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Creationism in British higher education

Steve JonesSteve Jones

Writing in The Telegraph (December 3, 2011), the geneticist Steve Jones reflects on his experience in teaching university students who reject evolution — and refuse even to learn about it — because of their religious objections. "At University College London we have numbers of Islamic students, almost all dedicated, hard-working and able. Some, unfortunately, refuse to accept Darwin’s theory on faith grounds, as do some of their Christian fellows," Jones reports.

Referring to the Islamic creationist literature distributed under the name Harun Yahya, Jones observes, "Much of their propaganda has been lifted from Christian fundamentalism and there is a certain irony in where it has ended up." Jones adds, "I have had plenty of verbal complaints from undergraduates of both persuasions that I am demeaning religion, while others ask that they be excused lectures on my subject, or simply fail to turn up."

"Anyone, of course, is free to believe whatever they wish," Jones continues. "But why train to become a biologist, or a doctor, when you deny the very foundations of your subject? For a biology student to refuse to accept the fact of evolution is equivalent to choosing to do a degree in English without believing in grammar, or in physics with a rooted objection to gravity: it makes no sense at all. The same is true for doctors. How can you put a body right with no idea as to why it is liable to go wrong?"