Anti-science at a non-faith school (UK)

108


Discussion by: BioDaveO
I teach Science at a secondary comprehensive school in the UK. As part of my teacher training, I previously had to teach at a Roman Catholic School. Having to teach evolution as ‘just’ a theory and the slant on creationism made me angry, however because it was a Roman Catholic school I let it go.

This morning at my current school a member of the RE department gave an assembly to the year 7 tutor groups that presented science in a poor light and was extremely pro creationism! I keep all my opinions on religion to myself at school so as to remain professional. But I don’t see how in the UK as it stands, at a standard state-run secondary school, this is allowed year in and year out! This is not Utah or Texas.. We are not a school with links to the church.

I was so angry I wanted to start asking provocative questions about Flying Spaghetti Monsters just to wind this guy up!

Does anyone know if this kind of thing is allowed in the UK? The legislation I have read seems very ambiguous. If my child sat through that I would take it straight to the governors. I am new at the school and dont want to tread on toes.

Any advice?

108 COMMENTS

  1. That is bizarre.  I was taught evolution many years ago in my science classes by nuns in a Catholic school.  As far as I am aware the official position of the church is that they accept the theory of evolution as true but think that God was behind it somehow. In other words, evolution was God’s method of creation.
    As for the comprehensive school, I think it behoves all teachers to push strongly the scientific viewpoint. I’m an English teacher but I make frequent reference to evolution even in my English classes.  I love science so I often use the latest science articles for literacy practice. Sometimes, a student will say, “That’s just a theory,”  and I explain the difference between a theory and a hypothesis. I make no apology for it if someone says they are offended.  I say there is no point  in being offended by scientific evidence.

  2. I suggest you gather intelligence. What is the attitude of the head, deputy head, head of science, head of biology? How about the governors? Which teacher is the biggest gossip? What gossip is there about the issue? Is there a concerned teacher within a year of retirement who will give you the total socio-political-religious map of the staff because he/she doesn’t give a **** any more? Start by gathering intelligence by listening. Then start asking subtle questions, then start asking direct questions.  When you are sure you can predict the head’s answer, ask for a private meeting and raise the issue.

    You imply you are a young teacher at the start of your career. So I suggest caution. You don’t want to **** a career over an dispute with a religit.

  3. Sadly people don’t become RE teachers unless they are either ‘Science Ignorant’ or ‘Science Deniers’ and in either case wish to perpetuate their deficiency onto a new generation.   It isn’t even a real subject but it has a massive vested interest group behind it.

    • In reply to #3 by N_Ellis:

      Sadly people don’t become RE teachers unless they are either ‘Science Ignorant’ or ‘Science Deniers’ and in either case wish to perpetuate their deficiency onto a new generation.   It isn’t even a real subject but it has a massive vested interest group behind it.

      I think you’re missing the point of religious education. I’m an atheist RE teacher and think that it’s very important to teach the theory of evolution. One of the important purposes of RE is to give people the facts about different religions to let them come to their own conclusions. It’s not about indoctrinating children although sadly I’m sure this does happen.

  4. currerbell
    That is bizarre.  I was taught evolution many years ago in my science classes by nuns in a Catholic school.  As far as I am aware the official position of the church is that they accept the theory of evolution as true but think that God was behind it somehow. In other words, evolution was God’s method of creation.

    While “theistic evolution” is not science, it does include many aspects of the scientific theory. – (see link)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C

    There are of course many Catholics who are ignorant of their own religion and the RCC position.

    Evangi-protestants may just be YECs, but the CofE has a similar theistic evolutionary approach to the RCC.

    @BioDaveO – Have a word with the Lead OFSTED Inspector when they eventually turn up!

  5. As a secondary school science teacher in Canada, I am constantly faced with the challenges of my own colleagues in the science department who are deeply religious (this is a public school, not a Catholic school).  This includes the head of our department, who soothes my students who come to him crying about my teaching them evolution in my biology class.  He basically tells them “There, there, that’s just her opinion”.  I am flabbergasted, first of all, that a science educator can be so deeply religious, and has many times told me he doesn’t believe in evolution.  I am also appalled that my teaching of the science in my area of specialty is being undermined with my students by another teacher.  And he is supported by the rest of our department, who tell me I can’t teach evolution as fact.  Wow!  I continue to resist this view of science teaching, but it has been a few years now since I have been assigned to teach the particular biology course that includes a specific unit of study in evolution.  I wonder why…

    I understand your frustration!

  6. Personally I always find “facts” to be the best
    defense/offense. Lay them out there with cold, hard indifference. Make it
    impossible for the this particular person to tell if you are for, or against his
    views. If he questions you, simply tell him that none of us are entitled to our
    own facts. It is your job to teach only “verifiable” facts because logic and the
    evidence supports them. Perhaps he should consider the doing the
    same.

  7. I’m surprised you had that experience in a catholic school. I was educated in one as was one of my children and evolution was not only taught, it was not disputed. I believe their official, position acknowledges evolution with god’s hand in it (of course). I’m even more surprised by your experience in a state school.

  8.  ” This is not Utah or Texas “

    Really?

    Sounds as if you people need a British National Center For Science Education, NCSE, and quickly, or you could become Alabama and Mississippi!

  9. khynes
    As a secondary school science teacher in Canada, I am constantly faced with the challenges of my own colleagues in the science department who
    are deeply religious (this is a public school, not a Catholic school). 
    This includes the head of our department, who soothes my students who come to him crying about my teaching them evolution in my biology class.  He basically tells them “There, there, that’s just her opinion”.

    This is very unprofessional and incompetent conduct for the ignorant to contradict specialist teaching. I am afraid it is par for the course with the assertive ignorance of religinuts.

    At least in a UK Local Education Authority School, you could take this up with the OFSTED inspectors who check that the legal requirements (including the proper teaching of evolution) are being carried out. 
    They draw up non-optional requirements for improvements where inadequacies are found, and eventually close schools which fail to improve.

    Countering this effective system, muppet politicians have been setting up alternative “academies” and “Free Schools” – That is with governors and management, “free” from LEA supervision and some statutory curriculum requirements. 
    They are being billed as “superior” establishments and are being given preferential funding to help that image!

  10. Everyone knows here that creationism / ID are in the same bag as alchemy and astrology. Doesn’t belong in a science class. An hour explaining the scientific method and its history would be a good introduction to the class. 

    If they want to learn about creationism, they should do this in another class. And also learn about the Hindu, Muslim, Buddhism (and why the hell not, the Ancient Greek and Pagan) views on the matter as well. I was taught evolution in the biology class, and the creationist crap in religious classes. Greek mythology, strangely enough, in philosophy and literature studies.

    Our science teachers were far from inspiring though. A very old fashion scholarly way of doing things, learn facts, recite them at the exam, earn a mark. Getting the students naturally inquisitive in the subject is a far better way, however it depends how flexible curriculums are, which are fairly rigid and dry, from what I gather.

