Well, as we know creationist second hand car salesman are now allowed to take over our schools and push their views at kids for what amounts to small change. And that the "moderate" Church of England are looking at sneaking in a bit of creationism into science lessons in "their" schools. So, in a symbolic kind of way, it's nice to see the Council of Europe pass a very strong resolution with support from delegates from the left and the right about the "dangers of creationism in education". The resolution has been supported by Labour peer Lord McIntosh and Labour MP Denis MacShane - both recent ministers in the government. Here's a snippet that shows the strength of the wording:
"...However, in recent years we have witnessed attempts to reconcile the biblical account of creation with modern science and outlaw the theory of evolution. “Creationists” pretend that “intelligent design” by a supreme entity is the scientific explanation for the universe.
Such an approach has no credibility among the scientific community but has succeeded in raising doubts in less informed minds, including persons with high political responsibilities, mainly in the USA but also in Europe. Some schools are now forced to teach creationism. The middle path of providing equal time for both merely offers a middle way between truth and falsehood."
Congratulations to Harriet Harman in winning the deputy leadership, it was a good contest, Labour showed it has a depth of talent way ahead of the Conservatives run by Bullingdon Dave an his Eton cronies stuck in their Cholmondley-Warner world.
Harman's acceptance speech was excellent, indeed the opening section explains exactly why the Conservatives and their cheerleaders aren't fit to govern this country for at least another generation, or two, or three.....:
We remember how things have changed. I will never forget how, at my advice surgeries in Peckham Town Hall when we were in opposition, my constituents would hand me their pay slips showing £1.60 an hour. The national minimum wage put an end to that. There would have been no national minimum wage without Labour.
I will never forget my constituents showing me letters from Kings College Hospital saying “you have an appointment for your hip operation – it’s in two years’ three months’ time.”
That no longer happens now. Waiting lists have fallen dramatically. But we know the doubling of investment in the NHS would never have happened without Labour.
Nor will I forget the woman in my constituency who said to me “I’ve got two lads indoors. One’s 19 and one’s 21. Neither has had a day’s work or training since they left school. Can you help?” But I couldn’t help. We couldn’t help until we kicked the Tories out and Labour was in Government.
People working for £1.60 an hour, waiting times of over 2 years for routine operations, a generation of young people locked out of jobs and training. The Tories were, and still are, a mixture of cruelty and incompetence, and this country can't afford to go back to the bad old days.
Tomorrow's Observer will publish a new Ipsos/Mori poll that has Labour clearly in the lead for the first time since October (Labour 39% Tories 36% Lib Dems 15%). Seems voters have got Bullingdon Dave Cameron's card marked as they rate his performance worse than Blair's and put Brown way ahead of him as being a good candiate for the top job. New times, new times.
Priorities for our new PM as he takes over next week. (After sacking the entryist pantomime bad guy Lord Adonis). Stop the academies programme spiralling out of control. Today we read that a religious sect who believe TV and computers are the "realm of the devil" have actually been allowed in the front door of the Department for Education to discuss setting up academies with schools minister Jim Knight. Is no belief too batty, too deranged to exclude an organisation from being handed control of our local schools?
This comes on the same day that we hear of an academic study which claims that pupils at academies are increasingly being forced on to "easier" courses to inflate results
The Edinburgh University study analysed the results of the first 14 academies and compared them to standards achieved at the comprehensive schools they replaced. It says that "because of political pressure to improve results" the number of children taking GNVQs had increased 12-fold. In 2002, there was one GNVQ entry for every 10 pupils compared to 12 for every 10 students last year.
But it doesn't stop there, we also learn today that all teachers who want to work in Catholic schools in Glasgow will have to seek personal approval from the Church under confidential plans drawn up by Scotland's largest local authority. What used to "our" schools are increasingly under the control of bigots and proselytisers who are becoming ever more cocky about their ability to use that control to ram their beliefs down the throats of children, their parents and their teachers. Do something about it Gordon!
"U.S. Ambassador James P. Cain said that he and his family wanted to go
to church shortly after they arrived in Denmark in the summer of 2005.
But when they turned up for a scheduled Sunday service at a Danish
Lutheran church, they found the door chained and padlocked. The next
week, he said, they tried a different Lutheran church, where the entire
attendance at the service was nine people -- his family and bodyguards,
plus two Danes."
So it's another good news story! The story is a confirmation of the ongoing and massive decline in organised religion in Northern Europe, that the minority of thriving churches are often based around groups of recent immigrants, and that there are no social problems arising out of the decline of Christianity - we can easily live without it. The story tries to spin the immigrant congregations as a sign of some kind of revival.
But, when are people looking into the concept of community cohesion going accept evidence, such as the situation in the most advanced nations on Earth, that stable communities and rising quality of life do NOT need the input of faith groups or need the so-called "social capital" of faith adherents?
After a few years lapsed membership I have rejoined Amnesty International, I should have done this before but as the catholic church reaches new lows in its immorality and sheer spite in the way it intervenes in international humanitarian issues, this time by calling for a boycott of Amnesty International, I've rejoined today.
Hmm, I posted this comment 24 hours ago on the Backing Benn blog, but they don't seem keen to publish. It's not rude or anti Hilary, but does flag up what seems to have been a highly disappointing response to the Labour Humanist Group's survey of candidates for the deputy leadership. This is what I posted:
What do you think to Hilary’s response to the Labour Humanist Group
survey? He seems to really have disappointed a lot of people with his
socially conservative we live in a Christian state line and defending
of discrimination if it’s “part of our long standing culture”???
Now there's a coincidence, next year's football fixtures have been announced today and on every game West Ham are at home Sheffield Wednesday are away - and vice versa. Making plans for a swap with another team from Sheffield! Don't spend all that money yet Eggert. West Ham's fixtures Sheffield Wednesday's fixtures
From the folks who brought you the weekend, a sometimes happy human blogging from the left of centre and keeping it sceptical, freethinking, secular and humanist. Because every reasonable human being should be a moderate socialist – or drinker – or preferably both.
“It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Carl Sagan.
‘The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. Where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. And where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.’
The Labour Humanist Group
A Labour Humanist Group exists to spread awareness of humanism and humanists within the Labour Party and to promote humanist and Labour values. Membership of the Group is open to any person, who agrees with the aims of the group and is a member or supporter of the Labour Party, or a member of a group officially affiliated to the Labour Party.
To find out more visit Labour Humanist Group
What is Humanism
Humanism is the belief that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. We seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good.