Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Creationist closure

Back in August I uncharacteristically got off my fat arse and sent my MP a letter regarding the creation of so-called "free schools" by the ConDem coalition. While I can certainly imagine advantages in letting schools direct their own curricula, I can equally see how such freedom could be misused to allow creationism access to the classroom.

Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised at the time when my MP (well, actually his private secretary) got back to me almost immediately, thanking me for making my concerns clear and promising to take these up with the appropriate government minister. The reply I received went on to say that I'd be kept abreast of any subsequent response.

Flashforward to today, and said promised reply has arrived. Both the relevant minister and my MP have affirmed that "creationism has no place in the teaching of science", and that "[c]reationism has no scientific backing and therefore cannot form part of the science National Curriculum". The letter I received was accompanied by a photocopy of the minister's response to my original letter, so I've got the full reply as well as the distilled version from my MP. I was also amused to find my name redacted from the minister's response - presumably in case the letter passed into enemy hands, or something.

Anyhow, as I also remarked last time, I'm impressed with the response I've had to my original "seething-from-Southampton" e-mail. Both with the actual handling of it (I half-expected my e-mail to disappear into a black hole), and in the apparent seriousness in which both my MP and the minister seemed to have taken it. It certainly gives one a little more confidence in the machinations of government. At least in terms of its ability to reply in platitudes to constituents.

Of course, I say the above because I got the response I hoped for. I wonder what sort of response I'd have got, and what sort of treatment, if I'd played the crazy card and requested that creationism is taught in our schools? Not a controlled experiment I intend to try out, but it'd be interesting how a reply to that sort of request would be finessed.

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