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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

European proposal to anathematize criticisms of Darwinism

The Brussels Journal says,

. . . next Tuesday, the Council of Europe (CoE), Europe’s main human-rights body, will vote on a proposal which advocates the fight against creationism, “young earth” and “intelligent design” in its 47 member states.

According to a report of the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly, creationists are dangerous “religious fundamentalists” who propagate “forms of religious extremism” and “could become a threat to human rights.” The report adds that the acceptance of the science of evolutionism “is crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies.”

“Creationism, born of the denial of the evolution of species through natural selection, was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon,” the report says.

“Today creationist theories are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states. […] [T]his is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism, synonymous with attacks of utmost virulence on human rights."

. . . . According to the CoE report, America and Australia are already on their way towards becoming such undemocratic theocracies where human and civic rights are endangered . . . .

Though one may disagree with people who take the Book of Genesis literally (believing that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh), surely secularist political organizations telling people what they may or may not believe, constitute a far greater threat to human rights than religious institutions telling their faithful how to vote. In the voting booth people are free to do what they like, whilst in contemporary Europe people are no longer free to publicly voice their own, deeply felt opinions in public.

Update
A quote from Reuters, 25 June 2007:
Europe’s main human rights body on Monday cancelled a scheduled vote on banning creationist and intelligent design views from school science classes, saying the proposed resolution was one-sided. […] Guy Lengagne, the French Socialist member of the Assembly who drew up the report, protested after the Parliamentary Assembly voted to call off the debate and vote, and to send the report back to committee for further study. […] Deputies said the motion by the Christian Democratic group of parliamentarians also won support from east European deputies, who recalled that Darwinian evolution was a favorite theory of their former communist rulers.

The committee report is titled "The dangers of creationism in education".

A Council of Europe website says,
.
[26/06/2007 17:00:00] Parliamentary Assembly Culture Committee has said it would like to see its report, ''The dangers of creationism in education'', on the agenda of the Assembly’s next plenary session, in October. In a declaration adopted on 26 June, the committee protested against the ''confused and probably irregular'' conditions of yesterday’s plenary vote to refer the report, by Guy Lengagne (France, SOC), back to committee, and said the problem of creationism in teaching was a ''politically topical question'' which ought to be discussed.

A Council of Europe press release says,

The PACE culture and education committee rapporteur Guy Lengagne (France, SOC) today said he was ‘flabbergasted’, ‘appalled’ and ‘shocked’ by the PACE decision to refer back to committee his report on the dangers of creationism in education. ‘I can only see this as a ploy on the part of people who will use any means they can to combat the theory of evolution and impose creationist ideas. What we have here is the makings of a return to the Middle Ages, and too many members of this human-rights-based assembly fail to see it’.

A Reuters UK news report said,

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Europe's main human rights body on Monday cancelled a scheduled vote on banning creationist and intelligent design views from school science classes, saying the proposed resolution was one-sided . . .

. . . Some conservative groups in the United States, both religious and secular, have long opposed the teaching of Darwinian evolution in public schools but U.S. courts have regularly barred them from teaching religious views of creation.

Pressure to teach creationism is weaker in Europe, but an Assembly committee got active because a Muslim creationist book has appeared in several countries.

Guy Lengagne, the French Socialist member of the Assembly who drew up the report, protested after the Parliamentary Assembly voted to call off the debate and vote, and to send the report back to committee for further study.

"I have enough experience of parliamentary procedure to know that this is a first-class burial (for the report)," he said . . . .

The proposed resolution said the Council of Europe's 47 member states should "firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution by natural selection." . . .

. . . . The resolution would not have been binding on member states.

Well, at least it is nice to know that the resolution would not have been binding on member states.
.

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