    I am still astonished at the lack of  ‘philosophy’ classes, teaching kids how to think and not what to think. This should be number one on a curriculum, and from a relatively young age. I recall doing that sort of thing only when I was around 15 and onwards at the uni (ethics mainly). Way too late if you ask me. It was actually more interesting than it first appeared. It can potentially cause friction with families, imagine if the kids could start to think for themselves. Shocking! 

    You can have fun in the class though. If a kid tells you evolution is ‘just a theory’ or not true, then explaining what a scientific theory (word that is source of much confusion) would be a good start. Not necessarily attacking creationism head on (negativity is often counter-productive especially on stubborn, spoon-fed minds), but asking them why they think it’s true, why science is not in the business of ‘believing’, why they think evolution is untrue, contrasted to why evolution is the mainstream scientific theory in biology, and has been consolidated, not refuted over the years. What makes an idea true, or ‘more true’ than another competing theory, how to separate the bullshit from the facts, either in science, or everyday life. That kind of stuff.

    Can’t tell you what to do, I’m not in your shoes, nor am I a teacher having to deal with bureaucracy, kids, and parents. It depends on how you feel about taking them on, and fighting hard. That’s potentially a lot of aggravation.

  11. As Richard Dawkins has pointed out in one of his TV series; some science teachers are cowed by religionists as to how to conform with religious twaddle.
    Religious distortion of scientific fact plays a large part in the existence of this rather good blog.

  12. I was fortunate enough to go to a British Grammar School in the 1950s.  Apart from having to take Latin (Ugh) the experience was wonderful.  The unofficial motto was, “Question Everything” and although there was a RE class, the content of which has left my memory, one of the most enjoyable classes was an optional addition to a course in philosophy.  One of the history teachers ran it and the format was that of a rather pretentious debating society.  He would propose a subject, for example, “Should a person who defined himself as a pacifist be exempt from National Service (conscription)?”  We were divided in two groups A and B, 10 or so in each, and the teacher would say, “Team A, you are for the proposal, Team B you are against it.  You have 10 minutes to create your arguments.”
    This simple but “in your face” exercise allowed us to see another persons point of view – while, perhaps, not agreeing to it.  The experience has served me well throughout my life.

    Is it possible in modern British schools to hold similar activities?  You could easily bring up the YEC/evolution debate presented in a non-adversarial (for the school) format.

    I’m horrified that the standard of education in the US and the UK seems to have deteriorated to a level which will not allow our children and grandchildren to be able to make decisions based on a rational, scientific, arguments.  Just at a time when such decisions are most needed.

  13. Recently, there seems to be an anti-science/evolution reaction is stronger than before in some western countries.  My impression is that the organized religion realizes its end will come soon if they do not lie about science and bully those who are not believers in the nonsense. The fact that there are more and more people who abandon Churches is threatening to the organized religion. This is obvious.

  14. Unfortunately for christians like myself. We know all to well that God is being pushed out of education altogether . So may be you should consider that we have to put up with evolution a ‘theory ‘ dreamt up by one man on a hot sweaty boat trip, is now forced upon our children in school from 5 years old. So I shouldn’t get to upset by what you’ve seen, it’s very uncommon but I would like to see more of it.

  15. Thank you for all your advice and opinions (except for johnG78). I have been asking around and the assembly does offend a lot of intelligent teachers including ones in our RE department. I have decided to let it go. I do not see the point in going “on the offensive”. It is a fight that can not be won. Political correctness is a very sturdy shield that people who deny scientific fact and basic logic can use very effectively to protect their own personal agenda. I will teach the scientific facts of evolution in my class room. I will offer my opinion to any student who asks for it. most students at my school are intelligent and independent thinkers who will work out for themselves. I have no issues with people believing in whatever deity they wish to. Most religious people I know including my mother accept the world is billions of years old and accept evolution as fact. In fact most religious heads do. I just take offence at people who do not know what they are talking about saying things that start with.. “scientists can not explain….”. We can… you just chose not to listen

  16. Yes, that’s my opinion too. I teached evolution in a catholic school from the sixties to the nineties. Never had any problem with it. I think only few people — with the exception of the creationists — realized that evolution was not compatible with religion. I must admit that I had not much second thoughts about it in those days. Not until I read Richard Dawkins.

  17. It is good to hear from a Christian.  

    It is about how to find out about our world. 

    When we get sick, we want the pill that science has provided for us.  When we travel, we want to use an airplane to get to our destination fast.  When we need to compute, we use computers. etc etc etc.  However, some of us, when we want to understand life on our planet, we refuse to reason and listen to what science has to tell us.  The same science that has given us so much.  The same science that has found out about our origins not just through fossils but also through genetics.

    I am not against teaching Christianity as long as all religions as well as proper science are taught at schools at the same time.  Islam to be taught by Mullahs, Christianity to be taught by priests, Judaism to be taught by Rabbis etc to avoid bias.   This way children can compare them.  If only one religion is taught at schools, then children will grow biased.  Reason?   If  children (like we were) are born in a Christian environment/country and exposed only to Christian education, they become Christians and also become certain that their  religion is the right one.  If they are born in an Islamic country and expected to take Islamic courses, they become Muslims and  positive that Islam is the right religion.  And, if they were born in a Jewish environment with Jewish education, they end up being convinced that this is the right religion. etc. etc….

     As children grow, let them decide for themselves.  When they are educated (given all this information) this way, they make an unbiased decision as to what to believe in or accept as their worldview.  They should also learn not to accept anything as reality without evidence.  And, they should understand what evidence is.  Evidence is not what we feel we know, or we think we know (Jesus guided me, Muhammad helped me, God has always been guiding me…. These are the same with all religions.  Children dying of disease and hunger or being raped are ignored by the same guiding figure). None of my fellow rationalists is likely to accept this kind of claim.  Nor is evidence of ignorance reason for the existence of one creator ore more creators.  For instance, just because we do not know everything about this world, we cannot jump to the conclusion that this world is created by a creator.  All we can conclude is that we are ignorant about some aspects of  this world at least at this time.   How much do we know compared to 50 years ago.  How much do we know compared to 400 years ago.  How much do we know compared to 2000 years ago??????  A LOT MORE.

    Best of luck.

  18. I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just that much of the bible has been proven to be historically correct, it is not a myth as it is portrayed. Wether you believe in a God or not is your choice, but when the bible is talked about as a fairy story I find this hard to take in, especially when it’s educated people. I just read an article on here comparing Jesus to Father Christmas.

    If school were to teach equally both side of the argument, I have no problem with that. like NoKiddingMan rightly points out we should question or beliefs to see weather it has just been pass on though or upbringing. I want my children to have their own minds myself.

  19. Unfortunately for christians like myself. We know all to well that God
    is being pushed out of education altogether .

    good. If you want to teach your children about evolution then do so. But why should your opinions be imposed on other people. Why should christianity be given some sort of special status?

