Are creationist barbarians storming the gates of the United Kingdom? The BBC would like you to think so.

The real story is exciting, but not so dramatic. A new-style academy in Middlesborough will be teaching creationism alongside evolution.1

The King’s Academy is the second of several schools with a “Christian ethos” that the Vardy Foundation hopes to finance in North-East England. Last year, the Foundation’s first “creationist” school, Emmanuel College in Gateshead, got a lot of negative press after reporters realized that some teachers were teaching the Genesis account of creation (see Christians—‘Fundamentalist Taliban Wannabees’?).

“Educational Debauchery”

Atheist Dr Richard Dawkins, with the pretentious title of “Professor of Public Understanding of Science” at Oxford University, could not contain his vitriol. During a radio interview with BBC, he called plans to teach creationism at King’s Academy “educational debauchery’:

“To call evolution a faith position equated with creationism is educational debauchery. It is teaching something which is utter nonsense. Evolution is supported by mountains of scientific evidence. These children are being deliberately and wantonly misled.”2

Or “Fair Education”

Also present during the BBC interview was Sir Peter Vardy, the multimillionaire who founded the Vardy Foundation and who contributed two million pounds to help build King’s Academy. Vardy defended the attempt to give students a well-rounded education:

“We do teach creationism alongside evolution. We present both. One is a theory, the other is a faith position, and it’s up to the children.3 We give them an all-around education, so both are presented to the students and we think that is fair education.”

Time for Christians to Wake up

Yet Vardy’s innocuous efforts to offer a well-rounded education have placed him at the center of a political hurricane.

Ever since last year’s debate, which went all the way to the Prime Minister (see Ken Ham stirs up England), Vardy says he has faced immense obstacles in his efforts to fund new schools: “The mission is to improve the state of education in our region. It is only unfortunate that this one subject has hijacked the very good work that Emmanuel College is doing.”

The problem is not quality of education. As Vardy reminded the BBC interviewer, Emmanuel College has earned “a very clean bill of heath by Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education]. It’s had the best report that Ofsted has ever written, so that they … obviously have a very balanced view of what we’re doing.”4

The hostility that Vardy faces should be a warning to every Christian in the West. Atheists like Dawkins recognize that the teaching of creation threatens the foundation of their humanistic religion, which has taken root in the formerly Christian nations of the West. As long as schools and churches continue to compromise on evolutionary beliefs, including belief in millions of years, then humanism will retain its grip on Western cultures.

It’s time that God’s people, beginning with everyone in the pews, did their part in reclaiming the ground lost to humanists. It is a Christian’s duty to defend the authority of God’s Word where it’s most under attack—the true history in Genesis, which is foundational to all Bible doctrines, including the gospel itself.

Answers in Genesis applauds efforts to let students hear both sides of the debate about origins. Dr A.J. Monty White, chief executive of AiG-UK/Europe, says about King’s Academy:

“We welcome the establishment of this new school on Teeside. We are pleased that biblical creation will be taught alongside evolution. As a result, we believe that the pupils will see that evolution is not supported by mountains of scientific evidence but that it is a faith position.

“This new school needs our prayerful support.”

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Footnotes

  1. “Creationism” school opens its doors, BBC News, <news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/3088444.stm>, 8 September 2003. The Vardy Foundation gave 2 million pounds to help build the school, while the government gave nearly 20 million pounds. Back
  2. Transcript of an interview of Dr Richard Dawkins and Sir Peter Vardy on BBC Radio 4’s “Today,” 28 April 2003, <www.angelfire.com/nb/lt/docs/called43.htm>. Back
  3. Vardy appears to be splitting hairs in order to blunt the ongoing controversy. John Burn, the former head of Emmanuel College and chief academic adviser to the Vardy Foundation, has said forthrightly that “Ultimately, both creation and evolution are faith positions” (quoted by Dawkins, R., A scientist’s view, The Guardian, <education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,5500,664595,00.html>, 9 March 2002). In the BBC interview, Vardy himself suggested that the study of origins (historic events beyond the pale of scientific observation and testing) require scientists—both creationists and evolutionists—to begin with a belief: “No, we are presenting them as the two views—that some people hold the faith position of creation and others believe in evolution.” This is the correct position. It is not science vs belief, but two opposing beliefs that lead to different interpretations of the same facts (see Searching for the “Magic Bullet”). Back
  4. King’s Academy will teach the national curriculum, including Darwinism. While the national education standards require the teaching of Darwinian evolution, the standards do not bar discussion of alternative viewpoints. Back