UPDATE 2: Nobel winners call for sacking of creationist education supporter from Royal Society
Nobel prizewinners for science are now demanding the sacking of the Royal Society's director of education after his call to teach creationism alongside evolution in science lessons.
Two Nobel prize winners - Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts - have demanded that the Royal Society sack its education director, Professor Michael Reiss. The call, backed by other senior Royal Society fellows, follows Reiss's controversial claim last week that creationism be taught in schools' science classes.
Reiss, an ordained Church of England minister, has since alleged he was misquoted. Nevertheless, several Royal Society fellows say his religious views make him an inappropriate choice for the post.
'I warned the president of the Royal Society that his [Reiss] was a dangerous appointment a year ago. I did not realise just how dangerous it would turn out to be,' said Kroto, a Royal Society fellow, and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
UPDATE 1: Church Leaders promote teaching of Evolution
Here's a twist on the original story where a leading scientist was reported as wanting creationism taught - now we have the Church of England promoting the teaching of Evolution. Anglican leaders are even launching a website to promote Darwinism and counter what they call the "noisy" advocates of literal interpretations of the Bible such as including Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The Church of England expressed deep concerns last night about the spread of creationist views as it prepared to unveil a website promoting the evolutionary views of Charles Darwin.
Anglican leaders fear that “noisy” advocates of a literal interpretation of the Bible - especially in the United States, where even the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, is a vocal supporter - are infecting the perception of Christianity worldwide.
The Church will launch the website on Monday, a few weeks after the 150th anniversary of Darwin's first public proposal of natural selection and amid growing controversy over the teaching of creationism in schools.
The Rev Professor Michael Reiss, a biologist and director of education at the Royal Society, provoked a furore this week when he called for creationism to be treated in science lessons as a legitimate “world-view”.
Original story: Leading scientist urges teaching of creationism in schools
In Britain the teaching of creationism in science lessons has no place as part of the national curriculum in state schools. The Government states that it should never be taught as a scientific theory but here we get one of the most famous science bodies, the Royal Society, appearing to to suggest that it should be taught in science classes. It is not beyond chance that a trial might have to take place if some schools decide to follow the Royal Society Director of Education's suggestion.
The famous Scopes 'monkey trial' of 1925 is brought to mind.
The discussion of creationism is not banned in UK schools only the teaching of it as a scientific theory.
This story comes out in the same week that Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin tells America that she feels that evolution and creationism should be taught equally as theories and in the week that scientists at Cern tried to recreate the big bang.
Creationism should be taught in science classes as a legitimate point of view, according to the Royal Society, putting the august science body on a collision course with the Government.
The Rev Michael Reiss, a biologist and its director of education, said it was self-defeating to dismiss as wrong or misguided the 10 per cent of pupils who believed in the literal account of God creating the Universe and all living things as related in the Bible or Koran. It would be better, he said, to treat creationism as a world view.
His comments put him at odds with fellow scientists as well as the Government. Former Fellows of the Royal Society include Charles Darwin, who first proposed the theory of evolution.
Many children who go to school believing in creationism come from Muslim or fundamental Christian families, he said. “Just because something lacks scientific support doesn't seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson.”
His rationale is that creationism should be included in science classes to reduce confusion among school children from orthodox families who have been brought up to reject the principles of evolution.