TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creationism

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Re: TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creation

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:33 pm

cathy wrote:whats more surprising is that he's now married to someone who was one of Doctor Whos assistants :shock: In the old Doctor Who's not the newer ones. Who'd have thought that.
She does the reading for some of his audio-books IIRC.
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Re: TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creation

Postby cathy » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:52 pm

Don't know if you've come across a Michael Poole yet, I hadn't, but he's had a letter published in ASE magazine for May 2013 (yes very behind with looking at things) which concerned me a little bit. It was referring to an article in February's magazine by James Williams about creationism. Unfortunately I cannot find Febs issue, nor do I seem to have looked at it and at the moment am struggling to find my membership number to access the original article in Febs issue. It will be in a pile of paper somewhere. However reading between the lines it sounds similar to the James Williams article in TES that was originally posted here - ie this one.

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6266963


The reasons I'm concerned about this Michael Poole person are
1) that he seems very naïve and
2) he seems to be in a position of influence. He's signed his letter
Michael Poole Visiting Research Fellow in Science and Religion Kings College London
http//webarchive.national archive.gov/uk200712041310226/http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/docbank/index.cfm?id=11890
which I guess might be his link to this which is towards the end of his letter.
My disquiet with the article was in part triggered on account of the efforts I made in the Sept 2008 issue of School Science Review (creationism, ID and science education to tease out the distinctions between 'creation' and creationism, 'design' and what has come to be called 'intelligent design'
.

Anyway he clearly isn't a creationist and I clearly get the gist of his letter which is that the distinction between being a Christian believing in a creator without being a creationist loony and being a creationist loony is being blurred by lots of people these days - but he isn't anti creationist enough for my liking.

He starts with

"I was disappointed with parts of James Williams article on creationism......The author does not explain creationism in any of its versions, nor the meaning of the theological term 'creation'"

None of which is problematic. The gist of the next bit is that the author (JW) misses the fact that Christian belief in creator and creationist/ID nonsense are different.
Neither is there any distinction made between what I consider to be the spurious argument used by the ID movement and the concept of divine design

He then agrees whole heartedly that we should be teaching real science ie ancient Earth, ancient universe and evolution which is brilliant. But then the bit that concerned me was

"
But I also agree with Michael Reiss that, if students bring up the issue of creationism and the science teacher feels comfortable, it is fine for them to discuss the science"
My emphasis. And I am NOT in agreement with Riess, he wasn't treated unfairly because some of the things he has written show a complete lack of understanding of creationists' behaviours and the way in which children learn along with the simple fact that there is NO debate so pretending to give credence to creationist ideas is both pointless and confusing but I digress from the letter. He however objects to the treatment of Riess.

Later he writes of the James Williams piece.

"I struggled with the following passages:
'I wrote a comment piece in the TES arguing that evangelical Christians are a danger to normal faith schools'"
Which is in the piece I linked to above. Anyway the gist of the rest is a defence of evangelicals who he claims are NOT all YECs and it is unfair to tar them as such. and some stuff about RE.
All evangelicals? Those who believe in a young Earth do tend to come from the evangelical wing of the Christian Church, but to tar all evangelicals with the same brush seems a gross generalisation. In my experience of many evangelicals I do not think this is true

Except the Evangelical Alliance seems to print piles of crap from creationists without any checking or comments and not many evangelicals are pushing to distance themselves publicly from it - even when they think it crap!!!

My concerns were his support of Reiss who is at best very naïve about creationism, schools and education and really needs to be far tougher on it not pussy footing around. Reiss was to soft in my opinion.

Also his blindness to the role of 'evangelicals' who as far as I can see do nothing to distance themselves even when they are sane and don't agree. Have any of these high profile evangelicals been writing to the EA for example, pointing out that creationism is a pile of dangerous and dishonest poo that they need to rid themselves of? Are any walking away from creationist churches and stating publicly why they are doing so? Or have they been thinking 'ah well it may be crap but its financially rewarding to keep the nutters in rather than trying to check out the facts and be honourable'

Anyway until I find either Febs magazine or my membership no, I can't comment on the original article. But does anyone know who Micheal Poole is? Or what his involvement in the debate is. Though I sympathise with some of what he says about people not making the distinction between normal Christians who believe in a creator and creationists I can't help feeling that in not distancing themselves more openly from creationists earlier on they must take some of the blame for the fact that Dawkins et al now make it an science v belief debate rather than science v creationism one. Though they to are misusing facts to further an agenda different to the pure anti creationist one, they have been handed that opportunity.
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Re: TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creation

