There has been a recent petition and counter petition to the Prime Minister that has brought the issues of Creationism and Darwinism to the fore again.
Those who are familiar with this blog will know that I have posted on the topic of faith and science and Darwinism in particular several times. Check my archives under "faith and science" if you want to see what I have had to say.
In this particular case I have not signed the petition. Not because I don't have strong feelings on the subject of faith or science - as a Christian with a first-class honours degree in Physics, I care about both - but because the petition is primarily about faith schools. Something I am ambivalent about. It is people who have faith, not institutions. I did not attend a faith school, and I don't know much in the way for or against that would persuade me to petition the Prime Minister about them. People should have the freedom to make up their own minds on scientific theories and the claims of Jesus Christ, regardless of what type of school they attend.
The original petition, despite its emotive wording and obvious atheistic bent, basically said that creationism should not be taught as science in schools. This may come as a shock to some, but I actually agree with that statement!
Don't get me wrong. I believe absolutely that the Universe was created in a literal seven days by the one true living God as revealed in the pages of the Bible. But I believe this not because of any scientific theories I have studied, or which school I attended, but on the basis of my own personal faith in Jesus and in the authority of the word of God.
Simple logic dictates that if the Genesis account is true, then the act of creation was a miraculous act by the hand of God himself. It can no more be explained by science than how Jesus rose from the dead, walked on the water, or turned water into wine. To attempt to come up with scientific explanations for the miraculous acts of the divine hand is both foolish and futile.
Faith and science are not enemies, but they are distinct. Faith should be taught as faith, and science as science. They are not mutually exclusive. When did you last hear the argument that Shakespeare should not be taught at school because it is not scientific? The Genesis account does not need to be scientific to be true. Nor does it need any scientific bolstering to make it more acceptable. It stands on its own merit.
The opposite side of the scale is where the problem with Darwinism lies. I don't have any problem with evolution being taught in schools. Indeed how can you argue against what you are ignorant about? There is much good science bundled up with Darwin's speculative nonsense about the Origin of the Species. Where the problem lies is when it is presented not as theory but as unquestionable fact. It then crosses the line from science into dogma.
Having said all that the counter-petition is worded well, and is careful to promote the teaching of creation rather than creationism. But it doesn't change the fact that both these petitions are primarily about faith schools, and concerns about them setting their own scientific curriculum. If you care deeply about faith schools then by all means sign the petition, but if you don't then don't feel obliged to respond in a knee-jerk way. Save your energies for the real battle.
"Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." (Isa 8:12-13)