19 October, 2006

A little experiment in democracy

Via Pharyngula, I've learnt that an Early Day Motion regarding the activities of Truth In Science has been tabled in Parliament:

That this House shares the concerns of the British Centre for Science Education that the literature being sent to every school in the United Kingdom by the creationist religious group Truth in Science is full of scientific mistakes and fails to disclose the group's creationist beliefs and objectives; and urges all schools to treat this literature with extreme caution.

It seems that the British Centre For Science Education was involved in the tabling of this motion; as they caution when talking about this on their website, no matter how many MPs sign up, it is unlikely to trigger a full Parliamentary debate; but a large number of signatories may allow an EDM 'to impinge on Cabinet conciousness'. So, following the example and suggestions of some of the Pharyngula commentators, I went to writetothem.com and sent the following to my local (Labour) MP:

Dear John Denham,

I was wondering if you are aware of the activities of a creationist group going by the name of 'Truth in Science', which recently mass-mailed "resource packs" to UK secondary schools. Whilst ostensibly encouraging biology teachers to address the 'controversies' in evolutionary theory, these packs offer nothing but a mish-mash of bad and extensively debunked arguments intended to confuse students about the current status of biological science, and suggest a false scientific equivalence between the theory of evolution and more literalist interpretations of the Bible (currently hiding behind the phrase 'Intelligent Design'). The extensive scientific inaccuracies contained in Truth in Science's literature, and the strong creationist links of its principal members, are well documented by the British Centre For Science Education (http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php).

Your colleague Graham Stringer has submitted an early day motion (EDM 2708)which repudiates the approach of this group and advises schools to treat this material with caution. Quite aside from the fact that this group is encouraging the teaching of bad science, muddying the boundaries between science and peoples' different religious views is inherently dangerous, particularly in the current climate (and in the view of the present vogue for faith schools). I hope that you will consider supporting this motion.

Yours sincerely,

I'm somewhat cynical about whether this e-mail just won't be junked by a secretary somewhere, but it's worth a go. I'll keep you posted on whether I get a response, and (more imporatantly) whether I get him to sign up.

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