Monday, December 19, 2011

Cameron's Christianity?

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More creationist Free Schools planned for 2013 opening

'Cameron's traditional Christian values' to be in action in Bedford, Barnsley...? This from the British Humanist Association:

More Free Schools are being planned for opening in 2013 by creationists or groups with links to a creationist organisation, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has learned. The BHA has concerns about proposals in Bedford and Barnsley, in addition to plans in Sheffield and Newark that the BHA had commented on earlier this year.

In Bedford, Destiny Christian School is being proposed by the Miracle Church of God in Christ, and if approved to open, will be a member school of the Christian Schools’ Trust (CST). At an open meeting attended by a BHA supporter, the group were asked about their policy on creationism and responded that they believe creationism is science and intend to teach it as such.

In Barnsley, the independent Barnsley Christian School is hoping to enter the state sector as a Free School. Like Destiny Christian School and Sheffield Christian Free School, Barnsley Christian School is a member of the CST. The CST is founded by creationist Sylvia Baker, author of Bone of Contention, and while not every CST school advocates creationism, the organisation as a whole has a statement explaining that the organisation is creationist and recommending the teaching of creationism in its member schools.

The BHA has already commented on applications to open a Free School in 2013 by Sheffield Christian Free School and Everyday Champions Church, who are also creationist groups. In November, Everyday Champions Church had a meeting with officials at the Department for Education (DfE) to discuss why their application to open in 2012 was rejected, and their local MP, Patrick Mercer, additionally met privately with Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to voice his support for the bid.

Other creationist groups have also applied to open Free Schools in the past, without their views on creationism getting public exposure. One example is The King’s School in Nottingham, another CST school that openly teaches creationism in science, also previously applied to open a Free School, both in 2011 and a second time in 2012, though it is unclear if the school intends to apply again in 2013.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘It is easy to see the appeal of Free Schools to certain religious groups, not only because they have freedom to discriminate in employment and admissions but because of the considerable latitude they have over the syllabus taught, which would in practice permit schools to promote religious dogma in place of objective teaching on issues such as creationism. Even more concerning is that so many groups with openly creationist positions believe they have a chance of receiving government approval for their schools to open within the state sector as Free Schools.

‘In supporting and coordinating the ‘
Teach evolution, not creationism!’ position statement, we are calling on the government to make statutory and enforceable the current guidance that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ should not be taught as science in schools, and to ensure that all state-funded schools must teach evolution. Without such measures, the risk that one of these creationist schools will gain approval to become a Free School remains.’

Crystal ball forecasting

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60,000 new jobs from the new transport plans in and around Bristol?? Story here. This will sound like a gross exaggeration to many people. On what basis have they made this claim exactly? Crystal ball gazing? This is an argument technique many use to try to justify schemes, such as new roads, that many local people have concerns about. Chief executive of Bristol Airport and transport lead for the Local Enterprise Partnership Robert Sinclair say they believe this is the figure but of course they have an interest in talking up developments they favour - and the only people backing them up in the report are business and political figures who have the same interest, so they add no weight to the claim at all. So, all we are left with is a jobs figure a few say they believe in and no substance.