    So may be you should
    consider that we have to put up with evolution a ‘theory ‘ dreamt up by
    one man on a hot sweaty boat trip,

    two actually. And I suspect the Beagle wasn’t so hot and sweaty in Patagonia. Evolution isn’t a theory in the sense you mean. Evolution isn’t a scientific theory, that is is an explanation heavily backed by evidence. Evolution is as much a fact as relativity and quantum mechanics. It has a better correspondence with the available evidence than Newton’s Laws.

    is now forced upon our children in
    school from 5 years old. So I shouldn’t get to upset by what you’ve
    seen, it’s very uncommon but I would like to see more of it.

    sad. very sad

  20.  

    two actually. And I suspect the Beagle wasn’t so hot and sweaty in
    Patagonia. Evolution isn’t a theory in the sense you mean. Evolution
    isn’t a scientific theory,

    that of course should read

    Evolution is a scientific theory

  21. didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just that much of the bible has been
    proven to be historically correct, it is not a myth as it is portrayed.

    nonsense.

    miracles:
    parting of the red sea, stopping the sun, city walls demolished by musical instruments, talking snakes, virgin birth (a translation error), pillars of salts. These all defy basic science and common sense.

    obvious myths:
    noah’s ark, tower of babel

    quasi historical:
    exodus (no evidence at all)

    unreasonably poorly documented:
    life of Jesus

    contradictory
    genesis creation, gospels

    crazy:
    revalations

    hateful:
    rape, murder, bears eating children, Job,

    silly
    not eating shell fish or rabbits

    so which bits are confirmed by evidence?

     Wether you believe in a God or not is your choice, but when the bible is
    talked about as a fairy story I find this hard to take in, especially
    when it’s educated people. I just read an article on here comparing
    Jesus to Father Christmas.

    most of the bible is myth and a good chunk of the rest unverifiable.

    If school were to teach equally both side of the argument,

    there is no other side. There is evidence based science and there is myth

    I have no
    problem with that. like NoKiddingMan rightly points out we should
    question or beliefs to see weather it has just been pass on though or
    upbringing. I want my children to have their own minds myself.

  22. It’s too easy a target but the past participle of “to teach” is taught not teached.  And there comes part of the problem.  Even the spell checker on this site flags the error.  Sorry ’bout that.

  23. I often wish some Christians would study  science and the history and evaluate their misconceptions about the world.

     

      So may be you should
    consider that we have to put up with evolution a ‘theory ‘ dreamt up by one man on a hot sweaty boat trip, is now forced upon our children in school from 5 years old.

    It’s a bit like putting up with the the “theory or gravity” dreamed up by a fellow called Newton.  That has also been consistently confirmed to a very high degree of certainty and accuracy as well.
    Evolution is the core basis for the sciences of genetics and biology, where it has been reconfirmed tens of thousands of times.

    It’s just that much of the bible has been proven to be historically correct, it is not a myth as it is portrayed.

    No! – I’m afraid it has not, although some people repeatedly make this inaccurate assertion.
    Perhaps you should read some Roman records of history and and some reports on archaeology which are independent of the Bible, and then look at the contradictions in various gospels (included and excluded from the K.J. version)

    Council of Nicaea can refer to: First Council of Nicaea in AD 325; Second Council of Nicaea in AD 787;

    Wether you believe in a God or not is your choice, but when the bible is talked about as a fairy story I find this hard to take in, especially when it’s educated people.

    Perhaps that is because being educated, they have studied history outside of biblical mythology: History where there is no mention of anyone called “Jesus” and no independent record of these supposed spectacular biblical events.

    I just read an article on here comparing Jesus to Father Christmas

    There is actually more evidence for “Father Xmas”.

    If school were to teach equally both side of the argument, I have no problem with that.

    The problem with that is, there are only TWO sides to the argument in your mind.
    Out in the real world, there is the confirmed scientific evidence of the evolution of the Universe, the Solar System and life on Earth, and then there is a huge number of creation myths. 
    I would suggest you buy or borrow this book (The Magic of Reality),  which explains it clearly.  http://richarddawkins.net/foun

    I want my children to have their own minds myself.

    They could choose freely from a whole range of creation myths: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L… , but I would have them study science and learn from the confirmed studies of thousands of honest university scientists rather than tellers of folk tales.

  24. Johng78
    Enjoyed your rants. Perhaps you should read Bone of Contention by silvia baker and see just how many holes there are in the evolution theory.

    Perhaps Silvia Baker should have read some of the 50,000+ university biological and genetic studies to educate herself before illustrating her ignorance.

    Evolution of present day life started about here:-

    Last universal ancestor – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L

    …and is mapped here:-

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F

    Flat Earthists are also sure of their beliefs and work to the same whimsical level of  wishful thinking.

  25. How do you explain this away were all these men idiots as well
    Cornelius Tacitus
    Tacitus lived from A.D. 55 to A.D. 120. He was a Roman historian and has been described as the greatest historian of Rome, noted for his integrity and moral uprightness. His most famous works are the Annals and the Histories. The Annals relate the historical narrative from Augustus’ death in A.D.14 to Nero’s death in A.D. 68. The Histories begin their narrative after Nero’s death and finish with Domitian’s death in A.D. 96. In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’ surname), was executed by Pilate, the procurator of Judea during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberias. Tacitus was hostile to Christianity because in the same paragraph he describes Christus’ or Christ’s death, he describes Christianity as a pernicious superstition. It would have therefore been in his interests to declare that Jesus had never existed, but he did not, and perhaps he did not because he could not without betraying the historical record.
    Thallus and Phlegon
    Both were ancient historians and both confirmed the fact that the land went dark when Jesus was crucified. This parallels what the Bible said happened when Jesus died.
    Mara Bar-Serapion
    Some time after 70 A.D., Mara Bar-Sarapion, who was probably a Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter to his son in which he describes how the Jews executed their King. Claiming to be a king was one of the charges the religious authorities used to scare Pontius Pilate into agreeing to execute Jesus.
    Josephus
    Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born in either 37 or 38 AD and died some time after 100 AD. He wrote the Jewish Antiquites and in one famous passage described Jesus as a wise man, a doer of wonderful works and calls him the Christ. He also affirmed that Jesus was executed by Pilate and actually rose from the dead!

  26. Thanks for letting me know. Never too old to learn. My whole experience with active English comes from two weekends in London and an occasional meeting with an English speaking person. The rest of my knowledge comes from reading (books, internet…). And the spell checker flags with a difficult to see grey line. Would better be red.

  27. Loving the fact that the main arguments for religion are eyewitness accounts.. having worked as a forensic scientist for 4 years I can assure you they are as reliable as a chocolate fire guard! If I trusted eye witness accounts I would believe in ghosts/bigfoot/lochness monster and a whole myriad of mythical beings!
    The fact of evolution (i am choosing to boycott the word theory as many clearly dont understand its meaning) was not just Darwins. His life’s work (not just one boat ride) was pioneering but hundreds of thousands of scientists (including myself) have found evidence and tested the concepts of evolution and not a single one has produced evidence that oppose this theory. To the contrary all evidence supports it!    if anyone found a shred of evidence that contradicts the theory.. creationists would cling to it like a dog to a bone. Instead they quote eyewitness accounts and use misconceived counter arguments that to anyone remotely educated person are insulting. Anyway I better go plan some lessons. Apparently there are a lot of uneducated, highly opinionated, delusional people out there influencing them and it is up to us to try and help them and undo the work of the aforementioned delusional types
      

  28.  
    BioDaveO
    Loving the fact that the main arguments for religion are eyewitness accounts..
    having worked as a forensic scientist for 4 years I can assure you they are as reliable as a chocolate fire guard! If I trusted eye witness accounts I would believe in ghosts/bigfoot/lochness monster and a whole myriad of mythical beings!

