The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly has had a motion presented before it, and discussion will occur sometime next week. This motion is practically identical to the motion previously proposed, on which AiG reported before (European legislators see through committee report? and European Legislators Withdraw Resolution). The new version of the motion has been proposed by Mme. Anne Brasseur, a Liberal parliamentarian from Luxembourg.
The Council of Europe is a body whereby politicians from all over the continent of Europe can meet. Including 47 nations, it has no legislative power and should not be confused with the 25-member European Union. If the motion is passed, it will have no legal effect on the legislation of any member state—though it may have a strategic influence.
Our criticism of the motion remains the same as before, since the motion is largely unchanged. The motion includes language which is inflammatory, unscientific, uninformed, and undemocratic. For example, article 3 of the resolution reads:
The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education. Creationists are bent on ensuring that their ideas are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.
This article can be criticised in almost every phrase.
- The article makes no differentiation between Muslim and Christian creationists.
- The incorrect charge that the prime target of present-day creationists is to include creationist ideas in science education.
- “Creationists are bent on ensuring ...” is hardly a balanced use of language.
- No reason is advanced for why the proposer of the motion believes that creationism is not a scientific discipline.
The quality of the resolution is, even by atheist, evolutionary standards, very poor. These are unsubstantiated statements, while no balancing scientific thought is included. In view of this, Answers in Genesis (UK/Europe) has written to Mme Brasseur, as follows:
Dear Mme. Brasseur:
Your forthcoming resolution on creationism is based on incorrect, unsubstantiated, and unscientific reasoning.
For example, the resolution states: “The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.” It might be helpful, therefore, to list at least three such facts that support evolution. Actually, there are no facts in support of evolution—just suppositions.
Moreover, your resolution fails to distinguish between Muslim and Christian positions, deliberately characterising them as the same. If you were to examine only Christian creationism, then you would find that the statement “some people call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of the theory of evolution” is simply not true.
You state: “Advances in medical research with the aim of effectively combating infectious diseases such as AIDS are impossible if every principle of evolution is denied. One cannot be fully aware of the risks involved in the significant decline in biodiversity and climate change if the mechanisms of evolution are not understood.” Again, none of this is true. Not a single one of the advances that you mention requires a belief in evolution. Mutations of AIDS viruses have nothing to do with evolution. Nor is decline in biodiversity an example of evolution.
The intemperate language of your motion is breathtaking. In fact, far from trying to defend human rights, your motion seeks to remove human rights from Christians. Your quotation of the position of the Pope is irrelevant, because most Christians in the UK and across northern Europe do not accept the authority of the Pope. Nevertheless, there are also many Catholics who do not believe in evolution, and Pope Benedict has made statements critical of the theory of evolution, which your resolution strangely fails to quote.
If you are really interested in advancing human rights, you might have done well to contact Christian creationist groups, most notably my own organisation, which is by far the largest Christian creationist group in Europe, and which, incidentally, never attempts to send unsolicited materials into schools, unlike a number of atheist, evolutionary groups. However, if you wish to rectify these matters, I am always available for reasoned discussion at the phone numbers listed below. If I were to critique all sections of your resolution, this email would become far too long. However, I can indeed supply a detailed criticism of every statement made in your resolution, if asked to do so.
Paul Taylor, B.Sc. Med