Key and Current Issues in Creationism
There is a vast amount of information on the Internet about creationist science and how it has been pulled to pieces by mainstream science. To reproduce even the smallest percentage of it here would take an inordinate amount of time and only duplicate what is readily available anyway.
In this section of our web site we present what we consider to be the more timely and/or important issues that we believe the public should be aware of.
For an understanding of all the key creationist claims about science and the scientific response, the Talk Origins web site provides perhaps by far the best guide. It can be found at http://www.talkorigins.org. Over many years it has systematically organised all of the scientific issues and is a veritable "bible" of information, particularly if you have any interest in science. It doesn't require much knowledge of science either.
Key Issue One: They are Attacking All Education, Not Just Biology
A key issue is that creationism is not just attacking biology. It is not just about an alternative to the Theory of Evolution. To justify its position that the world is only 6,000-10,000 years old it is forced to claim that vast areas of science are completely wrong and can only be explained by a literal interpretation of the bible. It thus dismisses not just biology but mainstream physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, geology, geography, archaeology, history, mathematics, theology, religious education, philosophy and, indeed, any other subjects, disciplines or occupations that use these.
This is one of the reasons why we consider the threat of creationism to be so serious. In the case of medicine, it is ultimately an issue of life or death. Moreover, if the creationists get their way most of education will be turned into little more than religious education and, in the case of Christian creationists, that means extreme protestant evangelical fundamentalism.
It's a recipe to take the world back to the dark ages.
Key Issue 2: They Are Weak on Understanding
A second key issue is that whilst the professional full time creationists are formidably well organised and have surprisingly high levels of education, much of the rank and file of the movement have little or no knowledge of science and, frequently little or no understanding of their own arguments or religion. It is not noted as a movement of people of high intellect. We believe that much of the success of creationism has been through attracting people with limited education who are unable to understand what is being promoted.
Much of the movement is deeply anti-intellectual. Moreover, even at the top there is a widespread belief in wackiness such as UFOs and flying saucers, dinosaurs roaming the British countryside in Tudor times and fire breathing dragons.
Key Issue Three: They are Well Organised
The third key issue is that the movement is well organised (as alluded to above) but small. It has imported American organisational abilities and techniques and punches well above its weight when it comes to the number of adherents to the movement. Its activists have systematically and for years been proselytising in back street churches and chapels all across the country. The movement has well funded publications include seemingly very convincing technical journals (they are not convincing once looked at in detail - they are plain wrong). They organise conferences, distribute brochures in mainstream churches, have well organised web sites, publish and distribute books, DVDs and so on. Their adherents are on satellite TV daily. The movement employs full time people with advanced science degrees to proselytise their cause.
Key Issue Four: Creationists Lie, of Necessity, Habitually and Repeatedly
We believe that lying is endemic in the movement. The underlying arguments they present are so preposterous that they are only sustainable with systematic and repeated lying. The lying ranges from claims of bogus degrees amongst adherents to smearing of opponents, rampant use of innuendo, misrepresentation, systematic misquoting of opponents, fabrication of evidence, use of the martyrdom complex to avoid issues through to outright lying. The movement is based on zealotry and it is clear that many in the movement fail to recognise the simple difference between fact and fiction as a result . What is right is what they believe; everything (and everybody) else must therefore be wrong or in error.
Moreover, the entire movement is riddled with this culture.
Key Issue Five: Fundamentalists are Pathologically Incapable of Keeping Their Mouths Shut.
The fundamentalists are essentially evangelicals whose ambition is to convert people to their own views and, in the case of the Pentecostal and neo-pentecostal elements, often to make themselves very rich in the process. The greed machine reputation of some Pentecostal churches is likely to result in another scandal or series of scandals.
(Notes that in the UK at least, most evangelicals are not young earth creationists but evangelicals undoubtedly dominate the creation movement here, as they do in the USA.)
Key Issue Six: Their Ultimate Objective is to Gain Political Control
Whilst nominally the fundamentalist movement in the UK looks to be apolitical it is an off-shoot of American fundamentalism which is highly political, well to the right of the political spectrum, has a political creed, Dominionism, which proposes the abolition of democracy and the establishment of a theocratic dictatorship (with fundamentalists in change, surprise, surprise) and is in places closely associated with paramilitary organisations.
