How Many British Schools Are Covertly Teaching Young Earth Creationism “As Fact”?
The recent revelation that about 30% of secondary school teachers want “creationism” taught in schools reminded me of the results of a survey reported back in 2006, which is still one of the most disturbing educational surveys I’ve ever seen. If you are not aware of it, it’s worth checking out.
The original tables of results of the Opinionpanel survey are here (scroll down to 2006)
Students from British Universities were surveyed on a range of questions, including whether they were Young Earth Creationists, and whether Young Earth Creationism had been taught to them by their parents, school, sunday school, etc.
Amazingly, 12% of these undergrads were Young Earth Creationists. But the real stand-out statistic for me was that 19% of students said that they had been taught Young Earth Creationism “as fact” in school.
19%! One in five students. We are not talking mostly Muslim schools either. The figure for those who were of other non-Christian religion was actually much lower.
If 1 in 5 British students are taught in school that it’s a fact that the entire universe is less than ten thousand years old and that God made all species as literally described in Genesis, that’s a national educational disgrace.
As comparatively few schools (esp. non-Muslim schools) publicly admit to teaching children Young Earth Creationism “as fact”, it would appear that much of this teaching is going on under the public radar.
Shouldn’t checking up on this – and doing something about it – now be a priority for the Government and for OFSTED? For as I said elsewhere, teaching children that Young Earth Creationism is supported by the available empirical evidence involves teaching them to think in way that are, quite literally, close to lunacy.
In some cases, it may be that the schools themselves are unaware of what’s being pushed in their classrooms. I once discovered a YEC science teacher at a top public school – a teacher whose nutty YEC views even the other science teachers were unaware of. Some students then confirmed that this teachers’ YEC views were indeed cropping up in his teaching.
Any other anecdotes?
POSTSCRIPT. Put this another way – we have prima facie evidence that Young Earth Creationists now constitute a fifth column in UK schools, presenting YEC “as fact” to perhaps as many as 1 in 5 pupils.
POSTPOSTSCRIPT. The British Government is now clear YEC cannot be taught as fact, or even as a valid theory, in science classes in State schools. See here for their guidelines for teachers. However, there are no statutory guidelines for RE, even for state-funded schools. That’s right. None.