Truth in Science

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Truth in Science is a United Kingdom-based creationist organization which promotes the Discovery Institute's "Teach the Controversy" campaign, which it uses to try to get intelligent design creationism taught alongside evolution in school science lessons. The organization promotes the idea their opponents view as false that there is scientific controversy about the validity of Darwinian evolution, a view rejected by the United Kingdom's Royal Society and over 50 Academies of Science around the world.[1][2] The group is affiliated with the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement, following its strategy and circulating the Institute's promotional materials.[3]

Organization[edit]

According to the Truth in Science website the organization is run by a Board of Directors who are advised by a Council of Reference and a Scientific Panel. As of 20 June 2007 these are listed as follows

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Stephen A. Hyde (Chairman)
  • Professor Andrew McIntosh,[4] Professor of Thermodynamics at the University of Leeds, a Christian and creationist.[5]
  • Phillip Metcalfe (Vice Chairman), a Christian publisher.
  • John Perfect, a teacher.
  • Maurice Roberts, Minister of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and former teacher of classics.

Council of Reference[edit]

  • Stuart Burgess, Professor of Engineering Design at Bristol University, has a Diploma in Theology from the London Reformed Baptist Seminary (of the Metropolitan Tabernacle),[6] and is a creationist.[7]
  • John Blanchard, Christian author of popular books including Evolution: fact or fiction? Has Science Got Rid of God? and Does God Believe in Atheists?
  • Gerard A. Chrispin, A lawyer and director of Daylight Christian Prison Trust.
  • George Curry, Minister of Elswick Parish Church (St Stephen and St Paul), Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • David Harding, Pastor of Milnrow Evangelical Church, Lancashire.
  • Dr Russell Healey, teacher of mathematics.
  • Derek Linkens Professor and Dean Emeritus, Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield.
  • John MacArthur Pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California
  • Albert N. Martin Pastor Of Trinity Baptist Church, in Montville, New Jersey
  • Steve Taylor Professor in Micro and Nano Technology at the University of Liverpool

Scientific Panel[edit]

Critics[edit]

The majority of scientists do not consider the conclusions of intelligent design to be scientific.[8] The National Science Teachers Association and others have termed intelligent design a pseudoscience,[9] and some have termed it junk science.[10] No scientific evidence in support of the intelligent design hypothesis has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.[11]

Information pack[edit]

In September 2006, Truth in Science sent resource packs on intelligent design to the heads of science of all United Kingdom secondary schools.[12] According to New Scientist, 59 schools around the United Kingdom used, or planned to use the Truth in Science information packs.[13] The New Scientist article stated that Truth in Science circulated the material with the intention of countering the teaching of evolution in science classes, and that the information packs "promote the notion that life on Earth was created through intelligent design, a euphemism for the biblical story of creation".

The BBC News website reported the reaction to the information packs from the United Kingdom Department for Education and Skills: "Neither creationism nor intelligent design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum. The national curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught that the fossil record is evidence for evolution, and how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction."[14] -- DfES Spokesperson, BBC News.

Speaking in the House of Commons, on November 1, 2006, The Right Hon. Jim Knight, Labour MP for Dorset South,[15] and Minister of State at the Department for Education and Skills, the Minister for Schools, criticised Truth In Science, their information packs, and intelligent design creationism, citing them as unsuitable for the United Kingdom science curriculum. In answer to a question regarding what the Secretary of State for Education and Skills would do in response to the information packs, Knight said:

"Neither intelligent design nor creationism are recognised scientific theories and they are not included in the science curriculum, the Truth in Science information pack is therefore not an appropriate resource to support the science curriculum. The national curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught: how uncertainties in scientific knowledge and scientific ideas change over time; the role of the scientific community in validating these changes; variation within species can lead to evolutionary changes; and, similarities and differences between species can be measured and classified,"[16]

-- Jim Knight [holding answer 18 October 2006] 1 Nov 2006 : Column 456W

Criticism[edit]

Religious[edit]

In December 2006, Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, said: "Everything needs to be explored, so that children can ask sensible questions. Though I see no huge difficulty with exploring intelligent design or creationism or flat Earth, they happen to be misguided, foolish and flying in the face of all evidence. I see no problem with Darwinian theory and Christian faith going hand in hand",[17] -- Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark, The Times, December 2006.

