Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Derrida 1: Darwin 0

30% of students at UK universities believe in non-Darwinian theories about the development of life on earth.

Now, student life is when you are allowed to believe 66 impossible things before breakfast, and get union funding to start a relevant club. When I was at college, I began as a middle-of-the-road liberal with green tinges, lurched via Trotskyism into anarchism and ended up concocting my own blend of aesthetic situationism, which demanded that kids should be fluent in the thoughts of Oscar Wilde and the Zurich Dadaists before they've learned their times tables.

But this creationist/ID thing is a bit worrying. Some are blaming the rise of religious fundamentalism; others the decline in rigorous science teaching. But Steve Jones, professor of genetics at UCL, has another idea, according to the Guardian report: he blames "political correctness among teachers here who feel they have to give a reasonable hearing to beliefs held by people from other cultures, particularly Muslims."

PC and its cousin, postmodernism, are despised by religious fundamentalists, because they deny the possibility of one universal truth, one interpretation of reality, one true way (beyond themselves, but that's another matter). But could it be that the loony God squad (both the Jesus and Mohammed wings) has learned how to play these heathen philosophies to their own ends?

UPDATE: See the Spaghetti Monster for more details.

11 comments:

BEAST said...

Yay I am first.....Its been around a while , creationism was taught by law in many US states from the 1920's up until about 1967 when the law was repealed.
I cant say I really care wether my distant relatives where swinging about in the tree's (my younger brother would tend to prove this theory) , or some all seeing all knowing diety chucked me together out of a few leftovers (I have mis matched ears so it could be true)

Pisces Iscariot said...

Ain't that always the way with the totalitarians: if you cant win the arguement then take it on as your own leaving the protesters wondering "what the fuck went on there?"
The Nationalists used to do the same thing in Apartheid South Africa - one minute you're on the left, next thing you know you've been steamrollered by the system.

dh said...

Well fundamentalists of all stripes have certainly become more media savvy of late, that's all I know. The latest ploy seems to be to lump the 'liberal media' with Al Quaida.

dh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pashmina said...

For some reason - 'C' in GCSE Biology notwithstanding - this is one of the issues that would get me up and out and demonstrating in Trafalgar Square if need be. It's the thin end of the wedge.

I confess to subscribing to a mainstream religion, but at least it's one that thinks the Creationists are nutters.

What the hell are we doing teaching children such unquestioning credulity?

I might have to go for a bit of a lie down now.

Wyndham said...

I'll be with Pash, demonstrating. I love monkeys, me.

Tim Footman said...

I think there's a big difference between tolerance ("I respect your right to believe that God knocked the whole thing off in six days flat") and, as Pash says, credulity ("Maybe it was evolution; maybe it was creation; maybe it was Slartibartfast and the mice"). We need to hold to a few basics (the main planks of cultural and scientific thought from the Renaissance via the Enlightenment, through to Darwin and Einstein), and we can allow other people to feel differently, but those thoughts can't interfere with the core curriculum.

That's why the whole philosophical basis for the "War on Terror" confuses me; what differentiates the West from the Muslim world is the Enlightment, but the West is being led by a regime that owes its power to a minority of religious loonies who seem to think that the Emlightenment is some sort of lefty plot, and Darwin is the Antichrist.

The problem is not religion; it's fundamentalism of all stripes, which is why I get pissed off with Richard Dawkins, despite agreeing with 97% of what he says; it's his tone and his posturing and his arrogance that get to me.

And good to see you, Wyndham. You've been missed.

Tim Footman said...

(And I'm fully aware that I misspelled 'Englightenment' there, twice.)

Tim Footman said...

please excuse this, i've only just woken up...

Annie said...

"the West is being led by a regime that owes its power to a minority of religious loonies who seem to think that the Enlightenment is some sort of lefty plot, and Darwin is the Antichrist"... for a moment I thought you were talking about Ruth "Opus Dei" Kelly, then I realised she doesn't wield that much power...

Tim Footman said...

Apparently one of the Muslim representatives in that summit meeting asked why Sharia law couldn't be applied in Britain. Since Ms Kelly seems quite happy with the concept of flogging, I'm surprised she didn't agree.

Thank Christ she's out of education. That was the maddest thing Tony's ever done. (Apart from the whole Iraq bollocks, natch. And giving Mandelson a second chance. And PFIs. And ID cards. And giving Blunkett a second chance. And Walter Wolfgang. And the Dome. Actually, it wasn't even top 10, was it?)