Posts Tagged 'Richard Roberts'

Why science in Britain is in decline

To read the rantings of fellows of the Royal Society recently, one would certainly think that the institution has been taken over by fools and bigots.

Well, it has. It is no wonder that interest in science is declining rapidly, and that physics and chemistry departments at universities are being wound up – who wants to be in a ship of fools? The issue over Professor Michael Reiss (see the post ‘Disgrace at the Royal Society’) brings the matter into sharp focus. Reiss was not teaching that creationism be taught in the schools (he is an evolutionist), but that if the subject of creation is raised by a student, the teacher should engage the student and bring scientific principles to bear on the matter. One way to put pupils off science forever is to tell them to shut up and sit down if they so much as utter the C-word in class. Richard Dawkins would have them humiliated. Ring any bells? Animal Farm? That student, and many other observers in the class, will likely be lost to science forever, for asking a genuine question.

Let’s make ourselves clear. Reiss wasn’t suggesting that creationism be put on the science syllabus, he was merely suggesting that there are benefits in discussing the topic if a student raises the matter, and the fellows of the Royal Society know that’s the case. Thus Sir Richard Roberts, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine:

I think it outrageous that this man is suggesting that creationism should be discussed in a science classroom. It is an incredible idea and I am drafting a letter to other Nobel laureates – which would be sent to the Royal Society – to ask that Reiss be made to stand down.

Well, with friends like this, who needs enemies?

Sir Harry Kroto, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, is even more forthright. He argued that Reiss didn’t have the intellectual integrity to teach science because he believed in God. What a daft assertion: there would be no Royal Society, and there would be precious little ‘modern science’, without the Christian worldview. It was Christianity that gave the motivation (the glory of God) and the theological framework (that God is rational, so his creation can be searched rationally; and that time/history is linear, not cyclical) for modern science. I will be dealing with this in some later posts. With atheistic science, the motivation is money, prestige and power (especially power – that involves keeping others out), and the framework is borrowed (without credit) and secularized for convenience. TRUE science turns to dust in the hands of atheists.

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