Ekklesia, a United Kingdom theological think-tank accused Truth in Science and the advocates of intelligent design of misrepresenting the bible, and that creationism and intelligent design are not on par with accepted scientific theories. According to one Ekklesia contributor, Geologist and Anglican vicar Michael Roberts,[18] the material on the Truth in Science website is carefully packaged to hide its young Earth creationist roots.[19] Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think tank Ekklesia outlined his critique of intelligent design creationism, and pseudo-scientific explanations for the universe: "Creationism and ID are in no way comparable to scientific theories of origins and have no place in the modern science classroom. They also distort mature Christian understandings of the universe as coming into being through the whole world process, not through reversals or denials of that process. The roots of creationism, whether in its ‘hard’ form, or in attenuated ID ideas, lie not in science but in misinterpretations of the Bible. Claims that such notions can be justified from a ‘literal’ reading of Genesis are nonsensensical. This book has not one, but two ‘creation stories’. They differ widely in detail, are highly figurative, and were written to combat fatalistic Ancient Near East cosmogonies by stressing the underlying goodness of the world as a gift of God, not to comment on modern scientific matters"[20] -- Ekklesia, 25 September 2006.

Secular[edit]

In response to the introduction of intelligent design to European schools, the Royal Society stated that "intelligent design has far more in common with a religious belief in creationism than it has with science" and raised concerns that "young people are poorly served by deliberate attempts to withhold, distort or misrepresent scientific knowledge and understanding in order to promote particular religious beliefs".[21] In a Guardian newspaper article, dated 27 November 2006, Professor Lewis Wolpert of University College London, attacked intelligent design, and the ambitions of Truth in Science: "There is just no evidence for intelligent design, it is pure religion and has nothing to do with science. It should be banned from science classes".[22] In October 2006, a science organization called Science, Just Science reviewed the DVD information packs sent by Truth in Science to the heads of science at all United Kingdom secondary schools in September 2006.

The arguments are presented in the style of an educational film, and are generally presented among needlessly lengthy scientific descriptions and impressive visuals, which help to make creationist arguments sound reasonable to anyone without scientific training in the relevant disciplines. Anyone familiar with creationists will recognize their standard tactics including appeals to emotion, argument from ignorance, misdirection and occasionally blatant falsehoods,[23] -- Science, Just Science, October 2006.

The UK pro-science advocacy group British Centre for Science Education has condemned attempts to introduce the teaching of creationism at British schools.[24][25] BCSE protested when Truth in Science sent information packs to every UK secondary school in September, 2006.[26] In a letter to the editor, published in Financial Times, Ian Lowe of BCSE, expressed concern that creationism could possibly flourish even in Britain,[27] while Mike Brass, chairman of BCSE, said in a letter to The Guardian, "intelligent design (ID) is creationism dressed up in a tux to sneak into our science classrooms."[28]

On October 11, 2006, a reader, Chris Preedy, wrote a letter to The Times newspaper highlighting "scientific errors" on the Truth in Science website, including that the organization denies the evolution of bacterial flagellum.[29] In response, Richard Buggs of the Truth in Science scientific panel published a letter in the Times stating:

