New Christian school whistleblowers speak out about creationism and sexism (UK)

Two former Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) students who have never before spoken publicly have made new allegations about sexist and creationist teaching in the schools.In an article titled "Christian fundamentalist schools teaching girls they must obey men", one of the new whistle-blowers, Cheryl Povey, says: I came across a lot of sexism. I remember as a girl finding it quite shocking. We were taught that if you’re a woman, you should be subservient to men; your husband, your pastor … [Read more...]

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Former student blows the lid off Emmanuel College’s creationist cover-up

In 2015 I was speaking at a geek convention, where I ran into two excellent people (and a lot of other excellent people, actually, but two I'm going to tell you about). One of them went to an ACE school in Oxfordshire, and the other one, who I'll call Esther, went to Emmanuel College, Gateshead. After my talk we all went for a curry, and as we were walking, Esther started talking about how she'd been taught creationism at the school.This is an explosive allegation. There was a minor media … [Read more...]

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Beware the Jelly Creationists

When I was little, my favourite bedtime book was The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure by Gerald Durrell. Mum enjoyed reading it too, but whenever the story mentioned how many millions of years ago the dinosaurs actually lived, she skipped over those words. When I asked her what she wasn't telling me, she said something like "We don't believe that."At the same time, Mum was quite keen on what creationists call "Gap Theory". Genesis 1:1 says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the e … [Read more...]

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How to tell the difference between creationism and science

I finished my PhD thesis on Monday. No, don't start cheering yet. There's still a long journey between finishing a thesis and becoming a doctor, but at least at this point I'm unlikely to join the ranks of those who start a PhD and never finish.I'd love to tell you what's in it, but I'm going to wait until it's passed peer review and everything's official. I also found out tons of great stuff that I couldn't fit into the thesis. Annoyingly, I have to be careful what I tell you of that, too, … [Read more...]

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Gravitational waves make me glad I’m not a Christian anymore

It's almost ten years since I went to a Sunday morning church service for the final time. Those old ways of thinking are now something from the distant past, and sometimes recalling them is like a distant dream. In fact, dream is exactly the right metaphor, because it feels like I was asleep for my first two decades on Earth.Occasionally, something happens that makes me remember the bad old days. Something like scientists observing gravitational waves for the first time. (If you're not yet up … [Read more...]

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Noah’s Ark Found, Says Scottish Education Committee Member

Gust post by Paul Braterman.Yes, today is April 1st. No, this is not a joke.The Reverend David Fraser sits as a full voting member on the Education Committee of Clackmannanshire County Council. So if you live in Clackmannanshire, he helps decide educational policy for your children, and if you teach in Clackmannanshire, he is, in a sense, your boss.Be afraid. Be very afraid. What you see next is straight from the Reverend’s Church’s web site. And there’s worse to come. … [Read more...]

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Does creationism = homophobia? Creationists think so.

In January, I claimed creationism is inherently homophobic and misogynistic. Not everyone agreed; there was some discussion over whether I'd committed a logical fallacy. But I'll tell you who hasn't challenged my argument: creationists. They're in no rush to admit to being misogynists: they claim their particular brand of paternalistic sexism—'complementarian' gender roles—is in fact kind to women. But they're queueing up to admit that their belief in creationism excludes gay people.Last Mond … [Read more...]

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What happens when creationism sneaks into a UK classroom?

On Monday, we learned that students at Durham Free School in the north of England had been given science homework that said "God designed the solar system". Since then, various people have contacted me with more information about the school's links to creationist organisations, which go quite deep.In Monday's post I talked about Emmanuel College, which was actually just one of several academies set up by the creationist Peter Vardy. Vardy actually won a legal action against the Tribune for … [Read more...]

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State-funded school in Durham, England employed a creationist science teacher

Schools Week carries the exclusive news that Durham Free School gave students a science worksheet that said "God has designed the solar system". The local newspaper reports that parents are justifiably outraged.I've done some Internet sleuthing, and it looks like the science teacher in question has a long history of teaching at creationist schools. It's against the law for Free Schools in England to teach creationism. If the teacher, David Hagon, has indeed taught creationism as science in … [Read more...]

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Jerry Coyne says I am wrong about creationism, misogyny and homophobia

Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True (both blog and book) didn’t like my recent posts about the link between creationism, sexism, and homophobia. In a recent post, he argues that I have made a logical fallacy and risk miring the battle against creationism in the 'atheist wars' over feminism.Jerry introduced the post by saying some nice things about me, so I'll return the compliment: I owe Jerry a great deal. Until I read his book, despite having not been to church in eight years I sti … [Read more...]

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