School of thought

8
Have your say

The Scottish Secular Society wishes to protect children in state-funded schools from hearing “an alternative to the overwhelming scientific consensus on the origins of the universe” (your report, 7 November).

Could they please illuminate us as to what the “overwhelming scientific consensus on the origins of the universe” is?

The firmly attested Big 
Bang Theory, which concedes that the ultimate source of the process is a mystery to science, and accords beautifully with Christian belief in the origin of the universe at a finite point in the past?

Or the speculative array of mutually contradictory theories that attempt to project scientific principles beyond the big bang that still fail to address the fundamental philosophical necessity of an uncaused cause to get the whole thing going in the first place?

Or don’t they really care what is taught as long as God is not mentioned? Today’s militant atheists claim science as an ally because their understanding of the philosophy of science is usually weak and their understanding of Christian philosophy is even worse.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

As both an atheist and a member of the Scottish Secular Society, I take great issue with the Rev David Robertson’s accusations that we are “militant atheists” seeking to “impose an atheistic philosophy on children”.

Anything else apart, Rev Robertson is well aware that the Scottish Secular Society is not an atheist group and contains members of many faiths as well as atheists. The petition being put before the Scottish Parliament at no times dismisses Biblical creation from schools entirely. We are merely arguing that it has no place in science classes, as it does not even qualify as pseudoscience; it is nothing more than mythology and has been proven to be such.

Rev Robertson states that a “basic principle of modern empirical science is that it is open to question and change”.

I could not agree more, but the meaning of “empirical” is that science is verifiable by observation or experience.

Creationism cannot be verified by either of these criteria, and is therefore not empirical.

Instead, creationists insist that as the Bible is the word of their God it must be the unquestionble truth. So much then for being “open to question and change”.

Evolution, by comparison, has indeed undergone much revising of ideas since the days of Charles Darwin, but overall the theory has been proven to be factual. If Rev Robertson or any other creationist can put forward any alternative empirical theory to challenge it, I for one would be very interested in seeing it.

Leslie John Thomson

Moredunvale Green

Edinburgh

As a teacher, may I add an educational perspective to Rev Robertson’s hypothesis. Educationists’ remit is to encourage pupils to view all sides of an issue.

But we live in an atmosphere where the popular view is considered the correct one irrespective of facts.

For instance, we assume that scientific truth is always in conflict with Biblical truth.

We assume it takes thousands of years for a layer of rock to be formed.

But tsunamis produce thick layers in a matter of hours. Dr Crick, who discovered the basic chemicals of DNA, spent his life trying to prove that man could create life.

After 30 years he was forced to agree with creationists that the big bang theory was impossible. However, he moved on to the crazy assumption that life had been brought from outer space by aliens.

Why don’t we explore issues using Hebrew thinking methods? Did you hear of the Israeli atheist who, when asked to explain a difficult phenomenon declared: “It’s a confusing, inexplicable puzzle. It must have been a miracle! It was God!”

Margaret E Salmond

Dunbar Street

Aberdeen

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