A few weeks ago, in a column about the politicized nature of science in America, I noted that according to international data, Americans express far greater skepticism about evolution than citizens of any other Western democracy. Well, it looks like there are some in the U.K. who would like to catch up, and they're working hard to get into positions of influence in medicine and science:
A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur'an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.
Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin's theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.
Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists, according to a biology teacher at a leading London sixth-form college. "The vast majority of my students now believe in creationism," she said, "and these are thinking young people who are able and articulate and not at the dim end at all. They have extensive booklets on creationism which they put in my pigeon-hole ... it's a bit like the southern states of America." Many of them came from Muslim, Pentecostal or Baptist family backgrounds, she said, and were intending to become pharmacists, doctors, geneticists and neuro-scientists.
Perhaps this could produce a new flowering of interfaith dialogue, as all kinds of fundamentalists come together to redefine "science" in ways more amenable to their scriptures.
The article does note that the trend has "prompted the Royal Society, Britain's leading scientific academy, to confront the issue head on with a talk entitled Why Creationism is Wrong. The award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally at the society's event in April." That ought to take care of things.
-- Paul Waldman
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