Tuesday 4 February 2014

An open letter to Michael Gove

Dear Mr Gove,

Today, there has been a justified outcry at the award of a Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, which is based on, and teaches Creationism.

As Secretary of State for Education, please consider the two, very different, meanings of one small but  important word; Theory.

The OED gives two main meanings:
1. A scheme or system of ideas or statements held as an explanation or account of a group of facts or phenomena; a hypothesis that has been confirmed or established by observation or experiment, and is propounded or accepted as accounting for the known facts; a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.
2. A hypothesis proposed as an explanation; hence, a mere hypothesis, speculation, conjecture; an idea or set of ideas about something; an individual view or notion.

The Theory of Evolution is meaning one, like the Heliocentric Theory of the Solar System - the theory that the Earth and other planets orbit the sun.

Creationism is defined by meaning two; a mere hypothesis, an individual view or notion.

By all means let students be amused by the absurdity of Russel's Teapot, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or Creationism, but please don't give out prizes for ill-informed bigotry.

Tim Bentinck