Keeping Tabs on the Controversy in the U.K. - Evolution News & Views

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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Keeping Tabs on the Controversy in the U.K.

If you want to keep tabs on the debate that's heating up in the U.K., there is no better resource than the News Blog on Truth in Science's website. Current and concise, Truth in Science does an excellent job compiling all the latest information on the controversy over ID in the government and the media.

As today's update explains, "Truth in Science is faced by growing political opposition as Members of Parliament and Government ministers seek to discourage science teachers from using our resource packs. Forty MPs are calling for a 'restriction' on its use and one has suggested a 'directive' against it." In addition to this summary information, TiS provides the play-by-play of what some government officials are doing to try to stop the teaching of intelligent design in schools.

Besides tracking opposition from the government, TiS is holding the British media accountable for their mistakes. They've exposed the Guardian's mistake in proclaiming that the government wanted to "ban" intelligent design:

This claim was made on the basis that the government has stated that intelligent design is "not included in the science curriculum" and that Truth in Science packs are not "appropriate...to support the science curriculum."
The national curriculum is a minimum standard. It exists to guarantee that every young person receives a basic education. Teachers are free to go teach more than the minimum requirements of the national curriculum. Even if intelligent design is "not included in the science curriculum," this simply means that it is not compulsory in all schools. It does not constitute a ban.

As we've reported here, with the sort of coverage ID gets in the British press, it is critical and necessary for Truth in Science to correct the misreporting with a tool like this. Fortunately, their efforts have already paid off in small ways: they've gotten the Liverpool Daily Post to print a correction to their misleading headline from earlier this week.

And, as we can attest, it's important not only to correct inaccurate and misleading reports but to bring attention to the good news that's out there. In this encouraging post, Truth in Science highlights a recent column by Peter Hitchens at the Daily Mail - his second on the subject (we blogged about the first here:

As intelligent design continues to be misrepresented by much of the British media, Sunday Mail columnist Peter Hitchens has again called for "a bit more fairness and open-mindedness" in the debate.

Whilst not claiming to know which side is right, Hitchens points out that intelligent design is being misrepresented by those defending Darwinian orthodoxy.

He questions the argument (common in both media reports and school textbooks) that that the 'overwhelming majority' of scientists accept the Darwinist position:

"Since Darwinism is orthodoxy, on which many careers have been built and continue to prosper, is it likely that an attack which threatens that orthodoxy is going to be sympathetically treated by other scientists?" he asks.

After a brief survey of the evidence for Darwinism, he concludes: "All I ask is that people keep thinking about this, don't get frightened of doing so, and don't try to frighten others into orthodoxy, or to misrepresent opponents' positions."

This thoughtful article can be found here, and follows an earlier article, now with over fifty substantial readers' comments.