Christian schools are concerned that a South Australian board decision to stop the teaching of creationism as part of science lessons will trigger similar action nationwide. The chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, Stephen O'Doherty, said a statement by the South Australian Non-Government Schools Registration Board was too strident, removing the right to teach "biblical perspectives" as part of science, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. He said the policy set a precedent which might be taken up in other states, including NSW, where the issue had been the subject of intense debate two years ago
Under policies published in December, the board said it required "teaching of science as an empirical discipline, focusing on inquiry, hypothesis, investigation, experimentation, observation and evidential analysis". It said it "does not accept as satisfactory a science curriculum in a non-government school which is based on, espouses or reflects the literal interpretation of a religious text in its treatment of either creationism or intelligent design". Furthermore, science teaching which was not scientifically or evidence-based would not be part of assessment for the School Certificate or Higher School Certificate.
Mr O'Doherty said the South Australian policy indicated it was banning teaching of the subject altogether. It was the only such subject singled out, he said. Taken literally, "it means you cannot mention the Bible in science classes", he is cited saying.
COMMENT: Of course, the Board is being perfectly logical and sensible. Religious hypothesis has no place in a science class. However, science and even empirical data should be questioned and, especially, by scientists themselves. In England, at the moment, there is a very heavy bias towards science, technology and business in our schools and we are in danger of turning out a generation of boring techies (as opposed to interesting, free-thinking, creative techies, of which there are many, especially around this neighbourhood). In my opinion, philosophy should be made a core subject at an early age, so that children are given the thinking tools they will need to question everything as they grow up. This will lead to better science as no great scientific discovery has even been made by a person who just accepted what they were told by their teachers.