A Free School due to open in September 2012 intends to ‘teach creation as a scientific theory’, the British Humanist Association (BHA) can reveal. Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland, currently a private all-through school but approved last October by the Department for Education to open as a Free School from this September, has a ‘Creation Policy’ on its website in which they ‘affirm that to believe in God’s creation of the world is an entirely respectable position scientifically and rationally.’
Grindon Hall's Creation Policy starts off by explaining that:
We will affirm the fact that “God created the world and everything in it”. We will affirm that he did so “ex nihilo” – out of nothing.
We believe that God, as sovereign Lord of the universe, is capable of creating the world in a few 24-hour days, or over a period of millions of years.
It goes on to state that the school does ‘not share the rigid creationist’s insistence on a literalistic interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis’ and that ‘We are therefore very happy to believe that God could have created the world in six days. But we do not feel that it is helpful to affirm it as an unarguable fact.’
However, it is clear that the school genuinely believes that there is genuine scientific controversy around whether or not God created the Universe and the world. The policy then explains:
we vigorously challenge the unscientific certainty often claimed by scientists surrounding the so-called “Big Bang” and origins generally.
We believe that no scientific theory provides – or ever will provide – a satisfactory explanation of origins, i.e. why the world appeared, and how nothing became something in the first place.
We will teach evolution as an established scientific principle, as far as it goes.
We will teach creation as a scientific theory and we will always affirm very clearly our position as Christians, i.e. that Christians believe that God’s creation of the world is not just a theory but a fact with eternal consequences for our planet and for every person who has ever lived on it.
We will affirm that to believe in God’s creation of the world is an entirely respectable position scientifically and rationally.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘Grindon Hall Christian School is a classic example of the so-called “teach the controversy” approach, often used by American creationist groups to get creationism taught in schools. Creationists do not argue that evolution should be taught; they simply argue that there is genuine scientific debate over the origins of the Universe and the Earth, and that therefore creationism should be taught alongside evolution.
‘The issue with the “teach the controversy” approach is that there is no scientific controversy over evolution and creationism: the scientific consensus is overwhelmingly in favour of evolution.
‘Michael Gove said that he was “crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact”. So it is startling to see two Free Schools that intend to teach creationism in RE and one that intends to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory. Either the scrutiny to which bids are being subjected is inadequate, or the government’s policy statements are untrue.’
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