    Most of the NT myths are STORIES OF eyewitness accounts.  I do not think even theological scholars think the named “authors” of the gospels actually wrote them decades after supposed events or had personally witnessed anything.

    (Of course there WERE droves of itinerant preachers at that time, and the Romans crucified thousands of trouble makers.)

    There is a discussion of the topic here: –
    The Historical Jesus – http://richarddawkins.net/disc

  29. This Christian obviously is not discussing anything.  He keeps plugging his ears and go la la la la la la la.  He is afraid of being clearly specific and rational even about the references he is giving to us.  In my experience, none of them every could even discuss the fact that belonging to any faith is a matter of chance (environment in which they were born etc.).   When they cannot discuss it, they do not even respond and go la la la la.

    It is true that if reasoning with the religious were easy, there would be no religious at all or very few of them would remain delusional.  However, reasoning is shown triumph at least in the free world.

    Science and reason has been giving religions black eyes for decades.  No wonder the delusion has lead to making up stories, lying, listening to only what is convenient etc.

    However, the responses given both by the religious and rationalists in this blog and the others is useful, because they are going to stay here and can be read any time by anyone.

    Your response is quite logical and also well known fact.

  30.  
    NoKiddingMan
    This Christian obviously is not discussing anything.  He keeps plugging his ears and go la la la la la la la.  He is afraid of being clearly specific and rational even about the references he is giving to us.

    The book he quoted for our “reference” on evolution was published by the “Biblical Creation Society”!  The author is claimed to have a biology degree.

    With sources like that for information, what do you expect? 
    Any specific quotes from that are likely to be demolished in minutes.

  31. Exactly!  By encouraging them  to provide specifics, we demolish their arguments.  This is why they evade answers, as you know.

    I am sure, like myself, you have experienced this many many times.  An uphill battle.  All we can do is to keep presenting the evidence and hope to see some of them react rationally and reason someday.  And, there will be those creationists who live the irrational fantasy till the end.  

    I think our major focus should be mostly younger creationist fellows, who are not aware of neither facts nor their own religion or any other religion.

  32. And,

    2 Kings 2:23-24 NKJV    Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

  33. And,

        However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

  34. And,

        If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years.  Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom.  If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year.  But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him.  If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master.  But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children.  I would rather not go free.’  If he does this, his master must present him before God.  Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl.  After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.  (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

  35. And,

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.  But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.  And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter.  If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife.  If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.  (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

  36. And,

        When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished.  If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.  (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

  37. And,

    Matthew 10:33 – But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think NOT that I am come to send peace on earth: I came NOT TO SEND PEACE, but a SWORD. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

  38. How about this:

        The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.  “But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly.  Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.”  (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)

  39. What about Charles Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus?  What about Alfred Russell Wallace?  What about various other people who anticipated evolution, going all the way back to the ancient Greeks?  Which one are you;— ignorant? or a liar for Jesus? or just an ordinary anti-science religious bigot?

  40. Can’t you understand that all these commentators lived well after the alleged death of Jesus (probably 27 AD). They were not eyewitnesses, just second-hand reporters who were persuaded by the religious hysteria around them, or else forged, or actively a part of the Jesus-fabrication factory.Even Josephus wrote about 90 AD, and his comment, the “Testamonium Flavium” is regarded as a forgery by scholars. Why do we have to keep repeating this?

  41. –ps. In the interet of honesty, why do you not similarly draw our attention to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, a respected Stoic philosopher who had only contempt for Christianity?  What about Celsus?  What about Porphyry?  W hat about Julian “the Apostate”. What about the Arian controversy and all the other controversies,-in which they could not even decide who or what Jesus was, or even if he had existed.  The truth is that the “final” Catholic verion of Christianity was manufactured as a political religion by Emperor Constantine, and his religious advisers, Eusebius and Lactantius.  It is a political religion designed to produce obedience and subservience in the masses; and that is wht it has done.

  42. I once went to an “exhibition” here in Jersey (the real one in U.K.), put up by evangelical Christians.  The walls were covered with photographs of archaeological excavations in Israel, such as at Jericho, Jerusalem, Megiddo, Caesarea etc.  The chief evangelist was an anaemic-looking wet girl who obviously thought that as the above towns actually existed and still do,–therefore Jesus was born of a virgin, died to save our “sins” and was resurrected;–a non sequitur of the first order. We might as well say that because Rome exists, therefore Romulus was fathered by the god Mars, and born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia, and went to join the immortal gods in heaven.
    In other words, there is some true, but garbled, history in the bible, but that does not mean that supernatural events are normal or actually occur, or that Creationism is right and evolution wrong.
    A lot of the bible is myth and metaphor, and therefore “a fairy story”. If Christians are so educated why can they not distinguish reality from imagination?  Do you believe Sherlock Holmes was a real person who lived in Baker Street?–why not?–it is written in a book afterall.
    Not all statements are equally true, and “teaching both sides of the argument” is a fallacy. That is postmodernistic relativism, invented by determined Christians,–just as they have invented the myth of a “controversey” in evolution, and that creationism should therefore be taught as legitimate alongside scientific evolution.  Why are Christians so dishonest?–because they are determined to rule the world, nd your minds as well.

  43. I thought it was Suetonius who mentioned “Chrestos”,–not Tacitus. It is very likely that the fire was started by Jewish Christians who thought of Rome as the “whore of Babylon” and that it should be destroyed by fire. In Roman law, arsonists were punished by being burned alive themselves.
    Pilate was actually Prefect of Judaea,-not Procurator, (an error). It was Pliny the Younger who described Christianity as a “pernicious superstition” in his correspondence with the Emperor Trajan; (how very true); (maybe Tacitus did also, -I don’t know).
    I don’t think Pontius Pilate was that easily scared; he appears to have been a typically ruthless Roman governor.
    As you say, Flavius Josephus was born in 37 AD,;-Jesus may have died in 27 AD;–so wht did he (Josephus) know,-other than hearsay? There were no written records at that time about Jesus, no Gospels no Pauline epistles.  Why did  Philo of Alexandria  not mention Jesus? Philo was much travelled, well acquainted with Jewish affairs, and even attempted to have a sensible interview with the mad Emperor Gaius Caligula in Rome, to complain about the Greek violence against Alexandrian Jews. No mention of Jesus though.
     Josephus, in the acknowledge forged Testamonium Flavium, said about Jesus “even if it is correct to call him a man” (and not  god). Josephus was a good Jew, not an early Christian; he would never have acknowledged Jesus as a Messiah,-divine or otherwise;–and he certainly did not know whether ot not, other than hearsay, that Jesus rose from the dead.

