More 4 News

Fighting the evolution war


Nina Teggarty reports on how in some schools the battle for teaching evolution is far from won.


MORE 4 NEWS – Richard Dawkins – Teachers Channel
All on the Same Subject – Adrian Hawkes Comments

While recently doing a two minute spot for channel More 4 news I thought to myself; actually this piece is only two minutes long, around half an hour of interview edited down to two minutes. In fact, I thought, the subject is quite important, important to our freedom of speech and freedom of thought! Let me explain.

As I am part of a Christian community that runs 4 independent sector schools I often get asked to do programmes like this, and it is always about the same subject, Evolution. It’s as though as a Christian and one that believes in the schools that I am involved with, the only thing we ever talk about is Evolution. Not Maths, English, Computer Science, Social Studies, Citizenship to name but a few, but rather evolution. Oh I know that this latest programme was because we were at the 150th year anniversary of Charles Darwin’s lecture that started all the talk, but it does seem to go on and on.

An interesting thing about the programme for More 4 news was the gentleman who came on and said, “what we need to understand is that Evolution and its teachings are not an attack on Faith”.

The thing is that each time I go on one of these programmes; I usually get emails, post and the occasional phone call. The Evolutionists write and tell me what an idiot I am. The Christians write and nicely tell me I was not strong enough in my presentation and then guide me with literature to better my opinion. I think that in the middle of it there must be a public that is bemused.

Why am I saying that I think this subject is important? Talking with Richard Dawkins for his programme and listening and reading some his work, I conclude that actually it is not just about Evolution, the big issue is that there is no God, and any thought that there is, is dangerous to society. Furthermore the attitude seems to be if I can stop people like you, from doing or saying anything to suggest that there is a God, I am going to stop you.

Listening recently to a Radio 4 programme from the Cheltenham Science Festival in Gloucestershire, Professor Peter Atkins stated that as a ‘believer’ in evolution, he had the truth. The program host asked what he thought about people with whose view is that there is a designer/creator God? He simply replied that they had some sort of mental problem and could not possibly be scientific much less a proper scientist.

What we really have is a kind of Religion from these proponents, it’s a religion without God and one that propounds with evangelical fever, “there is no God!” I said that on Mr Dawkin’s program, which I think somewhat annoyed him, but that comment, of course, lies on the cutting room floor.

After one of these TV occasions, I am not sure which one, maybe it was from my time on the teacher’s channel on which I was quizzed on the same subject. I had an email from one of these people that write to me after such occasions. He basically accused me of being a child abuser for believing that there is a God and teaching children such.

And this is what is so worrying about this particular lobby. For although the nice man on More 4 news said “this is not an attack on Faith”, nevertheless the people who I found are the vocal lobby for evolution, are the same people who are aligned to the ‘there is no God’ lobby. So does it matter, in the name of free speech, that they express that opinion? Perhaps not, providing they allow me the same courtesy of speech and thought; but not if they want to go down some Orwellian state line that prevents me from speaking, or thinking for that matter.

I am not surprised that the TV channels talk to me, I at least will talk, it seems that the Muslim schools were not willing to express their views on the TV, neither were most of the Christian Schools.

I have to say that when I have agreed to go on these programmes, many of my friends phone me and say “do you think this is wise? They will make you look very stupid!”. Oh well, maybe I do. Even if I do, it still worries me when I hear statements like those coming from Professor Peter Atkins, who I think would silence any opposition to his point of view if he could. Then there is Richard Dawkins, who believes that Religion is the root of all evil and should be outlawed, and don’t forget my emailing corrector, who said and I quote “I honestly believe that what you are doing is mental child abuse, and we are working very hard on trying to once and for all outlaw your type of brain-washing propaganda. There is no god. Move on.”

He pointed out to me that he was a BA (hons) MA,

What I notice from all of these people is there is an almost Taliban fervor to marginalized my opinion, keep me silent and make sure I am outlawed!

God help us if they are allowed any kind of legislative power!

Adrian Hawkes
Wednesday, 02 July 2008
North London

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1 Response

  1. Dave Evans says:

    Adrian – whilst I understand your concern I think that you are dealing with some of the most vociferous proponents of evolution and I don't think they are representative of the rest of the scientific community that do sign up to evolution.

    One of the mistakes they make is that because they have often had to deal with very right wing American fundamentalists who are anti-science and often don't understand scientific methodology at all, they assume that most Christians are cut from the same cloth.

    For me evolution is well established though obviously some aspects of it still need further research.

    I admire your willingness to engage with them but don't think they are representative – they are not.