Very interesting piece of decontextualisation over at pharyngula. PZ picked up on a Register piece claiming that ABC “put the smackdown” on creationism. This was indeed the lead that the rather desperate Guardian put on the news story of their interview with Rowan Williams, who talked coherently and at length about the successes of the Church in East Kent, which are, strictly speaking, the concerns of the Bishop of Maidstone; much less coherently about any of the problems facing the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Leading on Creationism was the kindest thing the Guardian could have done and the only way to suggest to its readers that Rowan was still intellectually interesting and on their side. So PZ asks why he should care what an Archbishop thinks of evolution, and what authority the Archbishop of Canterbury has; lots of people in the comments riff in entirely predictable ways about Henry VIII; no one notices that the ABC actually controls about a quarter of the primary schools in England. In all there are 4,700 Church of England schools in the state system, educating more than a million pupils. In London, especially, they are hugely over-subscribed and popular among the middle classes. For the ABC to reject the teaching of creationism is actually an important educational story in a British context. It should be a matter for rejoicing and graceful congratulation from atheist evolutionists.