Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The British Centre for Science Education and more cuttings

Many readers will be familiar with the USA's National Center for Science Education, which has battled tirelessly for over a quarter of a century against the teaching of creationism and its more politically polished progeny ID in American public schools and has provided scientific support in key court cases, particularly the Kitzmiller versus Dover trial.

But now the UK has its own British Centre for Science Education (note original non-Websterian spelling and recognition that we are not the only nation in the world ;-) 

The BCSE is currently a volunteer-run single issue pro-science pressure group dedicated solely to keeping creationism and intelligent design out of the science classrooms in publicly-funded schools in the United Kingdom. BCSE membership is open to all who support our aims irrespective of religious or political affiliations and consists of professional and managerial people from all walks of life. You can join it for free, although donations are welcome. I have just signed up. 

Check out the BCSE's website on which it tracks leading creationists and creationist organizations, particularly those active in the UK and provides advice and resources for British teachers. 

Also take a look at the BCSE's blog:
And while we are on the subject here is some of my  prose that got cut from the Introduction to the Rough Guide to Evolution on grounds of being boring or pompous. Were we right to cut it? :-)
"As a brand name, Darwin is all around us—as the name of a racehorse, as part of the Mac operating system, as a character in the Wild Thornberries or the Marvel universe, as a ward in the British soap opera Holby City or as an XML standard. Darwin is commemorated by mountains on four continents, by craters on Mars, the Moon and Earth, in a Cambridge college, a Falklands settlement and an Australian city and university. He even has his own MySpace site!"

"The creationist contagion has now spread beyond American Protestant fundamentalism to infect the Islamic world and even the UK, where according to a recent poll, 39% supported creationism or intelligent design. In addition, the issues are clearly personalised—according to one Islamist video, Darwin himself is to blame for Hitler’s Holocaust and for Stalin’s gulag archipelago."

"In the Darwinian struggle of ideas, never in living memory has there been such an urgent need to defend science and enlightenment values—rationalism itself has never been so threatened since Leonidas and his three hundred held the pass at Thermopylae. "

"Evolution unifies biology with history. As Jamaican orator Marcus Garvey once said “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. In revealing and explaining the fascinating richness of life and its history, evolution provides the ultimate creation myth, the greatest story ever told. That the vast mass of humanity should remain ignorant of their own evolutionary history, and of the grand trajectory of life on this planet, is as unthinkable as leaving our children ignorant of Thermopylae, Magna Carta, the Emancipation Declaration, Auschwitz or the Normandy landings." 

"And the long lapse of evolutionary ages past stands as a sharp pin to prick the irresponsible arrogance of those fundamentalist Christians who believe in some immanent messianic apocalypse in which they will “raptured away” from this world and any responsibly for it. Instead, a proper analysis of the evolutionary record brings us face to face with the terrifying reality of global climate change and mass extinction."

Kennedy once said: “Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free”. While much of humanity is still shackled in ignorance of our common ancestry with each other and with the rest of the biological world, Darwin’s message is more relevant than ever before—our proudest hope is to be a Darwinian!""

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