Joined: Jan. 2006
|Quote (jeannot @ Sep. 25 2008,12:24)|
|Has anyone commented on this yet? |
|Creationism row forces out UK educator|
I can't past the report here since reading it requires registration at Nature.
So it seems that an educator (Michael Reiss, who is also a priest) has been forced to resign by the Royal Society because of something he said at a conference, about engaging in "dialogue with the creationist views some children express in science classes".
Apparently, the remark was interpreted by some media as a support for ID and creationism, but according to many, Reiss has never supported these ideas.
I would agree with Dawkins that "a call for his resignation ... comes a little too close to a witch-hunt."
What do you think?
I'd agree with you and Dawkins.
Whilst any scientific organisation can't afford to have a rube in such a useful position, if you read what Dr Reiss actually said, and his clarification after the fact, it's hardly controversial, nor is it the media manipulation of the story. He's hardly a creationist or a rube, and I think the hounding he got was unjustified based on what I've read.
In the UK education system allows for discussion in principle (although increasing "teaching to the test" reduces this, and defeats the purposes of education in my view). I see nothing wrong with discussing a pupil's concerns, even if they do involve creationism. There's a lot of misinformation out there and education is part of the process that should help correct that.
This expressly doesn't mean that creationism of any form should be taught in science class or made part of any curriculum. A science teacher confronted in a science class with a comment/question from a creationist pupil can either a) address their concern in class as an educational tool, or b) if it's way outside the scope of the class or it's disruptive, deal with the question after class or organise a special class to deal with it.
Dr Reiss wasn't advocating anything other than "don't panic when a creationist pupil raises a question just because it's a religious issue". There's a great deal of sensitivity to religion because of an increasing body of islamic students in the UK, and the tendency of various relatively prominent racist groups to use criticism of islam specifically as a cover for their racist ideologies. That's the background this is coming from, at least in part. Again, this is based only on what I've rad thus far about the incident.
Did Dr Reiss need to clarify his point in the media? Sure. Did he need to lose his position over it? Based on the information I've read so far, no.