ROME wasn’t built in a day, but only because God lost out when the contract was awarded to Romulus and Remus Construction Ltd in a highly controversial competitive tendering process.
The Great Architect had previous sucess in carrying out large projects on time, for example, creating the Earth in six days. According to the Bible, God was well pleased with his work, describing it as “very good” (in later years, Airdrie and Cumnock would challenge that assessment).
In 2012, a Gallup Poll revealed that 46 per cent of Americans believe God created mankind in a single day. These so-called Creationists deny Darwin’s theory of evolution, preferring to place faith that the first human, Adam, was made from dust. When the luckless Adam awoke from a slumber, he found himself to be an unwitting participant in the world’s first blind date. Sadly, he failed to fully appreciate Eve’s unrivalled beauty due to being rather distracted by having to staunch the blood spurting from his ribcage. The Devil, apprehensive that his horned appearance may cause some discomfiture in the humans, takes the form of a talking snake, an altogether less startling conduit to convey his wish that Adam munches on a forbidden apple.
I have no problem with individuals believing such hokum, but it angers me when they endeavour to brainwash impressionable children into thinking that our cosmos is all down to a celestial being. Last week, it emerged that a physics teacher at Lasswade High School admitted that, during an S3 class discussion of the origins of the universe, he promoted his strong Creationist opinion. A science teacher rejecting evolution is akin to a maths chalkie declaring Archimedes to have had a screw loose or a history dominie stating that Napoleon emerged victorious at Waterloo.
Creationists should be banned from school premises. They live by a literal interpretation of a 2,000-year-old book that features fairly incredible interactions between man and the animal kingdom. In the Book of Numbers, Balaam strikes his donkey three times. Clearly nonplussed, the ass decides to open up a dialogue with its violent master.
“What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” the donkey inquires.
And Balaam said unto the ass: “Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.”
And the ass said unto Balaam: “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said: ‘Nay’.”
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m well aware that beasts can communicate on some level with man. As a kid, I watched agog as, with just a few well-timed tut-tut-like sounds, Skippy the bush kangaroo imparted sombre news to Sonny that a man was trapped in an old mine rapidly filling with water. Likewise, Lassie, using a canine Morse code of short and long woofs, could alert farmers to forest fires. So far, so believable. However, the credulity of the television public was stretched to breaking point when Mr Ed, a talking palomino horse, got his own show.
Creationists are a danger to our children because they present absurdities of faith to be fact. If a science teacher were a signed up member of the Flat Earth Society, would we not question his suitability to teach children? They imperil our kids because, sadly, there are always going to be vulnerable youngsters who will embrace this gibberish version of the beginnings of life.
Worryingly, in the United States, Creationism is on the rise according to that Gallup report (up from 44 per cent to 46 per cent over a six year period). Their influence is all-pervasive in the education systems of the Southern states. In Texas, Creationists sit on panels deciding which science textbooks will be used in the classroom. In Kansas, an anti-evolution group is suing the state’s education board for instituting a science curriculum that teaches evolution.
If my thoughts upset Creationists, I ask them to remember that Thomas Aikenhead, an Edinburgh student aged just 20, was executed for blasphemy just ten generations ago. The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, sitting in Edinburgh at the time, urged “vigorous execution”.
That we have evolved as a society since those dark days is no thanks to Creationists, something worth teaching our children.