'Teach children evolution as fact not theory' says Dr Richard Pike
25 April 2006
And, he adds, the 'theory' tag that accompanies references to evolution should be abandoned.
Dr Richard Pike said: "In addressing the practical problems of the world, there is an overriding conclusion; if something is unverifiable and seems implausible, it probably is, other than in the powerful imagination of the human mind.
"All eleven year-olds should understand this, and be taught this evolutionary basis for both science and religion. They can weigh up this evidence, without the imposition of bias, and reflect on what is relevant for the future."
The call by scientist and engineer Dr Pike follows attacks on creationism, amid concerns about attempts by religious fundamentalists to challenge the theory of evolution in schools and colleges by teaching the idea that a god created the world as if it were a scientific theory.
Richard Pike said: "Above all, we should no longer talk of the theory of evolution, as though it is 'just an idea'; so well established is it that it now warrants the designation of an immutable scientific law, and should be taught as such. It is on this basis that further dialogue should begin.
"Over the last 200 years", he said, "millions of students and research workers throughout the world have amassed fact-based evidence to explain successfully the process of the evolution of organisms.
"Even before the arrival of modern man we now know that over 99% of the species that had ever lived had become extinct. Furthermore, of all the creatures born on a particular day, over 99% would eventually meet their end in the jaws of a predator further up the food chain."
Dr Pike said that the findings of Darwin cast aside at a stroke the concept of an unchanging world crafted by grand design, and questioned the meaning of such apparent imperfections and 'waste' of life. The reasons, he claims, are now well-proven scientifically, and represent the outcome of genetic variability and mutation interacting with the biological and physical environment.
"All religions have had their golden ages, inspiring beautiful architecture, great literature, deep philosophical thinking, and a thirst for scientific knowledge. During the Enlightenment, each new discovery served to reinforce the genius of the celestial watchmaker. It was extraordinary that everything fitted so well, and every creature was so adapted to nature's need.
"So it was until that day in the early nineteenth century, when a new thinking dawned; that there was an alternative to this universal design; that this apparent perfection was the result of countless iteration, over millions of years, through the natural variability within and across species. The evidence is now irrefutable. We see it in the past from rocks around us, and in our everyday life with variations in human characteristics at one end of the spectrum, and the rapidly changing structure of the bird-flu virus at the other."
Teach all eleven-year olds the Law of Evolution
Richard Pike, Chief Executive of the RSC
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Creationism gathers strength at conference - 22 April 2006
Evolution should be taught as fact, says top scientist - 21 April 2006
Schools should teach Darwin 'as fact' says scientist - 21 April 2006
'Teach children Darwinism' demand - 22 April 2006
Radio Five's Steve Nolan Show
Richard Pike also took part in a debate on the issue of evolution
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