  44. Yes exactly.  Both Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace were dedicated life-long naturalists, observing and recording in minute detail, before putting their findings into print.  What have creationists done that can compare?-  Taken credit for other people’s work, and cherry-picked the bits they like, and ignored or opposed the rest.
    In case you have’t noticed,-Christian creationist fanatics make me sick; why does anyone listen to them? hands off Science!

  45. I still haven’t got over the 6000 survivors of the last battle of Spartacus against the Romans around 71 BCE,-who were then crucified all along the Via Appia.  I expect they all resurrected too and started busily saving each other from “sin”.

  46.  

    chubbygit
    Gravity is as much as a theory as Evolution.

    And like evolved antibiotic resistant pathogens, gravity  “bites” those who try to ignore it! 
    (High altitude “air-walking” by Splatman?)

  47. “pathogens”?! don’t tell me you’ve fallen for the whole “germ theory” thing as well!

    if we’re talking evidence, i think you’ll find gravity does get a mention in the bible (well the words “up” and “down” so close enough) but there’s plenty to suggest the best way to deal with a leprosy is to walk among victims making physical contact which goes totaly against the dogma of these so-called health officials

  48. TheYOUCube
    Its nothing to do with personalities or ‘stupid people’ its about the freedom in the UK to have an act of worship in their assemblies. 

    It has nothing to do with the requirement for non-denominational assemblies in LEA schools, or assemblies in RCC or CofE schools. 
    The RCC and the CofE both support most aspects evolution in their “theistic” versions of it. 
    It is about ignorant people passing off their personal ignorance as education.

    OFSTED aren’t as closed minded as you seem to be so they INCLUDE other people’s opinions. 

    Nope!  OFSTED enforce the proper teaching of science including evolution.  Ignorance should be no part of UK education.

    Besides there’s a categorical contradiction for evolution that makes everything about it wrong:   evolutionary progress, no matter how you dreams up ‘scientific’ excuses for it, needs to reproduce.  When daddy gets excited the sperm leaves the host and cannot ‘report back’ to instigate change in the host.  therefore the reproductive process had to be right first time. 

    Your ignorance of biology and genetics is showing!   Life existed long before sexual reproduction evolved:-  as I linked earlier on THIS  discussion. – http://richarddawkins.net/disc… – and some organisms still reproduce without sexual intercourse.

  49.  

     
    Reginald –
    Not all statements are equally true, and “teaching both sides of the
    argument” is a fallacy.

    .. … .. . Or a false dichotomy.

    That is postmodernistic relativism, invented by
    determined Christians,–just as they have invented the myth of a
    “controversey” in evolution,

    I don’t know if you are aware of this, but it is a much disliked item among postmodernists, because it is so true to life!

    http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    Be sure to read to the bottom of the page!

  50. Yes we are aware that Information Theory (along with neurology) is the latest “in-thing” for creationists to have a go at.
    Well what can I say?-When the sperm leaves the excited daddy, it carries a recipe for making a new infant (along with exciting mummy’s contribution). True there is no feed-back to report on mummy’s inner workings, -but there is no need. What would it be reporting, and to whom or what? The recipe in both gametes. (D & M) contains the DNA which carries information on the state -of-the art embryo to be. Why state-of-the–art?–because it is the present day culmination of millions and billions of years of evolution in which fine-tuning has been honed through natural selection to produce a human embryo which can survive and function optimally; (same with other animals and plants).  So the information in Daddy’s sperm, and in Mummy’s ovum is the optimum expression of function in order to allow a (usually ) successful outcome of producing new life. If there is any feed-back, it is not genetic, but memetic,-ie through Mummy’s choice to continue to put up with that particular daddy to help rear the new growing infant, and to maybe use him again for future pregnancies, (rather than throwing him out and getting a new boy-friend with a different set of genes,  (though of course that often happens anyway)..

  51. Are, well, you see in the Participle market for “to teach” the Gerund is “teaching” and the Past is “taught” same as the past tense, as it happens.  Watch out for kettles and black pots, etc.
    Feckin Feck.  DRINK!!

    (Apologies if you never saw “Father Ted,” – a gem.)

  52.  The Annals relate the historical narrative from Augustus’ death in A.D.14 to Nero’s death in A.D. 68. The Histories begin their narrative after Nero’s death and finish with Domitian’s death in A.D. 96. In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’ surname), was executed by Pilate, the procurator of Judea during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberias. Tacitus was hostile to Christianity because in the same paragraph he describes Christus’ or Christ’s death, he describes Christianity as a pernicious superstition. It would have therefore been in his interests to declare that Jesus had never existed, but he did not, and perhaps he did not because he could not without betraying the historical record.

    You are having a laugh! Christ was Jesus’ surname? He was the son of Joseph and Mary Christ? Mrs. Christ’s boy? Let me educate you…Jesus wasn’t even his name. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name Yeshua a common form of Yehoshuah, we know it as Joshua. Christ is a Greek translation of the word messiah…the anointed one….Yeshua HaMashiach, Joshua the messiah…in Greek, Jesus Christ.

    “If Tacitus originally wrote “Chrestians,” then it becomes possible he was originally writing about rioters who were following the Chrestus who had ginned up riots under Claudius (Nero’s predecessor) as reported by Suetonius (Claudius 25.4), and that later Christian scribes inserted only the line about Christ (that he was killed under Tiberius by Pilate), thus coopting a passage about a completely different group, turning it into a passage about Christians. So when Tacitus says the people punished for the fire are the ones “the public calls Chrestians,” he may have been referring to his treatment of the Chrestian riots under Claudius (which must have been covered in the lost books of Tacitus that covered Claudius’ reign from 41 to 47 A.D., as the date of the Chrestian riot could have fallen in that period, and it is indeed odd that Tacitus does not otherwise mention it: Van Voorst, pp. 31-32).”

    Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born in either 37 or 38 AD and died some time after 100 AD. He wrote the Jewish Antiquites and in one famous passage described Jesus as a wise man, a doer of wonderful works and calls him the Christ.

    The Testimonium Flavianum is suspect and recognised by some scholars as an interpolation like other Josephus references to Jesus. 

    http://www.josephus.org/testim

    He also affirmed that Jesus was executed by Pilate and actually rose from the dead!

    Err! no he didn’t.

    Some time after 70 A.D., Mara Bar-Sarapion, who was probably a Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter to his son in which he describes how the Jews executed their King. Claiming to be a king was one of the charges the religious authorities used to scare Pontius Pilate into agreeing to execute Jesus.

    “Sometime after”? Well you got that right. The after 70 A.D. bit anyway. Scholars place it between 73 A.D. and the 3rd century. It doesn’t mention anything Christian in the letter. BTW, the letter also mentions four other characters of mythology…Achilles, Agamemnon, Priam and Palamedes…but I suppose that matters not when forcing a square peg into a round hole.

