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The 2002 Letter to Estelle Morris

The 2002 Estelle Morris letter, from 27 creationists to the then Secretary of State for Education, was clearly an attempy to push for the teaching of creationism in science lessons. None of the 27 signatories declared that they were creationists and none disclosed that they were activist members of creationist organisations (most of them were). The BCSE regards it as a major act of organised deceipt by the creationist movement.

It appears that the letter followed another from a much larger and more distinguished group of academics and scientists arguing the opposit case. This can be found here: BHA Letter. This letter, which was addressed to the Prime Minister, appears to have been entirely ignored.

Here is the full text of the Estelle Morris letter taken from Answers in Genesis's web site:

Dear Secretary of State
Teaching of Origins in Schools
The undersigned academics, scientists and educationists are deeply concerned that the reasonable position taken by the QCA in National Curriculum science and by Ofsted concerning the teaching of origins at secondary level has been challenged. (We write as a group of individuals and consequently the views expressed do not necessarily represent the view of those organisations with which we are associated).
The National Curriculum requires that Darwinian evolution is put across as the dominant scientific theory but also requires that pupils are taught "how scientific controversies can result from different ways of interpreting empirical data". Science should be taught with the critical appraisal of alternative theories. Such debate concerning opposing theories provides rigour in scientific method and contributes to the development of critical thinking by pupils.
We find it most inappropriate that some well-meaning scientists have given the impression that there can only be one scientific view concerning origins. By doing so they are going way beyond the limits of empirical science which has to recognise, at the very least, severe limitations concerning origins. No one has proved experimentally the idea that large variations can emerge from simpler life forms in an unbroken ascendancy to man. A large body of scientific evidence in biology, geology and chemistry, as well as the fundamentals of information theory, strongly suggest that evolution is not the best scientific model to fit the data that we observe.
We ask therefore that, where schools so choose, you ensure an open and honest approach to this subject under the National Curriculum, at the same time ensuring that the necessary criteria are maintained to deliver a rigorous education.
Yours sincerely
Andy McIntosh BSc, PhD, DSc, FIMA, CMath, FInstE, CEng, FinstP

Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory, University of Leeds

Edgar Andrews BSc, PhD, DSc, FInstP, FIM, C.Eng, C.Phys.

Emeritus Professor of Materials Science, University of London.

David Back BSc, PhD

Professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, University of Liverpool

Stuart Burgess BSc, PhD, CEng, MIMechE

Reader in Engineering Design, University of Bristol

Sylvia Baker BSc, MSc

Head, Trinity Christian School, Stalybridge

Nancy Darrall BSc, MSc, PhD, MIBiol

formerly Research Officer, Central Electricity Generating Authority

Graham Everest BSc, PhD

Professor of Mathematics, University of East Anglia

Ian Fuller BSc, PhD

Lecturer in Physical Geography, Northumbria University

Nick Fuller BSc, PhD

Post-doctoral research (Molecular Biology), University of Warwick

Colin Garner BTech, BEng, PhD, CEng, MIMechE, MSAE

Reader (Applied Thermodynamics), University of Loughborough

Paul Garner BSc, MIInfSc, FGS

Senior Information Scientist, Cambridge Science Park

D B Gower BSc, PhD, DSc, CChem, FRSC, CBiol, FIBiol

Emeritus Professor of Steroid Biochemistry, University of London

Terry Hamblin MB, ChB, DM, FRCP, FRCPath

Professor of Immunohaematology, University of Southampton

Arthur Jones BSc, MEd, PhD, CBiol, MIBiol

Science Education Consultant

Nigel Jones MS, FRCS

Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne

Geoffrey Lewis MA, FSA, FMA, HonFMA

formerly Director of Museum Studies, University of Leicester past President, International Council of Museums

Derek Linkens BSc(Eng), MSc, PhD, DSc(Eng), ACGI, CEng, FIEE, FinstMC

Research Professor in Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield formerly Dean of Engineering, University of Sheffield. past President, Institute of Measurement and Control

Jeff Lowe MSc, MCGI, DMS

formerly Principal Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University

John Peet BSc, MSc, PhD, CChem, FRSC

formerly Science Coordinator, Guildford College of Further and Higher Education

David Rosevear PhD, CChem, FRSC

formerly Senior Lecturer, University of Portsmouth

Nigel Robinson BSc, PhD

Post-doctoral research, University of Leicester (Currently teaching Chemistry)

Stephen Taylor BSc, MEng, PhD, ACGI, MIEE

Reader in Electrical Engineering and Electronics, University of Liverpool

David Tyler BSc, MSc, PhD, CertEd, MinstP, CPhys, ACFI

Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University

David Walton BSc, PhD

Visiting Lecturer, Dept of Computer Science, University of Durham Information Systems Consultant

David Watts PhD, FRSC, FInstP, FADM

Professor of Dental Biomaterials Science, University of Manchester Dental School

Tim Wells BSc, PhD

Lecturer in Neuroscience, University of Cardiff

Bill Worraker BSc, PhD

Senior (Software) Development Engineer, Hyprotech UK

This was an ad hoc group, which came together to sign this letter. The letter was not sent by any organization. The views expressed by the signatories do not necessarily represent the views of their respective organizations.

The above were taken from Answers in Genesis's web site and includes the footnote about it being an Ad Hoc group.


Comments

The letter makes clear that the signatories did not necessarily present the views of the organisations that they we associated with. That is horribly ambiguous because the letter is (or was) posted on Biblical Creation Society's web site and 14 of the signatories had been associated with that organisation including the then head of the Biblical Creation Society, Edgar Andrews.

Moreover the Biblical Creation Society's web site makes it abundantly clear that the letter represents its views as an organisation. The Biblical Creation Society has posted the latter to its web site and the whole of the website is dedicated to the fact its members believe mainstream science to be wrong on both evolution and the old age of the earth.

Moreover, this page shows that not only does Biblical Creation Society advocate teaching creationism in science lessons, it actually is:

http://www.biblicalcreation.org.uk/talks/itineraryGarnerNI.htm.

The letter makes no mention of the creationist organisations with which they were associated. Yet the letter was posted to Answers in Genesis's web site (together with comments from Andy McIntosh who was spokesman for the group) and also onto the web site of the Biblical Creation Society.

Author's Footnotes: I have gone back (again, for the nth time in the last few months) to check exactly what is on the Biblical Creation Society's web site about the 2002 Estelle Morris letter. The letter is published there are the site does say that it was written by an ad hoc group and doesn't mention that 14 of the signatories were or had been associated with the Biblical Creation Society including the then head of the Biblical Creation Society and its current head.

The letter can be found at http://www.biblicalcreation.org.uk/educational_issues/bcs116.html (and on Answers in Genesis's web site at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2002/0509scientists.asp).

The statement that it was an ad hoc group is not in the letter. However, the Biblical Creation Society's introduction to the letter confirms the footnote on the Answers in Genesis web page that it was an ad hoc group. It seems that as 14 members of the Biblical Creation Society were signatories to the letter, it is wholly implausible that the statement is wrong.

See the following site for comments by Edgar Andrews about the letter: http://tinyurl.com/hnddl.

The Estelle Morris letter was also sent by the signatories to Sir William Stubbs, Chairman QCA, Mike Tomlinson, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools, Ofsted and Andrew Adonis, Policy Unit.

(Printable View of http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/EstelleMorris)