Creationism advocate quits Britain’s Royal Society

September 17th, 2008 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 17 (IANS) A member of Britain’s Royal Society, who caused a furore by calling for teaching creationism - the belief that the universe is a divine creation - in science classes, has resigned from his post as the institution’s director of education.Michael Reiss, a professor of education at the Institute of Education, London and an ordained clergyman, unintentionally caused damage to the reputation of the institution, the country’s national academy of science said in a statement issued Tuesday.

His advocacy last week of teaching creationism led to a major protest by academics and social scientists. The national curriculum favours teaching Charles Darwin’s theory that man evolved from the apes whereas creationism adheres to the Biblical interpretation that god created the universe.

Reiss’s resignation met with a mixed response.

Phil Willis, chairman of the Commons innovation, universities, science and skills committee, told The Guardian: “It’s the right decision and it’s clearly one the Royal Society needed to come to itself. You cannot have a senior educational figure in the world’s most prestigious scientific society giving credence to creationism alongside Darwinism in the school curriculum.”

However, Barry Sheerman, chair of the Commons education committee, said he felt Reiss had been treated harshly.

“It seems to me that Michael Reiss said what he did with the best intentions, that science teachers should engage with pupils who have creationist views, and I agreed with that,” he said.

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