    “Let a man, therefore, rejoice in his empire, like Darius; or in his good fortune, like Polycrates; or in his bravery, like Achilles; or in his wife, like Agamemnon; or in his offspring, like Priam; or in his skill, like Archimedes; or in his wisdom, like Socrates; or in his learning, like Pythagoras; or in his ingenuity, like Palamedes;—the life of men, my son, departs from the world, but their praises and their virtues abide for ever.”

  53.  Reginald,

    For the most part I am in agreement with your statement; it is well thought out. I do have an objection to the use of the word optimal. evolution proceeds in a hit and miss basis and does not aim at an optimal outcome. Evolution is not much different than throwing shit on the wall and seeing what sticks. What does stick gets to be around a bit longer until something better comes up.

    One of the reasons people cling to intelligent design is do to the perception that evolution has done such a masterful job at designing humans. As someone once said, if man was a perfect specimen of god (or evolution) why on earth does he have his entertainment area right next to the waste disposal units?

    Our physiognomy like that of other animals is most certainly not optimal, it is just good enough to do the job (for now).

  54. I think optimal is an okay word…as in favoured.

    Evolution is not much different than throwing shit on the wall and seeing what sticks. What does stick gets to be around a bit longer until something better comes up.

    Yes, but the shit with optimal consistency sticks the most, insuring that more of the wall gets covered in that particular shit. The crap crap will fall to the floor. To use your analogy. 

     Natural selection cannot preferentially create optimal variations, nevertheless, it will be those natural optimal traits that succeed and will be passed along due to their success.

    Does that make any sense?

  55.  

    Vmar -  Our physiognomy like that of other animals is most certainly not optimal, it is just good enough to do the job (for now).

    As a physicist once said to me:- ” If an optical lab sent you the average human eye, you would return it and ask for a refund!”

  56. There is no argument.  The process of evolution is observable fact.  Anyone has the right to his/her religion, but that part of your life is the responsibility of your family and religious community.  It absolutely does not belong in my science class.

  57. And evolution is not “progress”…it does not go from worse to progressively better organisms.  In addition, evolution does not happen on the scale of the individual….so it doesn’t matter that sperm cannot “report back to instigate change in the host”.  These statements clearly show a profound ignorance of the science of evolution.

  58. Hi Vimar,
    Thanls for your comment. Though by “optimal” I did not mean  teleological,– ie with the object of attaining  progress towards a perfect goal,–but rather as an adaptation to the existing environmental state.
    Yes I always like that example of unitelligent design; I usually phrase it as –”what sort of civil engineer would construct a sewage outflow in the middle of a recreation area?”

  59.  

    Ignorant Amos,

    Yes, what you say makes sense to me though I must confess
    that your statement “the shit with optimal consistency sticks the most”
    has taken my metaphorical shit to new and more unpleasant levels than I had
    anticipated!!!

    Alan4,

    The human eye observation is interesting as it usually is
    the one thing the intelligent design proponents bring out as the height of engineering
    impossible to create in any random way.

    Reginald,

    I really did not take your comment as a teleological
    argument, perhaps I am overly sensitive.  Too often I have heard Theist talk about both
    evolution and cosmology as a stately and orderly process too perfect and beautiful
    to be a random process. My response is usually; yes the cosmos are beautiful but
    appear stately only in the context of 2,000 years of observation versus 14
    billion of existence.  The cosmos, seen
    over its total existence seems to be more of an explosion with shit(yes again
    with the shit) flying all over the place and banging into each other.

  60. VmarThe human eye observation is interesting as it usually is the one thing the intelligent design proponents bring out as the height of engineering impossible to create in any random way. 

    In marine biology (which is where eye evolution took place initially) there is a whole range of eyes from simple light sensitive patches, light sensitive patches in pits, with modern-day organisms (such as Molluscs) illustrating all the intermediate stages through to complex eyes with irises, lenses and colour vision.  Of course eyes have evolved independently many times in various forms, with some animals such as spiders having more than one type.

    Richard did a video explaining eye evolution on the old site. Here is the link:-
     
    http://old.richarddawkins.net/

    I also put these two comments on the accompanying discussion.

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/

  61. As for Johng78′s claim the “much of the Bible has been proved to historically correct”, I must ask, which bits of the “inerrant word of God” are wrong?  Could it be God holding back the sun for 24 hours so that Joshua could continue with his slaying of the Amorites?  An event unnoticed in far away China where there was a keen interest in the heavens. Nope,  God only held up the sun in the middle east! For the Bible’s authors, there was no rest of the world. They didn’t know. They were ignorant.

    No excuse for modern day liers for Jesus though. They chose to lie, and of course break one of their own bloody Commandments!

    Come on back Johnny! We’ll see your Colt 45s and raise you a Daisy Buster!

  62. I’ve been thinking about this and though I have no evidence other than media accounts and anecdotes from Catholic relatives to support this idea I think the Catholic church might be undergoing something of a cultural war of ideas on science.

    When I went to a catholic high school thirty years ago we were taught evolution by natural selection as an absolute fact. Even the RE teachers supported this view. They would add the official Vatican line about a soul being inject at some point in man’s past but did not deny common ancestry with other apes. Genesis, Noah and such were definitely taught as myth not reality and all religious teaching was done from a meta-physical rather than a literal perspective. 
    So assuming I didn’t by chance go to an atypical catholic school what has changed in the last thirty years? I have a  hypothesis that the Internet and digital has allowed religious memes which had been pushed right out of most of British society to resurface.
    I suspect that the RE teacher you mention is getting all his cues from certain creationist websites and religious satellite channels that pump out disinformation 24 hours a day. If you are a science teacher you really ought to protest about this invasion of your subject area. You are probably aware that this is not part of the national curriculum and your colleague could technically be disciplined if he or she continues to teach this. At the end of the day you are state employees and obligated to teach what the state expects.

  63. Hee Hee….and the same God dropped the Sun from the sky in Fatima, Portugal on 13 October 1917 and witnessed by up to 100,000 folk apparently, with some of them who had non too shabby credentials.

    If the description of what had happened on that day was without religious connotations and had occurred post WW2, it would’ve been a UFO sighting. As it was, it was a miracle.

    It too wasn’t witnessed anywhere else on the planet and the fact that the world didn’t go hurtling off into space and we are all here to talk about it means it too was a lot of religious woo wooist bollocks.

  64. It’s a legal requirement in all English state schools that there should be a daily religious service and that there should be a religious education class. This has equal status with the national curriculum. It’s true that this legal requirement is often flouted. No wonder. Just the same, the RE teacher, or any religious teacher, has the law on his side when he preaches creationism.

  65. aldous
    It’s a legal requirement in all English state schools that there should be a daily religious service and that there should be a religious education class. This has equal status with the national curriculum. It’s true that this legal requirement is often flouted. No wonder. Just the same, the RE teacher, or any religious teacher, has the law on his side when he preaches creationism.

