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Beware State-sponsored Darwinian Indoctrination

Cover of Theos' report Rescuing DarwinWhen Theos, the London-based public theology think tank, published ‘Rescuing Darwin’ in 2009 they presented a remarkable statistic. It was that two hundred years after Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809, ‘at least half’ of the British population is still sceptical about the theory of evolution.[1] This was consistent with a survey conducted for a BBC Horizon programme in 2006 which put the figure at 52%.

However, Theos was actually being a bit generous with its data. It was 63% of the population they found to be sceptical about Darwin’s theory of evolution. It does of course depend on the form of the question you ask. However, more embarrassingly, Theos found that some 51% of the population thought that some form of Intelligent Design (ID) was a credible explanation of origins. [2]

That only 37% of the population in 2009 found evolution convincing led Theos to comment on this ‘sorry state of affairs’ and Richard Dawkins to speak of a ‘worrying level of scientific ignorance among Britons’[3]. Time, then, for the ideologues to redouble their efforts to ‘rescue Darwin’ and sort out the poor souls who just don’t get it. Mind you, with the universities and the media completely on board, you could be forgiven for wondering what else they might do. If that combination can’t get better commitment figures, what could?

Well, schools of course. Get them when they’re young - and the younger the better. If you give young children a brain-full of Darwinism in nursery and primary school before their critical faculties develop, and then reinforce the message throughout secondary and higher education, you are bound to improve on 37%. In this context, Philip Johnson’s dictum is worth remembering: ‘It takes years of evolutionary indoctrination to enable you to miss the obvious signs of design in nature’.[4]

And that’s precisely what the UK’s Department of Education is doing. Evolution is now being taught in primary schools. And with a passion that might surprise you.

Take a look, for example, at lesson plans being provided through the Times Educational Supplement by Lou Armour [5], a teacher at Crossflatts Primary School, in Bingley, West Yorkshire. A collection of some 18 lesson plans begin with a ‘look at the Genesis account and other creation myths’ and is entitled ‘I can write a creation myth’.

In the notes to teachers, Mr Armour points out that his approach is not ‘creationism or so-called ‘intelligent’ design in disguise’. No, no, we didn’t think that, Mr Armour. You’re intention is clear – you want to debunk any sense of creation or design children might have learned elsewhere.

Now maybe you think evolution is science. But you’ll quickly find that what Mr Armour, and many others are doing, is not science, but worldview indoctrination. That’s the kind of thing a Government in a liberal democracy should be supressing, not encouraging.

Michael Ruse, a well-known philosopher of science, was not wrong when he asserted:

“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint … the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today. … Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity."[6]

You have to wonder if a Government, in the form of its Department for Education, should be using tax-payers money to indoctrinate their children in an essentially atheistic and materialistic worldview of which less than half of the population approve. The line is, of course, that science is not democratic and facts transcend public opinion – except at elections! But this is not about scientific facts. It’s about a rather far-fetched ‘scientific’ proposition, namely that life emerged accidentally and developed randomly over billions of years.

But here’s a twist in the tale! Over the last month, researchers on both sides of the Atlantic warned that to avoid discussing ‘creationism’vii in science lessons ran the risk of alienating students from the subject. What prompted this was research data which suggested that the numbers of pupils who are sceptical about life developing on Earth without an intelligent cause is much higher than many teachers would expect. Sometimes the pupil is wiser than the teacher!

Alice Roberts, President of the UK Association for Science Education, weighed in, predictably, that with the comment that allowing ‘creationism’ in science lessons amounted to ‘indoctrination’ – as clear an example of the pot calling the kettle black as you could get! To emphasise the point, she called for a blanket ban on the teaching of creationism in science lessons, even in private faith schools. So much for freedom of expression.

And Richy Thompson, The British Humanist Association’s campaigns officer, added:

While it’s clearly not possible to force students to accept evolution … it still remains the case that evolution is the only explanation we have that is supported by the evidence’[7]

But actually, Richy, it’s not. Evolution is the only explanation if you reject an intelligent cause for the universe, and a not-very-good one at that. If however you are not blinkered by philosophical naturalism, the evidence points to a much better explanation, and that is intelligent design. And it’s important to add that ‘intelligent design’ is not the same as what is popularly understood by ‘creationism’. ID is based on empirical evidence and is consistent with general scientific methodology.[8]

Science education involves developing pupils’ critical thinking. To do that in the area of origins, pupils have to be introduced to all the possibilities, including the intuitively rational position, for which there is a great body of evidence, that we live in a universe that is designed and has an intelligent cause.

If you are a parent, teacher, or just have a genuine interest in what is taught in our schools, you need to familiarise yourself with what is being done in your name. Parents especially should ask teachers and head teachers to show them what is being used in teaching evolution, particularly in primary schools. You might also consider writing to Directors of Education or to the Department of Education, pointing out, that if evolution is to be taught, it should be done objectively as a scientific theory and should be set against the scientific arguments for design such as those from observations of cosmic fine-tuning, molecular machines and genetic information. .

It makes you wonder what the educational system is trying to do to our children. It might destroy any vestige of belief in a Creator and promote secular atheism, but it will certainly not produce open-minded scientists.

Dr Alastair Noble
Centre for Intelligent Design
First published 2014

[1]‘Rescuing Darwin, God and evolution in Britain today’, Nick Spencer and Denis Alexander, Theos and ComRes, 2009, p9
[2] Ibid, p9
[3], 31 Jan 2009
[4]Phillip E Johnson ‘The Right Question’, Chapter One ‘Biology and Liberal Freedom’ p 35, Intervarsity Press ISBN 0 -8308-3213-0, published 2002.
[5] 26th August 2011, updates 8th Jan 2014
[6]Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 May 13, 2000.
[7]Times Educational Supplement, 21 Feb 2014,
[8]For a fuller discussion of the difference see, ‘An Introduction to Intelligent Design’, p30, Alastair Noble, 2013, available

Image credit:
Thumbnail and article images of 
Rescuing Darwin - produced under a Wikimedia Commons licence at with  further information from Theos at The document is written by Nick Spencer and Denis Alexander and published by Theos.  See