My legend avatar, Boris the Creation Dinosaur, was in G2 yesterday in The Guardian. Even his cousin, Denver the Last Dinosaur, didn't get in G2.
Boris the Creation Dinosaur gets a full page devoted to himself (p.6) in the 6-page feature on creationism in the UK in yesterday's Guardian G2 article Defying Darwin. Unfortunately he isn't on the web version of said article.
Boris looks terrifying but friendly - one of those sort of 'is really happy and nice most of the time but if you spill his pint he will eat you' types. But of course he wouldn't do that, because he's a friendly creation-dinosaur and was a vegetarian and lived with humans frolicking in the Garden of Eden and just chillin' generally. Until Eve ate the apple, introduced sin into the world, and made animals start eating each other.
Unfortunately he died because him and his dinosaur pals couldn't cope with the falling oxygen levels after the Global Flood. Noah had him stuffed though, and the Genesis Expo in south England's famous shithole Portsmouth now sports his majestic physique. He is definitely accurate and definitely a real-stuffed dinosaur. According to Genesis Expo's site 'children are fascinated by him'. Probably because he is real and accurate.
Boris shares the museum with a variety of exhibits, including a can of soup with a hand coming out of it (which proves life-from-non-life can't happen and therefore God is real)*, a mouse trap with a very realistic mouse (because complex functional items can't just assemble themselves, and therefore God is real), and a food-takeaway box with Chinese calligraphy, as popularised by Chinese takeaways you get your noodles from (which proves that ancient Chinese wrote about Genesis and therefore God is real)+.
If you don't believe how amazing the museum is, just read some visitor comments:
-Very mind touching. Will visit again.
- An extremely interesting exhibition – definitely confirms for me that Creation is the overwhelming factor.
- Excellent displays very well presented. Shows clearly the fallacy of evolution. All schoolchildren should visit!
- Thank God that someone is trying to tell the truth at last.
- An amazing place – much needed. We are home educators from Windsor and come whenever visiting family in Bognor. The information is fantastic. I don’t know how to write thank you and just how much this is what we need today.
- Wonderful to see some dinosaurs in Portsmouth. You saved the day for my two boys.
The article details the variety of creationist groups in the UK, including Answers in Genesis (who've done a few talks near me in the last year or two), the Creation Science Movement (who own Genesis Expo), and Creation Research. Bizarrely it ignores Truth in Science (TiS), the group responsible for the single biggest attempt to undermine the teaching of evolution in UK schools. In 2006 TiS sent an intelligent-design (the idea that some aspects of the natural world are so complex they cannot be explained without recourse to a designer, who in the case of every known ID-advocate is God #) resource pack to every science department in the UK, and of the 80 or so schools that returned the comment form, 59 reported using the pack in their teaching.
A survey this month by 'theology think-tank' Theos suggests that 33% of 2000 adults surveyed think young-earth creationism, that 'God created the world some time in the last 10000yrs' is true/probably true, an astonishing 51% think intelligent design is true/probably true, while 44% support theistic evolution (god invented evolution and let it take over) and 34% are lean toward atheistic materialism.
[Note: the figures don't add up because respondents were asked about each separately and therefore could indicate that more than one of the options was true/untrue]
An Ipsos Mori poll for the BBC in early 2006 indicated that of the 2000 adults surveyed, 39% support creationism(17%) or intelligent design(22%). Later that year a survey of UK university students found that 31% support creationism (12%) or intelligent design (19%). Another 2006 paper by Miller et al in Science, reports that around 20% of the UK population do not accept evolution. For all the flaws of the various polls, they consistently hit upon a figure close to 30% not accepting evolution, give or take a few.
A study of teachers last year indicate that 29% of science teachers support the teaching of some form of creationism in the science classroom and a further study by Teacher TV last November suggests 33% of teachers generally felt creationism should be on equal-footing with evolution in the classroom. Of this sample of 1200 primary and secondary education professionals, only 248 were science teachers, and it was self-selecting so not representative, but 18% of the science teachers responding supported creationism in the science classroom. Bizarrely, the poor design of this study may actually underestimate the amount of science teachers willing to teach creationism alongside evolution under the guise of 'teaching the controversy'. A 2007 Journal of Biological Education paper found that many science teachers lacked a scientific conception of evolution and around one-third were willing to either accommodate ‘alternatives to the theory of evolution’, or to present evolution as ‘just a theory’.
It would be rash to suggest that one-third or so of people are ardent creationists, they probably aren't. Given that UK weekly church attendance is at only 10% and only 15% monthly, although over three-quarters still identify themselves as belonging to a religion, it's unlikely that the relatively high amount of people who still don't accept evolution are religious nutters. It suggests instead, either a misunderstanding/lack of knowledge of the science involved (indicating a failure of education) or a residual religiosity amongst people who aren't particulary bothered about public worship but still like to think there's a personal God who interacts with them and had a hand in their creation. Or perhaps a distrust of certain aspects of science and a feeling that evolution undermines their place in the universe. Maybe all three.
But forget all the details about UK creationism, it's all about Boris.
Books, with words, written by people with letters after their names, proving evolution is wrong, .
# Some defenders of ID aren't necessarily advocates of it - sociologist of science, Steve Fuller, while he defends ID as a legitimate scientific enterprise, and thus appropriate for teaching in science class, does not actually believe it per-se, he says he's a secular humanist.
*PS - it defo couldn't come from peanut butter!
you'd never just see a hand randomly come out of soup!
'The Chinese picture language we see on takeaway shops goes back 4000 years,.'
Credit: pics stolen from a mate who I hope won't mind