    In a non-faith (LEA) English school there is a requirement to have a non-denominational broadly Xtian  religious assembly.

      The teaching of  RE is also required, but PREACHING ANY PARTICULAR denominational belief or particular religion is not permitted.  This should not be anti-science, nor should any YEC teachings be given. (They are specifically forbidden in science lessons, and the minister has reiterated this point.)
    RE lessons are more based on a comparable study of various religions, but issues are often fudged.

    “Faith schools” do preach a particular denomination or religion as part of their foundation status.

  66. “In a non-faith (LEA) English school there is a requirement to have a non-denominational broadly Xtian  religious assembly. …  The teaching of  RE is also required, but PREACHING ANY PARTICULAR denominational belief or particular religion is not permitted.”

    There is nothing denominational about the doctrine that ‘God’ created the world and us. Those giving sermons in the compulsory religious service in schools are perfectly free to preach this if they choose and, if they obey the law, it’s hard to see how you can conduct an act of Christian worship while avoiding any mention of God . There is nothing to prevent a religious RE teacher from giving a positive view of the role of ‘God’ in creation. Until the law is changed, there is an open invitation to inculcate religious faith. For teachers of a religious bent it’s not just an opportunity but a duty (not in the science class, of course).

  67. aldous 
    There is nothing denominational about the doctrine that ‘God’ created
    the world and us. Those giving sermons in the compulsory religious
    service in schools are perfectly free to preach this if they choose and,
    if they obey the law,

    Those with such inclinations can certainly say prayers,  sing hymns, and praise god legally.

    it’s hard to see how you can conduct an act of
    Christian worship while avoiding any mention of God .

    It is possible for secular teachers to conduct assemblies on social and moral themes, without indoctrination.  I have personally done so in the past.
    In recent years, there is also a widespread disregard of the requirements for Xtian based assemblies. 
    In the large top-graded LEA secondary school where I was a school governor, they did not even have a hall big enough to hold a whole school collective worship assembly.

  68. This is what the UK Department for Education says (2012)

    All maintained schools in England must provide a daily act of collective worship.

    Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human.

    http://www.education.gov.uk/a0

    A course in comparative religion might well be included at secondary school level. However, making Religious Education the platform for considering moral and philosophical questions is religious proselytizing and should have no place in state schools. Religious views would fall within the scope of courses in philosophy and moral philosphy and not the other way round. What is the point of mounting a stubborn defence of an outdated view of the importance of religion. Saying that a law can be circumvented is not a reason for keeping it in place. Religious services and tendentious religious education in state schools are an anachronism, time-wasting at best and an unjustifiable subsidy to churches which are struggling to attract customers on their own merits.

  69. aldous
    A course in comparative religion might well be included at secondary school level. However, making Religious Education the platform for
    considering moral and philosophical questions is religious proselytizing and should have no place in state schools.

    Comparative religion should be started at primary school level to pre-empt proselytizing for one.  In the UK LEA schools it usually is.
    Religious views and their effects at particular times need to be considered in teaching history,  but not in the “goodies v baddies” style as some textbooks supporting religious or political ideologies do. 
    (eg The Protestant -  “Good Queen Bess” – [Elizabeth I] was taught as “Bad Queen Bess”  in Catholic schools.  The Russian history of Stalin has also been rewritten.)

    Religious views would fall
    within the scope of courses in philosophy and moral philosophy and not the other way round.

    Agreed – but the problem with isolating religions and moral philosophy, is that such subjects end up in a department often dominated by the biased dedicated religious, where they can present unchallenged biased views.

    Saying that a law can be circumvented is not a reason for keeping it in place.

    I agree, – but many bad laws have been eventually been dropped or have faded away, (when politicians refused to repeal them) as they became unenforcible because they were widely opposed in the communities.

  70. I’m in year 13 at a catholic school and we were taught evolution as fact and big bang as pretty much fact but still being refined in science as well. Nothing was ever said in RE to throw any doubt on that at all so it must be just some catholic schools?

    I’m doing RS to A level and still nothing at all to throw doubt on what we know about evolution and science. Quite a few of the people who want to be doctors and vets are taking it because of the ethics stuff that they think might help at interviews, so quite a lot of the people are doing A level biology as well. They wouldn’t react well to any anti science stuff.

    So I think it might just be some schools that are a bit dodgy. What do the other science teachers think?

  71. It has better correspondence with the available evidence than Newton’s Laws!!!
    Pithy to the point of laughter Mr Keighley.
    I believe even though the idiocy of political correctness is still trying to prevail; like religion it will suffer atrophy based on reasoning and common sense.
    The meme evolution of a God free world is gathering talented contributors!

  72. Maybe someone should ask more educated hotel owners to replace Gideon’s Bible with the Magic of Reality.
    How about that you Christian(s)?
    Alternatively the writings of D M Murdock on her investigations of religious origins showing that religions are pieces of simpleton mythology .
    I’m curious as to whether Murdock(AcharyaS) has ever made a contribution to this site?

  73. Religious head cases can’t come to terms with THE FACT that the genius observations and reasoning of Charles Darwin changed science and the world.
    The word Theory confuses some thickos to the point where they say Evolution is only a theory!!!
    It’s time to call Evolution a LAW based on vast EVIDENCE!

  74. Hi Mark123,

    I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying school. There is a question that occurs to me, though. What’s the point of a Roman Catholic school if it’s just like any other school? Surely it doesn’t help your education to be  segregated from students of other religious traditions or none?  

  75. I’m really happy to read your comment. 

     Quite a few of the people who want to be doctors and vets are taking it because of the ethics stuff that they think might help at interviews, so quite a lot of the people are doing A level biology as well. 

    What do you say to the humane destruction of animals to relieve suffering on ethical reasons? Then what do you think about the humane destruction of human beings and foetuses to relieve suffering on ethical reasons? What does your RC school espouse on the subject?

    You are at secondary school I presume, so indoctrination isn’t so much an issue as it is at primary level. But I’m guessing you must be subject to some Catholicism of some sort, somewhere in the daily routine, what is it?

  76. Maybe someone should ask more educated hotel owners to replace Gideon’s Bible with the Magic of Reality.

    Whose gonna pay?

    Alternatively the writings of D M Murdock on her investigations of religious origins showing that religions are pieces of simpleton mythology .
    I’m curious as to whether Murdock(AcharyaS) has ever made a contribution to this site?

    Some of her ideas are a bit leftfield…some ideas need taken with a pinch of salt as pure conjecture.

  77.  

    hellosnackbar
    Maybe someone should ask more educated hotel owners to replace Gideon’s Bible with the Magic of Reality.

    It’s a good idea!  Perhaps a review of this experiment would be informative!

    Hotel Replaces Bible With ’50 Shades of Grey’ – http://news.yahoo.com/hotel-re… – Jonathan Denby has decided to remove all the Gideon Bibles from his hotel’s 40 rooms and replace them with the book that’s been dubbed “mommy porn.”

    He made the switch earlier this month at the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District of England.

