Monday, June 25, 2007

Brits protest eccentric millionaire for pushing Creationism in his privately funded schools

Transcript of today's story:
Protests were held recently outside the office of Sir Peter Vardy, a British multimillionaire who has funded several state schools and colleges accused of promoting creationism in their curriculum. The protests are a reaction to a new Vardy school, the All Age Academy, where students as young as four years old would be taught creation theory. British parents are outraged. Sir Vardy shows no sign of changing his plans. [source: The Guardian]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
Which is it Mr. Vardy? Are you funding creationism or not? Plenty of reports reveal that he is denying altogether that his schools include creationism in their cirricula. Politaholic dishes up some news on this on his blog, summing it up thusly:

Peter Vardy was on Radio 4 this morning. He denied that creationism was being taught in any of the schools he has funded. They are not, he said, teaching anything "wild and wacky". He said that he believes in "a creator God" but denied that he is a creationist in the commonly understood sense of the word. But in the past the Guardian has reported that Emmanuel College at Gateshead has hosted a creationist conference and that "senior staff have given a series of lectures at the college urging teachers to promote biblical fundamentalism and giving tips and techniques making pupils doubt the theory of evolution."
Read the full blog post here, and a story by the British Humanist Association here.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
Why are british parents outraged? Sir Peter is funding a private, parochial school. Attendance at such schools is optional. The appropriate protest on parents' parts is to put their children into a school whose cirriculum is more compatible with the family's values. Sir Peter is doing nothing out of the ordinary in having a hand in what is taught in his schools and what is not. When a college endowment is received, it's always accepted that the funding entity has a great deal of influence upon what is being funded.