September 2010

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I notice at the Nature Blogs site (The Great Beyond: New intelligent design centre launches in Britain) that a new “Centre for Intelligent Design” has been set up in the UK.  It’s Director is none other than Alastair Noble, about whom I blogged a few months ago, following a risible article he wrote for the Guardian website (Alastair Noble, proponent of Intelligent Design;Intelligent Design is not science, and should not be taught in science lessons).  The other leading lights are as follows:

President: Prof Norman Nevin OBE, Emeritus Professor of Medical Genetics, Queens University, Belfast
A quick Google search reveals Nevin has been very active in human genetic research. The British Centre for Science Education lists Nevin in an article about the DUP’s promotion of creationism in schools (Northern Ireland’s Leading Political Party is Creationist). Nevin apparently defends Truth in Science (Norman Nevin defends Truth in Science). I blogged about (the ridiculously-named) Truth in Science (Discovery Institute takes the wedge strategy to UK schools) – note that Alastair Noble favourably reviewed the key text in TiS’s wedge strategy for UK schools.

Vice-President: Dr David Galloway, Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, Scotland
David Galloway’s website (very flash-button-heavy) has a bunch of links to church activities, and seems to be rather evangelical in tone.

The C4ID website has a list of Terms and Conditions which are full of legalese about usage of the site’s content. Interestingly, it lists the url http://www.darwinordesign.org.uk/ which at the time of writing (26/9/10) points to a Joomla! site either under development or maintenance.

The website appears to be full of the hoary old half-truths so beloved of the ignorant: for example their article The Scientific Case for Design.  All five headings reveal the depths of ignorance of the author.

While the Nature Blog article says:

“For the time being, the organization isn’t looking to promote ID in Britain’s schools, Noble says. “I would stress that we’re not targeting schools”,

I’d be cautious – Noble has past experience as a Schools Inspector, as I recall, and as observed above Nevin backs the Truth in Science wedge strategy aimed at schools.

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According to the Irish Times (Minister withdraws from launch of anti-evolution book – The Irish Times – Tue, Sep 14, 2010), Conor Lenihan, the Irish Minister for Science will not be launching the anti-evolution book “The Origin of Specious Nonsense”.  This book has a website – but beware, on my notebook, it seemed to set the processor racing – presumably the over-enthusiastic application of graphics. Certainly the site uses copious amounts of Flash.

It does seem to be the usual stuff.  A self-educated author embraces religion, and none of his background really suggests he has beene exposed to any training or education in science.  The website includes some quotes from the book, which conists mostly of the usual creationist canards.  I wonder if Mr Lenihan took the time to look at the website (or even the book itself) before agreeing to the now-cancelled book launch.

Judging from the book website, I would suggest that having a Science Minister associated with it in any way would raise questions about the Minister’s fitness for that office.  But, hey, this is another country’s government, and the UK also seems to specialise win Government Ministers with no special qualifications for the job!

I looked up Conor Lenihan on Wikipedia.  Seems like an interesting guy with a record of public pronouncements seemingly at odds with his political roles.  Take for example, the article’s section Attitude to Immigrants (Mr Lenihan was Minister of State for Integration Policy from June 2007 to April 2009).

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Paul Sims of the New Humanist magazine takes aim once again at the Noah’s Ark zoo (as featured on this blog also) in the Guardian: Creationists seek to insert their own brand of ‘truth’ into education.

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Just a quick note to observe the report over at the National Secular Society site regarding the likely expansion of faith schools under Michael Gove (Michael Gove in religious schools rethink | National Secular Society).  Turns out that our Education Secretary’s grand vision of widespread secession of academies from local authority control has been less successful than he had intended.  To try and rescue this situation, it appears that Mr Gove plans to relax the 50% rule, which meant that 50% of the pupils in a faith-based academy must be from other (or presumably no) faiths.

This is pretty outrageous, and one wonders whether Mr Gove watched Richard Dawkins’ excellent broadcast the other week (More 4) on the dangers of faith schools.  I imagine that even if he did, it would be ignored in the big push to roll out all those Tory policies that have been waiting in the wings since 1997.

 

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