"I do not know of a good evolutionary pathway for the development of the bacterial flagellum. In his latest book, Professor Richard Dawkins identifies a single possible intermediate step. This hardly constitutes a pathway."[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "We, the undersigned Academies of Sciences, have learned that in various parts of the world, within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data, and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with theories not testable by science. We urge decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature." IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution (PDF file)
  2. ^ See also: List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design
  3. ^ Who are Truth in Science? James Randerson. EducationGuardian.co.uk, November 27, 2006.
  4. ^ Andrew McIntosh profile on Answers in Genesis.
  5. ^ The Sunday Sequence with William Crawley.
  6. ^ Answers in Genesis biography of Stuart Burgess, Mechanical Engineering (UK)
  7. ^ Professor Stuart Burgess appeared on a radio interview with BBC Northern Ireland on 18 April 2004.Burgess stated his position that the Earth "is around 6000 years old, that's what the bible says". In drawing a conjunction between science and religion, Burgess said that one's choice of explanation was "faith versus faith", and that "either you have faith in evolution or faith in creation". Burgess went on to concede "that the Earth has the appearance of great age" on the grounds that "the bible says that God created a mature Earth, and a mature universe, with Adam mature, and trees being mature". The interviewer quizzed Burgess on the matter of a deceptive God. In his response, Burgess explained, "when man came into the universe he would have that fully functioning universe ready to enjoy". In response to further challenges, Burgess said that the Big Bang is a religious faith, which contradicts the first law of thermodynamics. In his penultimate question, the interviewer, William Crawley, asked Burgess "You're not concerned that you're messing up the minds of young people by giving them the impression that they have to commit scientific suicide in order to be believers?" to which Burgess responded: "My main concern, is that on the day of Judgment, people will not say to God 'my excuse is the theory of evolution', for not believing in God, because God will say that is not an excuse". — Sunday Sequence - Finding God in the Universe.
  8. ^ See: 1) List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. 3) The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 600 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. A four day A Scientific Support for Darwinism petition gained 7733 signatories from scientists opposing ID. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID. More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes. List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism.
  9. ^ "for most members of the mainstream scientific community, ID is not a scientific theory, but a creationist pseudoscience." Trojan Horse or Legitimate Science: Deconstructing the Debate over Intelligent Design David Mu. Harvard Science Review, Volume 19, Issue 1, Fall 2005.
    • National Science Teachers Association, a professional association of 55,000 science teachers and administrators in a 2005 press release: "We stand with the nation's leading scientific organizations and scientists, including Dr. John Marburger, the president's top science advisor, in stating that intelligent design is not science.…It is simply not fair to present pseudoscience to students in the science classroom." National Science Teachers Association Disappointed About Intelligent Design Comments Made by President Bush National Science Teachers Association Press Release August 3, 2005
    Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action Journal of Clinical Investigation 116:1134–1138 American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2006.
  10. ^ "Biologists aren’t alarmed by intelligent design's arrival in Dover and elsewhere because they have all sworn allegiance to atheistic materialism; they’re alarmed because intelligent design is junk science." H. Allen Orr. Annals of Science. New Yorker May 2005.Devolution—Why intelligent design isn't.
    • Also, Robert T. Pennock Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism.
    Junk science Mark Bergin. World Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 8 February 25, 2006.
  11. ^ Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District 4: whether ID is science
  12. ^ BBC News - 'Design' attack on school science.
  13. ^ New Scientist - Creationism creeps into UK schools.
  14. ^ `Design` attack on school science: Parents are being encouraged to challenge their children`s science teachers over what they are explaining as the origins of life., BBC News, Friday, September 29, 2006.
  15. ^ Jim Knight, MP for Dorset South - Home.
  16. ^ House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 01 Nov 2006 (pt 0001).
  17. ^ Creationism gains foothold in schools - Times Online.
  18. ^ Ekklesia - Creationism distorts truth in science, says vicar
  19. ^ "The material on the website is carefully packaged, and its YEC roots, and thus its scientific worthlessness, may not be immediately apparent to the undiscerning." Ekklesia - UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website
  20. ^ Ekklesia - UK anti-evolutionists seek to lure parents with new website
  21. ^ "The Royal Society fully supports questioning and debate in science lessons, as long as it is not designed to undermine young people's confidence in the value of scientific evidence." Some proponents of an alternative explanation for the diversity of life on Earth now claim that their theories are based on scientific evidence. One such view is presented as the theory of intelligent design. This proposes that some species are too complex to have evolved through natural selection and that therefore life on Earth must be the product of a 'designer'. Its supporters make only selective reference to the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports evolution, and treat gaps in current knowledge which, as in all areas of science, certainly exist - as if they were evidence for a 'designer'. In this respect, intelligent design has far more in common with a religious belief in creationism than it has with science, which is based on evidence acquired through experiment and observation. The theory of evolution is supported by the weight of scientific evidence; the theory of intelligent design is not." Royal Society statement on evolution, creationism and intelligent design
  22. ^ Revealed: rise of creationism in UK schools - Guardian Unlimited.
  23. ^ Science, Just Science: Truth in Science materials.
  24. ^ The dangers of creationism in education, Report, Committee on Culture, Science and Education, Rapporteur: Mr Guy LENGAGNE, France, Socialist Group, Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe, Doc. 11297, 8 June 2007. Para. 69
  25. ^ SCIENCE EDUCATION, Graham Stringer, Member of Parliament, Early Day Motion 2708, 11.10.2006
  26. ^ Graebsch, Almut; Schiermeier, Quirin (November 23, 2006). "Anti-evolutionists raise their profile in Europe". Nature 444 (7118): 406–407. doi:10.1038/444406a. PMID 17122815. 
  27. ^ Lowe, Ian (October 21, 2006). "Creationism has no place in classrooms". Letter to the Editor (Financial Times). Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  28. ^ Brass, Mike (December 19, 2006). "Creationism in the classroom". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  29. ^ Questions for Creationists - The Times - Letters to the Editor.
  30. ^ Truth in Science

External links[edit]