Sitting on the fence

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Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:56 pm

Materials sent out by the Evangelical Alliance, such as IDEA magazine, sometimes contain adverts or are accompanied by flyers promoting events by the Faraday Institute or Christians in Science and the like. Thus evangelicals believing in an old universe and perhaps in evolution too get to highlight their events and resources.

I have just received a new edition of IDEA magazine (May-June 2012).

(1) On the inside back page there is a half-page advert for 'Explore Evolution'. I quote:
"Darwin's theory is 150 years old and the theory still remains the focus of intense public controversy. Why? Whether you are a student, teacher, lecturer parent or just an interested lay-person, and are concerned about the uncritical and propagandist nature of Darwinian education, this is a book to open your eyes. It makes a refreshing change from the polarised and often unsubstantiated assertions which characterise the debate.
Explore Evolution:
- looks at the biological evidence in detail and is exclusively scientific in content;
- sets out systematically the evidence for and against Darwinism as popularly understood;
- encourages critical thinking;
- written in clear and accessible language;
- uses striking illustrations;
- suitable for senior high school students and undergraduates
Available from http://www.exploreevolution.co.uk
This book will help you make up your own mind, from the scientific evidence, about the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the development and complexity of life. There is probably no other book like this that leaves you to decide. Get it for your students. They need to know the facts!
Sponsored by Centre for Intelligent Design."

The book is MISLEADING. And are the EA unaware of Government guidelines on NOT teaching creationism or intelligent design in state schools?

(2) Also on the same page is a half-page advert for a one-day conference in Cambridge on 14 July - 'Design in nature? Scientific and philosophical perspectives' organised by the Tyndale Fellowship. It is a ONE-SIDED looking event. The advert is much as set out in this link:
http://www.tyndalephilosophy.org.uk/Events/
The four speakers are Stephen Meyer, Steve Fuller, Stephen Clark and David Glass.

(3) IDEA magazine always comes with an enclosed 4-page pamphlet 'The Alliance Notice Board'' On the front page I read: "Carrying the Creation Torch Conferences. Eight inspiring day conferences across the UK and Ireland in 2012... An unmissable opportunity to learn more about Biblical Creation and be equipped with faith-building facts".

(4) There's also a loose flyer (one of several) with the latest IDEA - advertising 'The Ideal Church Show' at Sandown Park from 8-11 May. This event is put on by Christian Resources Exhibitions International. There is wide choice of seminars.
On 8 May this includes: "Dinosaurs and Dragons, Monsters or Myths. In our experience at CMI nothing reinforces more strongly the evolutionary paradigm than the idea that earth is millions of years old. There is, however, plenty of evidence from the Bible, science and history that these creatures lived alongside humans in recent history, rather than during 'an age of dinosaurs' millions of years before people existed. Dominic Statham, Creation Ministries".
Why CRE are happy for someone to disseminate such tosh at their event is somewhat beyond me.
I've also checked out another seminar, on 10 May. The description is "REjoice in RE. Would you like to teach the whole Bible to children in school lessons and leave them cheering for more? Come along and find out how using Bible Explosion! Tens of thousands of children every year are taught the Bible in such a fun, interactive, way, they leave being able to retell the story of the whole Old Testament. Paul Keeys, Walk Through the Bible".
Here are a couple of links:
http://www.bible.org.uk/old_browser/index.php (the main page buttons don't seem to be working)
http://www.bible.org.uk/uk_office_staff.php
They don't APPEAR to be promoting creationism.

Is the BCSE interested in writing to the EA about some or all of the above (NOTABLY the Explore Evolution advert)? If not, I plan to email them (I may do so anyway, along with CRE)?

If need be, I can supply photos.
Last edited by a_haworthroberts on Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby Michael » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:50 pm

EA or FA?

Count me in on a critique
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:11 pm

I've just emailed the Evangelical Alliance as below (I haven't contacted Christian Resources Exhibitions International re the Statham seminar as it's probably none of my business):

ADVERT IN IDEA MAGAZINE MAY-JUNE 2012

Evangelical Alliance

I was surprised and disappointed to see on the inside back page an
advertisement for 'Explore Evolution' (a book which was posted to UK
school libraries several years' ago by the creationist organisation
'Truth in Science').

