creationism and schools

Just for the record, I went up last week to Middlesbrough to talk to the Vardy Foundation about their “creationist”: tendencies. I spent nearly two hours talking to the headmaster, Nigel McQuoid, who is, I think, a full-on young earth creationist, who doesn’t believe that science could, even in principle disprove the account in genesis. But that’s not actually what matters.

What matters is that he doesn’t have this stuff taught in science classes. He says it has never been taught as science in Vardy schools, and I am inclined to believe him. It’s not my habit to trust headmasters or evangelical christians. The intersection of the two sets gets special distrust. None the less, I thiknk he’s an honest man, and that he was telling the truth. He also has some of his RE lessons taught by an atheist. It is also germane that he is clearly running a damn good school.

I asked him about the Layfield talk linked to above as well, and he said, more or less. “Steve was just kicking ideas about. I don’t think he ever did anything about it.” The PR woman got a fit of the giggles when I asked about the craters on the moon being caused by Adam’s expulsion from Eden — one of Layfield’s more unusual ideas for livening up science lessons.

More later, in G2.

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5 Responses to creationism and schools

  1. Tom Morris says:

    “Kicking ideas about?” Woah! When I kick ideas about I end up with a little sheet with lots of bad ideas on. When this guy throws ideas around, he ends up throwing out epistemic naturalism!

  2. Louise says:

    Today’s Guardian appears to have rumbled one of the secrets of their success

    Key academy expels 10 times more pupils than state schools

    Looks like they’re a bit heavy on the smiting and that the local ‘bog standard’ comprehensives then have to pick up the pieces – which of course drags down their performances and makes Emmanuel look even better.

  3. el Patron says:

    Possibly. I don’t think, though, that it is the stupid ones who get thrown out so much as the disruptive ones; and I can’t really see why this is wrong.

    What will be interesting is the expulsion rate in the future. The KA was formed from a merger of three different schools last year. You’d expect some people not to get on with that at first. If they continue to have a high rate of expulsions, I’ll reconsider. But Emmanuel college, their other school, doesn’t.

  4. el Patron says:

    Tom: fair enough. I fully agree that what they say about creationism is bullshit; and what they believe is bullshit. But if you are going to be a serious, miracle-believing Christian, you have to put limits to epistemic naturalism. You can still teach science as what happens when epistemic naturalism is justified. YOu just have your finger crossed about when it is justified.

  5. Rupert says:

    The head of biology at my secondary school – Plymouth College, a Headmasters’ Conference independent – was a fundamentalist Christian and a creationist. The only effect it had on his teaching was that he wouldn’t teach embryology: he got one of the other masters to do that lesson. Quite how he arrived at that happy compromise I couldn’t say, but seeing as various other members of staff had to run to Australia from time to time for taking an interest in a different kind of fundament – and the school was run by an alcoholic Mason with a speech impediment – it didn’t seem that unusual to us at the time.

    I dunno. I was brought up deep in the bosom of the church, read the Reader’s Digest avidly during my most impressionable years (they turned up in great numbers in the jumble just when I’d learned to devour anything with letters on), and got taught by fundies. None of it stuck.


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