Sir David Attenborough, perhaps the world’s most famous naturalist, has called for the banning of creationism and intelligent design in UK schools.
Sir David, known for his popular nature documentaries, has teamed up with prominent atheist Richard Dawkins and various nobel laureates in calling for more teaching of evolution. They made the statement on their website, evolutionnotcreationism.org.uk.
“Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories, but they are portrayed as scientific theories by some religious fundamentalists who attempt to have their views promoted in publicly-funded schools,” the site reads.
‘Creationism’ is the idea that life, the universe and everything were made by an omnipotent creator, ie God. ‘Intelligent design’ is the idea that life on Earth is irreducibly complex and could hot have come about through chance. It is seen by most scientists as a faux-scientific cover for creationism.
“We need to stop calling evolution a theory,” says Dawkins. “In the ordinary language sense of the word it is a fact. It is as solidly demonstrated as any fact in science.”
In the UK, schools are instructed not to teach creationism and intelligent design, but it is not against the law to do so. The group says it should be.
“If creationism is discussed, it should be made clear to pupils that it is not accepted by the scientific community,” says science education expert Revd Professor Michael Reiss, one of the signatories.
The campaign is being run by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and is supported by the Association for Science Education, British Science Association, Campaign for Science & Engineering and leading theological think tank Ekklesia; and by 30 leading scientists, including three Nobel laureates.