The advert reads as follows:
"Darwin's theory is 150 years old and the theory still remains the
focus of intense public controversy. Why? Whether you are a student,
teacher, lecturer parent or just an interested lay-person, and are
concerned about the uncritical and propagandist nature of Darwinian
education, this is a book to open your eyes. It makes a refreshing
change from the polarised and often unsubstantiated assertions which
characterise the debate.
Explore Evolution:
- looks at the biological evidence in detail and is exclusively
scientific in content;
- sets out systematically the evidence for and against Darwinism as
popularly understood;
- encourages critical thinking;
- written in clear and accessible language;
- uses striking illustrations;
- suitable for senior high school students and undergraduates
Available from http://www.exploreevolution.co.uk
This book will help you make up your own mind, from the scientific
evidence, about the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the development
and complexity of life. There is probably no other book like this that
leaves you to decide. Get it for your students. They need to know the
facts!
Sponsored by Centre for Intelligent Design."

The book Explore Evolution is MISLEADING. It has been critiqued, for
instance, at the British Centre for Science Education website.

And are the EA unaware of Government guidelines on NOT teaching
creationism or intelligent design in UK state schools? The advert
recommends that teachers obtain the book to provide students with
'facts' but I think the main purpose of the book is to stimulate a
debate about an area of science that is not controversial in the
scientific community (including some scientists who are Christians but
also pro-science).

Please also see here:
http://www.bcseweb.blogspot.co.uk/p/ope ... librarians.
html#!/p/open-letter-to-school-librarians.html
This Open Letter from the BCSE to school librarians, dated January
2010, reads as follows:
"You recently received a glossy, well produced volume, Explore
Evolution, from a group calling itself 'Truth in Science' (TiS). TiS
claim to be interested in furthering science education, state that the
book promotes enquiry based learning, accords with examination board
specifications, and have offered additional copies and training.
We are therefore writing to alert you to the facts that TiS is a
Christian fundamentalist organisation, and that the book is in fact a
Creationist text that promotes non-scientific notions as alternatives
to the fundamentals of scientific biology, in direct contravention of
the National Curriculum and relevant OCR guidelines.
Prof A. C. McIntosh, over whose signature the TiS materials were sent
to you, is a Young Earth Creationist who regularly gives public
lectures attacking evolution. In its own manifesto in Evangelical
Times, TiS states that by being taught modern evolution science, "Young
people are encouraged into a way of thinking that leads to atheism,
hedonism, despair and moral bankruptcy" and that 'Our aim is to
compliment [sic] the work of existing Creation groups by targeting
education in particular.'
Explore Evolution (EE) was developed by the Discovery Institute,
Seattle, proponents of 'Intelligent Design' (ID), and its authors
accept ID and, in one case, Young Earth Creationism. Throughout, it
offers an appeal to a guiding intelligence as an alternative to present-
day scientific biology, in direct violation of the National Guidelines
and OCR recommendations.
Whereas enquiry based learning encourages students to make independent
inferences from their own data, EE manipulates a mixture of half-truths
and outright errors to point towards one preselected (and unscientific)
conclusion. EE incorrectly states that transitional fossils are rare,
makes use of the discredited concept of 'irreducible complexity',
misdescribes the status of classical experiments, and repeats a long
list of other errors characteristic of the Creationist literature. (For
more details see our leaflet)
We would therefore advise you to show the book, together with this
letter and our leaflet, to your senior biology teacher or your head of
science, before deciding whether this book has any place at all in your
library. It seems likely that OFSTED would object to the book being
classified as 'science', and, if you place it in another section (such
as religion or history of ideas), we would respectfully urge you to
include a copy of our leaflet, in order to alert users to its many
gross scientific errors.
If we can help you further regarding this or in any other way, please
let us know."

It appears to me that the advert may have been submitted to you by the
UK Centre for Intelligent Design, based in Glasgow.

I would welcome any comments. I have no formal involvement with the
BCSE and have not been asked by them to send this message.

Mr Ashley Haworth-Roberts
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby cathy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:22 am

Hmm if the Evangelical Alliance wish to be truly neutral and just sitting on the fence that is fine as long as they are aware of AND make crystal clear two inconvenient facts. One side in this 'debate' is completely wrong - the Earth is by no stretch of the imagination 6000 years old, everything did not spring into being in six days and there was no global flood - and the other completely in the right (see above) making it not really a debate at all and therefore why are they sitting on the fence?

Secondly there is NO creation 'science'!!!!!!!! If they wish to sit on the fence out of some need to respect and include the beliefs of creationists, which is only fair after all (tho respect is totally undeserved in creationisms case), they should do so HONESTLY! They should present them for what they are - biblical beliefs with NO scientific support behind them AT ALL. And not only beliefs with no scientific support but beliefs disproved by all modern science leading them to deny all of modern science!

