Sophie Deboick has a rather good comment article in the Guardian today concerning recent pro-creationist manoeuvring by politicians and religious lobbyists in Northern Ireland (Creationist claims in Northern Ireland | Sophia Deboick | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk). I’ve spent the last few blog articles commenting on this situation. Debroick’s article homes in on the observation that these biblical literalists are basing their spurious claims for inclusion in the Ulster Museum of their lame-brained theories on a “human rights” claim. She’s right in her criticism – scientific progress is not based on a popularity contest. Just because the Caleb Foundation and Nelson McCausland make the (unsubstantiated) claim that a third of the Northern Irish population believes in creationism does not make it a worthy alternative to science. Debroick closes her article with this nicely worded passage:
We shouldn’t be complacent about attacks on humankind’s scientific
achievements and the integrity of our cultural institutions, and the
situation is all the more alarming when those who criticise secular
values do so in its own language of hard fought-for rights. Despite the
rhetoric, the Caleb Foundation and its proponents seem to have little
investment in the public understanding of history and science. This is
nothing more than an attempt to abuse the language of rights to go
beyond the religious respect they are already accorded and secure
religious privilege. It should be recognised as such.
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