  78. Sadly people don’t become RE teachers unless they are either ‘Science Ignorant’ or ‘Science Deniers’ and in either case wish to perpetuate their deficiency onto a new generation. It isn’t even a real subject but it has a massive vested interest group behind it.

    Hmm, what an odd idea.  Religion certainly exists.  It is a real phenomenon in the world we live in.  It has a huge influence on the way many people act.  The effects of religion on the world are real and its impact undeniable.  It must therefore be a real subject. 

    My RE teacher (24 years ago) taught me that some people believe this, some people believe that and some people believe the other.  He taught me that by understanding their beliefs i might better understand their actions.  This knowledge has provided me with some very valuable insights.  My RE teacher, an eminently sensible fellow, never taught me that any of it was true.  My RE teacher had been a social scientist before becoming a teacher and was certainly not ‘science ignorant’ or a ‘science denier’.

    I conclude that, done properly, RE is in fact, a very important subject and should not be confused with religious teaching or theology.

    • In reply to #100 by M69att:

      Hmm, what an odd idea.  Religion certainly exists.  It is a real phenomenon in the world we live in.  It has a huge influence on the way many people act.  The effects of religion on the world are real and its impact undeniable.  It must therefore be a real subject. 

      The trouble is not the subject in itself – since the way you describe it is perfectly acceptable – but in the rationale for its compulsory existence on the curriculum. Its rationale is one-sided.

      Allow me to explain: the points you raise could just as easily be invoked for a gigantic host of other subjects, some of which religion comes under as a topic. Subjects with the same claim to having an unavoidable impact on the societies of today – indeed, which are necessary for societies of today, unlike religion – include politics, philosophy (ethics or otherwise), world cultures, economics, psychology, human anatomy and physiology, evolution, anthropology, and sociology. Even global sports like football and cricket could arguably have more impact in the Western world, if not the entire world itself, since there are probably more people who regularly attend or watch matches than go to any kind of religious service.

      Yet these aren’t singled out for special consideration, and one could argue that many of them have a greater claim to universal importance than religious studies. Having RE be compulsory, but leaving the other subjects for optional higher education, is arguably a more unjustifiable opportunity cost than having any of the other subjects in its place.

      In any case, the general attitude in the UK is that religion is a private affair, akin to a personal hobby, a sexual orientation, or a social club. You don’t ask, you don’t tell, and nobody needs to know. I won’t argue for the moment whether this is right or wrong, but given that it is the case, it is inconsistent to devote a slot of time in every school to explaining it: we don’t have equivalent lessons for other kinds of personal hobbies. Indeed, if religion is akin to a personal hobby, then that would be a justification to have “personal hobby studies” to more comprehensively cover the subject.

      If religion is “more important than any other hobby”, then why do we work so hard in our public sphere to exclude it from key issues and convey that it is so unimportant to the public sphere? There are some people who go to church, but then there are some people who attend FIFA games or go birdwatching. In any case, it can’t simply be about numbers because the last census showed a decline in the only religion with any majority impact, all the other religions are still very small minorities, and non-religious people are growing in number, so RE’s importance would consequently have been lessened. In a secular country, religion should be kept out of things precisely because it has no special position in public, so it shouldn’t be taught as though it had any.

  79. In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on
    the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man
    he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’
    surname)

    This just never stops being funny!

    Who is this Mr J. Christ of whom you speak?

    So, was his dad (sorry, step dad ;) Joseph Christ or did he take his name from Mary Christ, his mum?

  80. I conclude that, done properly, RE is, in fact, a very important subject and should not be confused with religious teaching or theology.

    That’s right. That’s why an essential step is removing the legal obligation for an RE class which does not form part of the National Curriculum and is twinned with compulsory daily religious worship.
    http://tinyurl.com/9uvumzyhttp

  81. I had a great RE teacher at school

    Lucky you! The issue is not whether you fall into the hands, so to speak, of a reasonable teacher or not, but the legal requirements which expose school students to abuse. It’s essential to remove the god slot from state-funded schools.  

  82. Yes!  I agree.  Either children are exposed to all religions as well as proper science such as evolution.  Or, the religion is taken out of schools without teaching them censured science (evolution), and without banning science.  Without science we would not be where we are now.  However, without religion many people would have survived murders 
    committed and being committed  for religion today.

  83. Hi Ignorant Amos – we’re following the Edexcel A level religious studies which covers more than just the RC faith so its difficult to answer your question in terms of just the RC position. Ethics was a topic studied in year 12 as part of the philosophy of religion and was more concerned with generic ethical concepts  like utilitarianism or situation ethics rather than specific examples like animal welfare. The real life ethical dilemmas we used as examples were war and peace and the law. Stuff on animal rights and abortion has been conspicous by its absence.  The UCAS forms are only just going in from the medics and vets so not sure whether it will help as much as they think, however one of last years vet applicants used the ethical concepts generically to answer his animal welfare/ethics question. 

    We are exposed to catholicism though. We have to attend mass once a term and on holy days. We have a religious rather than non religious christmas service (we sing carols only). Our gcse RE used catholicism rather than general christianity as its christian religion to be studied.  

    However we were taught how to use contraception to avoid pregnancy and STDs and we learnt about STDs. Other than that it is difficult to judge as I’ve never been in a non catholic school. I can say I’ve never had the experience the original teacher reported of evolution being questioned in science or RE. I can also say I like my school and have never been pressurised to believe or become a catholic myself.

  84. Hi Aldous, I don’t know is the simple answer to your first question. My parents chose it because it was a  good school with good gcse and A level results.

    In answer to your second question, only about half of my year is catholic and not many of them are very devout. Most don’t seem to go to church as far as I can see, though some do. I’m not catholic and neither are my parents.

    So I don’t really notice any segregation as there are  Muslims, Hindus and other christian sects as well. 

    Lower down the school the percentage of catholics is increasing so that may become an issue for the younger kids.

    So I don’t know what the point of catholic schools is particularly.

  85. The reason for the circumstance posed by the original post
    is due to the country going from a homogenous society to a multicultural
    society. The country formed intertwined with the Catholic Church, and through
    the reformation, printing advancements, science advancement and theological
    advancements, over the centuries the belief in god became lacks, personal, undefined
    and open to satire. With the advent of multiculturalism came new beliefs and
    practises, and as the concepts of racism and discrimination grew with the
    increasingly multicultural society, beliefs became an important part of identity
    and written into democratic law.

    The theory of evolution would be taught more deeply and
    widespread in this country if it weren’t for multiculturalism because the
    issues of raise and discrimination wouldn’t have applied to the homogenous Christian
    faith as they do now. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just one of the pros and cons
    that arise out of everything.

    Personally, I don’t see how evolution can be viewed as a theory
    opposed to the religions simply because the evolution of all the religions can
    be explained by it, which is what should be taught in schools, how they all formed
    and played a part talking mankind from the hunter-gatherer to the modern era, after
    that, it would be hard to choose a belief in one when it’s viewed as a link in
    a chain. 

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