If they wish to let creationists argue their point of view they should allow it on religious grounds only as it is purely a religious belief held by a Genesis obssessed sub sect or cult who've linked themselves to Christianity. Any spurious scientific claims should be banned unless validated by real science, put fully into proper context with real science and checked thoroughly by people with the expertise and honesty eg Michael.

If the EA support, advertise, print or publish any of the scientific garbage spewed out by creationist liars without disclaimers pointing out every single half truth, deceptive statement, ommission and stupid claim they are complicit in that lie. They will be seriously breaching the trust of the people relying on them for information, whether it be by deliberately lying or by failing to check out facts properly.

There is no real excuse for ignorance in this day and age. So either the EA behaves morally and is stops promoting crap like EE or Set in Stone - or it becomes tainted with creationist deceits and not worth the paper its written on. However as creationism is like dry rot and gets everywhere I suspect hoping EA will do the right thing is very wishful thinking.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby psiloiordinary » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:55 pm

Ashley,

Can you email me a scan of the advert and the front page of the magazine please?

Thanks,

Psi
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:59 pm

psiloiordinary wrote:Ashley,

Can you email me a scan of the advert and the front page of the magazine please?

Thanks,

Psi



OK.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:58 pm

Hope psi now has the two photos. My O2 email is unreliable.

As all my attempted email messages made clear - but the text seemed to vanish - we have the UK Centre for Intelligent Design to thank for the advert I think, rather than Truth in Science.

PS Receipt just confirmed.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:54 pm

According to a blog by Robert Saunders (GrumpyBob I think) on 13 April 2012:

"I received an advertising email from the UK’s very own Discotute wannabees, the Centre for Intelligent Design. It’s advertising a ‘textbook’ entitled Explore Evolution, and it’s headlined Explore Evolution- A remarkable book. In common with quite a bit of creationist activity, Explore Evolution seems to be named with the intention to deceive: in reality this publication aims to persuade the reader that there is a genuine scientific controversy, and that creationist views such as Intelligent Design are credible alternatives to evolutionary biology. You can read analyses of this ‘textbook’ by the BCSE and NCSE (the NCSE’s analysis is particularly detailed). There’s also a Wikipedia page on the book. And here’s a review at Ars Technica.

The advert begins:
I write to encourage you to buy a copy of the remarkable book Explore Evolution whose authors include the scientists Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson and Scott Minnich. This textbook, which is particularly suitable for senior high school students and undergraduates, is a must read for anyone who is interested in the continuing controversy about Darwinian evolution. It is also a book to pass on to those who are studying the subject or are confused by the debate. [my emphasis]
It’s bogus – there is no controversy about ‘Darwinian evolution’. If anything there is a manufactured social controversy, engineered by particular groups and individuals, often with a distinctively religious agenda. I’ve emphasised some text which makes it clear that Dr Alastair Noble (who holds a PhD in Chemistry rather than the Biological Sciences) is seeking to push his Intelligent Design creationism at schools.
This book will help you make up your own mind, from the scientific evidence, about the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the development and complexity of life.
More probably, the intention is to confuse the reader!
Explore Evolution first surfaced in the UK when the fundamentalist creationist group Truth in Science mailed copies to school librarians (BCSE responded by circulating an Open Letter to School Librarians). This looks to me like further blurring of the artificial boundaries between ID creationism and other forms of creationism.

UPDATE: One other relevant observation is that the Contact Us page for CARE in Scotland lists Alastair Noble as Education Officer. CARE is a Christian lobbying group which has interns working for MPs at Westminster. Here’s a Herald article (Rival to evolution may enter schools) in which Dr Noble is quoted:
Alastair Noble is an educational consultant who has been invited by both denominational and non- denominational secondary schools to present ID on a scientific basis. He said: “I gauge a growing level of interest from pupils and teachers. My guess is that the (TiS) DVDs are being used by a small but significant number of teachers.”
“It deserves formal consideration. It presents a scientific challenge to the construct that the world is the result of blind and purposeless forces.”
A more recent article at the Herald includes this strange bit of doublespeak from Dr Noble:
The group’s director, Dr Alastair Noble, told the Sunday Herald it was “inevitable” the debate would make its way into schools — even though the Scottish Government says teachers should not regard intelligent design as science.
“We are definitely not targeting schools, but that doesn’t mean to say we may not produce resources that go to schools,” Dr Noble said, adding that he had already been asked to speak in Scottish schools, and agreed to do so".
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:02 pm

"We are definitely not targeting schools".

