A committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe—Committee on Culture, Science, and Education, which reports to the Council of Europe—published a report, with a draft resolution, entitled The dangers of creationism in education. The Council of Europe—not to be confused with the European Union—is an umbrella grouping, whereby government officials from 47 European countries can meet.
In the summary of The dangers of creationism in education, the report’s principal author—Guy Lengagne, a French Socialist—states:
Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design,” is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.
Lengagne is making a clear value judgment about creationism, but the report does not go on to justify his use of words such as “pathetic.” Many of Lengagne’s criticisms of creationism are familiar to the point of contempt. For example, he asserts that “creationism ... was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon.” Even if this were so, it cannot of itself be an argument against a theory that it may have come from America (of course, to a French Socialist, perhaps everything American is bad by definition). However, the assertion is not correct. Creationism stands squarely on a belief in the Bible—the same belief as that of ancient theologians, as well as more recent ones. Moreover, it is significant that many important and foundational discoveries and advances of modern science were made by men who believed the Genesis account to be true—men like Newton, Faraday, Lister, Boyle, and Pasteur (see The Creationist Basis for Modern Science).
The report attempts to define creationism. In doing so, they have clearly failed to engage with creationist literature or contact creationist organizations.
The report attempts to define creationism. In doing so, they have clearly failed to engage with creationist literature or contact creationist organizations. Why, for example, as the media spokesperson of Europe’s largest creationist organization, did the report’s author not contact me? If he had, he would not have made the very common error of accusing creationists of believing “God created each plant or animal species individually.” We have refuted that false accusation many times. (see Variation within created kinds).
Lengagne’s understanding of evolution is not much better. For example, he makes this extraordinary claim:
How, for example, can advances be made in medical research with the aim of effectively combating diseases like AIDS if every principle of evolution is denied? Basically, evolution pervades all medical research. How can we consider living in a world without medicine? That appears absurd, but removing the teaching of evolution from the curriculum, as advocated by the creationists, could result in a considerable reduction in, if not the end of, medical research.
This is contrary to the opinion of our own Dr. Tommy Mitchell, a medical internist. Reporting on when he asked his medical colleagues about how much use evolution was to their practice, he said:
Regardless of any individual’s particular religious persuasion (many of my colleagues are avowed atheists or theistic evolutionists who mock me for my young-earth creationist stance), not one example could be put forth of the need for evolution (or belief in its tenets) in order to practice modern medicine (see Evolution and Medicine).
Indeed, it can be argued that an evolutionary bias has hindered medicine. Think of how many organs of the body used to be considered as useless leftovers of evolution—the so-called vestigial organs. Uses for most of these have now been found, and the remaining vestigial organs are really only those whose use has not yet been discovered.
Lengagne views creationists as sinister. “The creationist movements posses real political power,” he says. Where is this power? One government official in Poland recently expressed dislike for evolution and was criticised by his own party for so doing. But Lengagne is not one to let the facts get in the way of a good rant. After all, he describes creationists as “definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights.” How is this possible? What evidence does he have for this extraordinary claim?
The answer is, of course, that there is no such evidence, because it is nonsense. Like so many others, he is offended by creationism, perhaps because to engage with it involves facing up to the fact that he is answerable to the Holy God revealed in the Bible. It is this same attitude that causes protesters to bother to oppose one museum in Northern Kentucky, despite the dozens of museums that agree with their evolutionary bias. Our concern as Christians, however, should be this: it is a common ploy of totalitarian regimes to argue that their restrictions are, in fact, a necessary protection of human rights. Thus, if the Council of Europe can argue that suppression of biblical truth is necessary for “human rights,” then our rights can be eroded. Every citizen of every Council of Europe member state had best be on their guard. If, in the future, European legislators are really convinced by this disingenuous report, then they have way too much time on their hands. [Ed. note: The Council, in fact, dismissed the report (“for reconsideration”) without voting one way or another on it last week; however, they did leave open the possibility of voting on it later. Lengagne was apparently upset by this, saying that it was basically dead. See also News to Note, June 30, 2007, item 2.]