Moreover, the movement has another creed, Reconstructionalism, which involves promoting the cause of Israel and de-stabilising the Middle East.
The Discovery Institutes objectives have nothing to do with science or Intelligent Design but social re-engineering. This has been detailed in the organisation's secret "Wedge Document" which, through the Institute's own stupidity, fell into the the wrong hands and has since long been in the public domain.
There is no doubt that the fundamentalist movement in the USA is part and parcel of the country's culture wars. It is not politically neutral.
The attempts by fundamentalists to get their religious opinions taught in science lessons is just a tactic to proselytise their religious opinions and, eventually, gain political control. (There is nothing honest about fundamentalism.)
Lenny Flank has explained the position of US fundamentalist politics and recommends tactics to fight them.
Current Issues in Creationism in the UK
"...the aims of the creation "scientists" are clear-- all of their "research", their "technical journals", their "debates", their attempts to have creation "science" introduced into the school system, are nothing more than an attempt to proselytize people to their fundamentalist religious view." Lenny Flank
The overwhelming issue facing BCSE is the extent to which creationism is being sneaked into pure and applied science and subjects that use them. We remain unconvinced that there are sufficient checks and balances to prevent this.
The fundamentalists have a strategy of Infiltration of creationism into schools that is explained (and best explained) in their own words (Click onto Infiltration).
One state school in Lancashire, Millfield, appears, early this year (2006), to have invited a team of four high profile extreme fundamentalist creationist into the school to teach for a whole week. The plan was only dropped after the Religious Education department decided that the beliefs were extremist.
We are aware that fundamentalist creationists are being invited into state schools without the knowledge of parents or local education authorities. There appear to be no checks to prevent these people teaching their pseudo-science in science classes.
It is also believed that a number of state financed schools have been recruiting science staff based on their fundamentalist religious beliefs. Those beliefs completely contradict the accepted understanding of science.
Currently available information also seems to suggest that fundamentalist teachers are telling pupils that they must lie to pass their science exams. They are telling the pupils that the requirements of the National Curriculum require them to answer questions in biology on Evolutionary Theory which the teacher is telling them are wrong for religious reasons.
Whilst the government has stated that creationism should not be taught as science in schools, our analysis of the National Curriculum and understanding of the examination system and regulation of schools suggest that there remain major loopholes being exploited by fundamentalist creationists working in state schools.
Moreover, current government policies allow academy schools to convert to faith schools which allows them to legally recruit staff according to their religious beliefs, restrict entry and become overtly religious. This is a dangerous precedent.
Our research indicates, so far, that the issue of teaching creationism as science in state schools is a significant problem in England north of a line from the Severn to the Wash and in Northern Ireland. There is a separate report on the regional aspects in the section of this site on geography.
However, creationist activists are proselytising in Southern England and we are concerned that the objective is to get creationism into state schools there as well.
The issue has now become a significant problem for leading universities. (name witheld for legal reasons) University is introducing compulsory courses for undergraduates in genetics and zoology which show that creationism, and its thinly disguised identical twin, intelligent design, are wholly unscientific. Leicester University has likewise introduced similar compulsory work for its undergraduates.
It is also of great concern to us that a tiny number of activist creationist academics in British universities have been lobbying the government to allow teaching of creationism in state schools and have also been visiting state schools to proselytise their creationist views.
We conclude that the fundamentalists see replacement of mainstream science education with their religious pseudo science as a major strategic objective. They are well organised and financed and are extensively using American expertise. Our research shows that whilst there are several nominally independent creationist organisations in the UK, their most prominent members work closely together both in lobbying and proselytising.
It also is clear that fundamentalists are active in other organisations that both lobby the government and/or are involved in bringing creationism into the classroom.
Whilst the number of active creationists in the UK is small, their influence is out of all proportion to their numbers. We believe that they are now a major threat to education in the UK.
If there is a problem with creationism in science education in your area and you want to do something about it, go to our page Your School for advice.