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Who Are The Bigots?

Commentary by Roger Oakland
www.understandthetimes.org

For several decades, a raging controversy has been occurring throughout North America. Scientists and educators, claiming that the theory of evolution is fact, have been challenged by individuals and organizations favoring a creationist worldview.
                                     
              
Evolutionists say creationists are dangerous and have the potential to force science back into the dark ages. Creationists demand the right to challenge evolutionary theory. Just because a fact agrees with the biblical view of origins does not make the fact religious, they say.

This emotional and heated controversy has spilled over to other parts of the world. In March of 2002, I had the opportunity to be in Northern Ireland on a 16 day speaking tour on the topic of creation. While I was there, secular newspapers reported on the creation-evolution controversy daily. The senior staff at Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead, a school in Prime Minister Tony Blair's constituency, had been accused of the unthinkable. They had "delivered a series of lectures giving teachers' tips on how to encourage students to question the theory of evolution."
1 

Secular campaigners were furious, appealing to scientists, philosophers and "church leaders" to join forces. Articles published in several different newspapers explain the nature of this battle. Creationism in schools 'leads to more bigotry' one headline read.
  Another stated: Creation theory is creeping into UK schools. Should we be worried? Yes, says science. 3

A number of prominent British citizens expressed concern about the "religious" creationists. Dr. Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, said: "Historians of science note how quickly the late Victorian Christian public accepted evolution. It is therefore quite extraordinary that 140 years later, after so much evidence has been accumulated, a school in Gateshead is opposing evolutionary theory on alleged biblical grounds. Do some people really think that the world scientific community is engaged in a massive conspiracy to hoodwink the rest of us?"
4

Dr. Neal Chalmers, director of the Natural History Museum in London, stated: "Creationism is quite literally incredible. One might argue it would be good for schools to subject creationism to rigorous critical analysis by their students if only to reveal its total inability to explain history of life on Earth. But there must be limits to how far we ask our schools to devote their precious time to the teaching of error." 

The strongest voice came from the Oxford professor of The Public Understanding of Science, Richard Dawkins. As an avowed atheist and prominent spokesperson he authored "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design. In an attempt to rally his evolutionary colleagues, Dawkins wrote an article in The Daily Telegraph, March 18, 2002, in which he expressed his view that creationism is a threat to "good science and "good religion."

Warning the public about the potential threat Bible believing creationists pose to society, Dawkins categorized people into three groups: Bible believing creationists; religious people who say that God used evolution to create; and atheists or agnostics who reject a Creator entirely.

While Dawkins stated that he had done a lot to fight Bible believing creationists with science, he is concerned his efforts may have been in vain. In his article he appealed to theistic evolutionists, men like the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. He stated: "Over to you, gentlemen. Power to your elbows. If there is anything I can do to help, you'll find me lying low, with my head down. With the best will in the world, I seem to do more harm than good. It's somebody else's turn."
6

It is obvious the creation-evolution furor in the UK is not about to go away. However, the newly formed atheist-theist evolutionary alliance may soon have another problem to deal with. Over the past ten years I have met hundreds of intelligent young men and women in the former Soviet Union who have rejected evolution. For over seventy years, evolution was presented there in the guise of scientific atheism. Since the collapse of communism, many educators have realized that indoctrination is not true education. Freedom to think and ask questions produces students who are critical and analytical; inevitable, some become creationists. Evolutionists in the UK have not seen anything yet. Another evolutionary challenge looms on the horizon for them.

Science that cannot be supported by observable evidence and repeatable experimentation is not science. A scientific theory should always be open to testing. If evolution cannot be challenged, then it is nothing more than a dogma. Some have predicted that evolutionists may become even more outspoken in the future. Would that mean that creationists would have played a role in creating evolutionary bigots?


Footnotes:
1. Creationism in schools 'leads to more bigotry" Independent, March 19, 2002
2. Ibid.
3. Robin McKee and Martin Bright, In The Beginning, Observer, March 17, 2002
4. Ibid
5. Ibid
6. Richard Dawkins, The Daily Telegraph, March 18, 2002, page 20
 

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