So WHY are they, apparently, sponsoring an advert in the IDEA magazine (sent to all members of the Evangelical Alliance, including some who are teachers or lecturers) which urges them to "get it for your students" (that's presumably science, specifically, biology students).

Or are they 'only' targeting independent schools (and any evangelical Christian who is unconnected with schools/education - and is not even a school or college student)?
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:16 pm

a_haworthroberts wrote:


UPDATE: One other relevant observation is that the Contact Us page for CARE in Scotland lists Alastair Noble as Education Officer. CARE is a Christian lobbying group which has interns working for MPs at Westminster.


That all C4ID is, a lobbying organisation, or a collection of PR puffery merchants if you like.
Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities - Voltaire
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby Peter Henderson » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:52 pm

I noticed this statement on Dr. Don Batton's biography, while brousing a reply he'd written on a Creation.con feedback article:

http://creation.com/dr-don-batten-cv

In the end I came to see the importance of the written Word of God. I had an unforgettable experience of being confronted with the challenge, almost like an audible voice from Heaven, ‘Are you going to believe My Word, or the words of men?’ In tears, on my knees, I confessed my unbelief and asked for forgiveness. My life has never been the same since. It was like being born again—again!


Why do I not share Dr. Batton's conviction ? Is it because I've never confessed my unbelief ? Is accepting science now considered a sin by certain speakers at CMI ? Should Christians ask forgiveness if they, heaven forbid, happen to accept science i.e. the science that is taught in all schools, colleges, and universities everywhere ?
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:30 pm

I have had an INTERESTING email exchange with CMI during the past 24 hours. More details follow - once I've sent them ONE MORE email shortly.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby marcsurtees » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:03 am

Peter Henderson wrote:Why do I not share Dr. Batton's conviction ? Is it because I've never confessed my unbelief ? Is accepting science now considered a sin by certain speakers at CMI ? Should Christians ask forgiveness if they, heaven forbid, happen to accept science i.e. the science that is taught in all schools, colleges, and universities everywhere ?


You have once again confused the issue. It is not about accepting or rejecting science, most people (creationist and evolutionist) accept most of science. Creationists also accept a lot of evolution (eg natural selection speciation and changes in allele frequency) but reject the theory of universal common descent. No-one is asking people to reject science. And your claims that a YEC has to reject science is falsified by the fact that many creationists are scientists.
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby Michael » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:07 am

marcsurtees wrote:
Peter Henderson wrote:Why do I not share Dr. Batton's conviction ? Is it because I've never confessed my unbelief ? Is accepting science now considered a sin by certain speakers at CMI ? Should Christians ask forgiveness if they, heaven forbid, happen to accept science i.e. the science that is taught in all schools, colleges, and universities everywhere ?


You have once again confused the issue. It is not about accepting or rejecting science, most people (creationist and evolutionist) accept most of science. Creationists also accept a lot of evolution (eg natural selection speciation and changes in allele frequency) but reject the theory of universal common descent. No-one is asking people to reject science. And your claims that a YEC has to reject science is falsified by the fact that many creationists are scientists.


Creationists also reject all of geology and the phyiscis and chemistry that goes with it.

It is simple if you remove the plank out of your eye
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Re: Sitting on the fence

Postby Roger Stanyard » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:15 am

marcsurtees wrote:
Peter Henderson wrote:Why do I not share Dr. Batton's conviction ? Is it because I've never confessed my unbelief ? Is accepting science now considered a sin by certain speakers at CMI ? Should Christians ask forgiveness if they, heaven forbid, happen to accept science i.e. the science that is taught in all schools, colleges, and universities everywhere ?


You have once again confused the issue. It is not about accepting or rejecting science, most people (creationist and evolutionist) accept most of science. Creationists also accept a lot of evolution (eg natural selection speciation and changes in allele frequency) but reject the theory of universal common descent. No-one is asking people to reject science. And your claims that a YEC has to reject science is falsified by the fact that many creationists are scientists.


Creationists do not accept science. full stop.

They reject outright the scientific method because they invoke the supernatural and also a priori reject evidence that contradicts they religious opinions.

Creationism is not a scientific position. It is a religious position. As has been demonstrated in court case after court case, ad nauseum.
Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities - Voltaire
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