Postby a_haworthroberts » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:17 am

Cathy

I did read a past article by Poole. I think it was probably this one:
http://www.faradayschools.com/wp-conten ... _Poole.pdf

When I did a website search for the recent Williams article at the Association for Science Education website, and clicked on a pdf article that appeared to mention both faith schools and creationism, I got the following message: "Members only.
This area contains information for ASE members who are entitled to view this journal as part of their membership. Please login as a member to view this item. Please note, registering with the ASE will not grant you access to this section. If you would like wider access to member materials, please consider joining the ASE. Please contact info@ase.org.uk if you need assistance".
I didn't try searching for the Poole letter.

The point that Williams apparently implied (wrongly) that all evangelicals believe in a 6,000 year old Earth is a valid one.

However, as Cathy says, many evangelicals tolerate YEC-ism and never criticise it. Though I suspect that this is frequently a result of apathy or ignorance about science - rather than merely seeking to avoid 'division' (should they belong to it the C of E is not exactly united these days) and trying not to 'rock the Christian boat'.

It is something that many people (frequently people who aren't, now if they ever were, evangelical Christians) criticise the Evangelical Alliance for - but in their magazine they seek to be even-handed between young Earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. They publish articles, and allow advertising, from both camps.

More on Mr Poole:
http://www.issr.org.uk/meet-issr-member ... mber_id=92
http://www.montgomerytrust.org.uk/lecturer.php?14
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Re: TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creation

Postby Peter Henderson » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:41 pm

It is something that many people (frequently people who aren't, now if they ever were, evangelical Christians) criticise the Evangelical Alliance for - but in their magazine they seek to be even-handed between young Earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. They publish articles, and allow advertising, from both camps.


Basically, the EA are sitting on the fence Ashley (like many evangelical Christian organisations). Sadly, they fail to recognise the aggressive nature of young Earth creationism (which alienates many Christians) and, as such, provide no leadership on the issue whatsoever.

If I remember correctly, Chapman's Reachout Trust are members of the EA, along with CSM.
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Re: Evangelical Alliance

Postby a_haworthroberts » Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:45 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
It is something that many people (frequently people who aren't, now if they ever were, evangelical Christians) criticise the Evangelical Alliance for - but in their magazine they seek to be even-handed between young Earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. They publish articles, and allow advertising, from both camps.


Basically, the EA are sitting on the fence Ashley (like many evangelical Christian organisations). Sadly, they fail to recognise the aggressive nature of young Earth creationism (which alienates many Christians) and, as such, provide no leadership on the issue whatsoever.

If I remember correctly, Chapman's Reachout Trust are members of the EA, along with CSM.



The latest edition of the EA's Idea magazine carries a back cover advert for Creation Fest 2013 (Creation Fest are members of the EA).

But I am unsure whether and to what extent this event is pushing young Earth or other creationism (though I seem to recall that there was a well-known YEC speaker at the event in 2012 - a certain Mr K Ham).
http://www.creationfest.org.uk/speakers.asp
http://www.creationfest.org.uk/about.asp (I've listened to the three minute video)
http://www.creationfest.org.uk/sessions.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_Fest
http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs ... tion-fest/

So we seem to have either:
- a Christian music festival portraying itself as young Earth creationist;
or:
- a young Earth creationist festival portraying itself as merely a Christian music festival.

Despite the presence of Mr Ham last year (might he have put some people off I wonder), based on the available evidence it looks to me more like Creation Fest 2013 is a Christian music festival portraying itself as young Earth creationist. The organisers sound passionate about teaching the Bible - but they do NOT sound like anti-science extremists.
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Re: TES calls on faith schools to speak out against creation

Postby Brian Jordan » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:36 pm

Well, they state
Statement of Faith

We believe that the Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, without error in the original writing, and the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice.
Which looks a pretty literalist attitude. Then one of their supporting/partnering organisations says
Calvary Chapel

Calvary Chapel is a non-denominational church movement focused on the inerrancy of the Bible and the expository teaching from Genesis to Revelation.
The website is registered to Elliot Wilsher who runs Calvary Design - one of their sponsors. Both he and his wife seem to have their expertise in technology rather than religion and Google brings up nothing creationist about him.
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