It’s a jolly good thing I am not a Fellow of the Royal Society, because if I were, I would be spending my time composing my resignation letter, instead of admiring the dreaming spires from my temporary gaff here in the home of good marmalade.
Why? Not because Professor Michael Reiss, a nice enough bloke even if he is a god-botherer, thinks that creationism should be taught in science lessons. Not even because he is Director of Education at the fabled boffins’ club, though that is a bit on the dodgy side.
No, it is because the titular head of said boffins’ club, Lord Rees of Ludlow, a truly brilliant bloke, seems to think that this is indeed a view worth supporting.
A spokesman for the organisation, which counts 21 Nobel Prize winners among its Fellows, confirmed yesterday that Professor Reiss's views did represent that of its president, Lord Rees of Ludlow, and the society.
He said: "Teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn't."
I’m pretty sure the "he" is the spokesman for the organisation, rather than Sir Martin, but it’s a neat bit of jiggery pokery.
My point of principle is really rather simple. Sure, teachers should be able to discuss science and all that, if they care to. But Creationism and IDiocy do not belong in science classes. When I were a lad, and teaching this sort of thing for a living, I truly couldn’t have given a rat’s arse for what a student believed in private. The earth and all its inhabitants was vomited up by a giant praying mantis? Fine with me. But in lectures, practicals, exams and whatnot, that sort of guff was simply not permitted.
If you did believe in all that guff, and were happy lying to me, I’d reward you for lying. I still would.
Science and religion are not incompatible, clearly, at least within the human brain. But outside it, in the real world, only one of them actually works, and that’s the one for me.
Reiss resigned soon after, with everyone claiming his remarks had been misunderstood.
2021-09-12: Which used to be the paper of record, although if you cannot find the records, that rather scotches that idea. ↩