Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On Creationism in England...

A story in the Telegraph:
Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, stepped into the controversy over creationism yesterday by declaring that he was "totally opposed" to the concept.
Mr Clarke, who said that he did not believe in God, insisted that science was the basis for progress and praised Charles Darwin as one of the greatest scientists in history.
"It is certain, in my view, that creationism is anti-scientific and as I believe that science should be the route of where we go, I therefore do not approve of it," he said at a London conference. He added that it was acceptable for schools to teach that there were people who held a creationist point of view.
This is in response to some remarks by Anglican Primate Rowan Williams:
Dr Williams told The Guardian that it diminished rather than enhanced the biblical story of the origins of the world. "I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories," he said.
"It's not as if the writer of Genesis, or whatever, sat down and said, 'Well, how am I going to explain all this? I know: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.'
"So if creationism is presented as a stark alternative theory alongside other theories, I think there's just been a jarring of categories. It's not what it's about."

The Telegraph also offers a mostly sensible editorial:
The seven-day creation is not primarily an account of scientific events, but a mysterious evocation of the way that God first related to matter, and most of all to the supreme matter, man. As Professor John D. Barrow argued in these pages yesterday, it takes 10 billion years for the components of atoms to pass through the stellar reactors that produce the material we are made of; yet this very process is as awesome as the straightforward account presented in the Bible.
The two "theories" need not be exclusive, so long as they are not placed in hostile juxtaposition. Let us not reduce the mystery of existence to arguments over time - which, as Einstein showed, is a mutable thing. We can see eternity in an hour; might not 10 billion years be a single week in the life of God?
By the way, when reading anything about the Intelliegent Design or Creationism debate, it is essential to distinguish between the Doctrine of Creation and Creationism. It is equally important to try and understand what each party to the debate means by 'Creationism'.

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