Some of the country's leading scientists are very angry with David Cameron for his failure, when given an opportunity, to make it clear he was opposed to the idea of creationism being sneaked into children's science lessons by religious zealots. How do we explain this running away from what should be a simple commitment to teach science in science lessons? Is it because he is scared of being contradicted and embarrassed by the hardcore of creationists that exist in the Conservative Party?
This blog has already reported on Rob Wilson, the Conservative Mp for Reading East who, when asked specifically about intelligent design being taught in science lessons, apparently believes "There should be a balanced approach to the various theories of origin.".
And then we have Gary Streeter MP who has been pursued by postblogger in recent months on this question. Streeter, who is prominent in the Conservative Christian Fellowship initially gave this bizarre response when asked to keep science in schools separate from religious fundamentalism:
"I would be very happy to act on this matter as soon as you can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Creationism is not true, and I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible."
Postblogger persisted and Streeter gave a second reply where he "outed" himself as a believer in, ahem, "intelligent design", and on the question in hand gave these weasel words: "I do not want to promote the teaching of creationism in our schools but nor do I wish to stop it."
Now we have the Tory leader Cameron saying, when asked to respond to comments by a Conservative candidate for the Welsh Assembly who wants creationism taught in science lessons :
"Personally I don't support the teaching of creationism," but he added, "I'm a great believer that we need to trust schools and governors of schools to get these things right and I think that's the right approach." He said he advocated a "more devolved system" for deciding what schools were allowed to teach."
Cameron bottled it, I mean it should have been a no-brainer defending the proper teaching of science. I suspect Cameron knows that his party has a number of beyond the pale creationists ready to come out of the woodwork if he takes a clear pro-science stance. So much for his "leadership" qualities. As James Randerson reports some of Britain's top scientists are pulling their hair out with Cameron:
"The reaction from scientists has been predictably brutal. Steve
Jones, the evolutionary biologist at University College London and
distinguished popular science author said:
"They need to devolve some management to schools. I think most people would agree with that. But you can't devolve the truth. Something is either true or it's not and creationism is not.
"If somebody demanded the right to teach in mathematics lessons that 2 and 2 are 5 on faith grounds they would be laughed out of court ... by having this taught in science lessons they are damaging science it's as simple as that."
The developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert, also at UCL said:
"I am shocked that Cameron agrees that creationism can be taught in science lessons. Creationism is not science and is purely religious faith. There is zero evidence for it. We must oppose this. Next the students will be taught that the world was created in six days."