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UK mandates teaching that natural biological processes explain origins of life on earth.
The government of the United Kingdom just made the British Humanist Association very happy by tightening restrictions concerning what can and cannot be taught in any school that receives state-funding. Actually, the teaching of creation science in such schools was already prohibited, but the Humanists have continued to clamor for greater restrictions. While we at Answers in Genesis have never suggested creation science be required teaching in government schools of any country, we believe teachers and students should have the academic freedom to openly discuss the scientific difficulties with evolutionary claims. The wording of the new regulations will not only stifle academic freedom but effectively define the religion that must be taught.
The British educational system provides funding for many independent- and church-run schools, called free schools and academies. Church schools can become academies in order to take advantage of educational funding. But government money always comes with strings attached. In this case, churches and parent groups that wish to run their own school but utilize public funds, under the new “Church Supplemental Agreement,” must completely relinquish control over the science and religious teaching concerning origins in their schools.
In effect, the UK is telling these schools that they can teach any religious doctrine they wish so long as they teach the religious philosophy of evolutionism in the science classroom and exclude student exposure to the scientific flaws in the evolutionary model. And if perchance any form of “creationism” is actually part of a sponsoring church’s doctrine, the school can only discuss this doctrine if they tell children that its doctrinal position is scientifically untenable.1
“Teaching creationism” is defined in the UK educational regulations not as teaching a biblical view of science or even an intelligent design view of science. Rather, “teaching creationism” is defined as in any way denying the sufficiency of natural evolutionary processes to explain all of biology. Specifically, the regulations state:
Creationism . . . is any doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution.2
Therefore, not only is it now illegal for science teachers in state-funded schools to demonstrate that scientific evidence, stripped of evolutionary interpretations, is actually consistent with creation science, but they may not even hint that evolutionary claims are insufficient and inadequate. Teachers cannot tell them that evolutionary biology cannot explain the origin of life from non-living chemicals through natural processes. Teachers cannot tell them that biological observations have never shown any kind of organism acquiring the genetic information to become a new kind of organism. In other words, not only can teachers not expose children to the truth, they must declare to them that the lie of evolution is unquestionable and unquestionably true.
The new regulations codify a statement of belief on the part of school leadership, for it explicitly states that “the parties” in the document (i.e. the school leadership) agree that a “broad and balanced” education must obviously exclude “creationism”—which is defined as any belief that questions evolutionary claims! The document reads:
The parties further recognise that the requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.2
In effect then, any school official who signs this agreement in order to receive public educational funds must not only agree to obey the restrictions but affix his or her signature to a document declaring agreement that the restriction is entirely appropriate. They are declaring that they agree with those who reject God’s role as Creator and God’s Word’s account of Creation. They are declaring that they have no qualms about the sufficiency of evolution to explain all of biology. They are declaring that they are ignorant of the fact that the actual observations of science—stripped of evolutionary presuppositions—are consistent with the biblical accounts of our origins and history.
The document ironically indicates, then, that the UK government and educational leaders believe that a “broad and balanced” education should prevent students from being taught the critical thinking and discernment that would enable them to see the flaws in evolutionary claims and the distinction between Two Kinds of Science?
The terminology in the UK schools document is carefully crafted so as to designate creation science solely as a religion, a belief system, an “ism”—creationism—while at the same ignoring the religious nature of “the scientific theory of evolution.” Our origins were not observed by any scientist. Therefore any conclusions we draw about our origins depend on which worldview we embrace: one in which the eyewitness account provided by the Creator is acknowledged as authoritative or one in which God’s Word is rejected and replaced by man’s fallible opinions. Belief in molecules-to-man evolution is thus rightly considered an “ism”—evolutionism—dependent as it is on a person’s belief system and worldview. In effect then, by enforcing the teaching of evolutionism as undeniable and banning any positive mention of creationism regardless of the doctrinal position of the school’s sponsors, the UK regulations require church schools needed their portion of public funds to subscribe to the government-designated religious position.
The UK guidelines governing the way science is taught in state-funded schools misrepresents the scientific method. It states that creationism does not:
accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory.
The scientific method is the process by which testable hypotheses are evaluated through repeated observations and controlled tests. The time of our origins is past. The scientific method can only gather information and lead to testable conclusions about the testable present. The application of that information about the present is then used to evaluate worldview-based ideas about the unobservable past. Observational science does not support the key claims of evolutionism—the notion that life evolved from non-living chemicals through natural processes and that increasingly complex life organisms evolved from a common ancestor through natural processes—as these things have never actually been observed using the scientific method. However, observational science—information obtained through the scientific method—is completely consistent with historical science based on the information provided in God’s Word.
No scientist was present at the time of origins to document what happened. Knowledge of our origins requires resorting to a reliable historical record. The Word of the Creator God is such a historical account and as such allows us to correctly evaluate claims about out origins. Those who reject God’s Word rely instead on their own presuppositions but cannot actually use the scientific method to make any valid conclusions about origins.
Creation scientists do, however, utilize the scientific method! Creation science—the belief that science, in order to be accurate, must be consistent with the Bible—is used to make accurate scientific predictions. Many Bible-believing scientists relied on their biblical worldview to predict and discover scientific laws we take for granted. That tradition continues today. We recently posted an article documenting many instances in which Bible-based predictions have been the basis for scientific discoveries. Thus, the UK law is simply wrong. Evolutionism is actually unsupported by the scientific method with respect to origins science, and creation scientists are quite able to utilize their biblical belief as the basis for scientific discoveries in the present utilizing the scientific method.
The British Humanist Association has been campaigning since 2011 to achieve this secular triumph. Pleased with the latest achievement, the British Humanist Association now plans to push to get more evolutionary teaching into other arenas and to particularly push for more “inspections” of non-state-funded schools.3 That proposal harbors enormous opportunities to coerce schools that have chosen to not accept government money to ultimately toe the party line anyway.
The UK’s educational policy does not promote the development of critical thinking in students because it “protects” them from seeing the difference between observational scientific data and the worldview-based evolutionary historical spin put on it by evolutionary adherents. Schools that need their portion of the public educational funds to keep their doors open must relinquish their freedom to the detriment of their students.
None of this is a surprise, as governmental gifts always tether the recipients to government control. But it is instructive to examine the codification of the new “established church of evolutionism” in the country across the water, from which many of the original American colonists once fled in their efforts to practice their minority religions and train up their children freely, without requirements imposed by the government-established church. In this century there is danger that America will follow the lead of the UK, but we hope that more states will follow the lead of Louisiana and Tennessee and allow teachers and students the freedom to openly discuss the controversial claims of evolutionary science.
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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.