast and included Antony Flew, former Professor of Philosophy at Reading University and a distinguished supporter of humanism.
"We write to applaud the Truth in Science initiative," the letter said. Empirical science has to recognise "severe limitations concerning origins" and Darwinism is not necessarily "the best scientific model to fit the data that we observe".
They concluded: "We ask therefore that, where schools so choose, you ensure an open and honest approach to this subject under the National Curriculum, at the same time ensuring that the necessary criteria are maintained to deliver a rigorous education."
The other signatories were: David Back, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Liverpool; Steve Fuller, Professor of Sociology at Warwick University; Mart de Groot, Director, Retired, Armagh Astronomical Observatory; Terry Hamblin, Professor of Immunohaematology, University of Southampton; Colin Reeves, Professor of Operational Research at Coventry University and John Walton, Professor of Chemistry, St Andrews University, as well as the three University Professors who are members of the TiS Board and Council.
Professor Norman Nevin has authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications on various aspects of genetics, especially single gene disorders and congenital abnormalities. In his distinguished career he has held the posts: Head of the Northern Regional Genetics Service, President of the UK Clinical Genetics Society, member of the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and of the subsequent Human Genetics Commission, member of the European Concerted Action for Congenital Abnormalities, Chairman of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC). In 2003 he received an OBE for his services to gene therapy.
On 11 December, Professor Nevin received a response from the Department for Education and Skills' Public Communications Unit on behalf of both the Prime Minster and the Education Secretary. The support for Truth in Science had been "noted by the Department" but the "vast majority" of enquiries that the DfES received had "expressed concern" about the Truth in Science resource pack.
"Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory" the Department claimed "and is therefore not included in the science curriculum. The Truth in Science information pack is not therefore an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum."
However, intelligent design could discussed in science classes in response to pupil's questions: "During a science lesson on evolution it is possible that pupils may ask about creationism and intelligent design. In this situation, the Department would expect teachers to answer pupil's questions about this and other beliefs in a balanced way."
...next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them: "What kind of evidence is there for that?"
Richard Dawkins (2003), Oxford University.