Claim of creationism taught in school linked to National

It is claimed that a school linked to National’s conference in the weekend, and with links to National MPs, has been teaching creationism in preference to evolution.

Newsroom: Creationism taught in science class

A former student of a Villa Education Trust private school claims creationism was taught as a preferred theory of how the world began in science classes he attended.

The student from Mt Hobson Middle School said Darwinism was taught as an unproven theory and students were shown a video purporting to show science had found proof of God’s existence.

His impression was the school backed the concept of creationism “100 percent”.

It’s a concern if any New Zealand school is promoting creationism – a belief system – over the science of evolution, especially in a science class.

The science teacher was Rachel O’Connor, sister of National Party leader Simon Bridges and wife of National MP Simon O’Connor.

That must be an embarassingly close connection for National.

The trust runs two private schools and two charter schools. Currently its charter schools, including one visited by National Party members yesterday, are in limbo waiting to hear if their application to transition to designated character schools will be approved.

It isn’t a great advertisement for charter/partnership schools either.

“They [O’Connor] said, we’re going to watch a video. They didn’t tell us anything about it, they just started showing it. What followed was a documentary of twisted quotes trying to prove how scientists had discovered God.

“I’m watching, thinking, hang on this is really weird. I respect anyone’s religious beliefs, I have no problem with that, but this is a science class.

“This felt really wrong to me. I do respect the process of science, for them to twist – really twist – these quotes, especially from Albert Einstein, someone loads of people, including myself really respect, it made me quite angry.”

Religious studies are expected and fine in a religious school, as long as parents know thaat’s what they are putting there children into.

But science classes should stick to science.

29 Comments

  1. I’d want more that someone’s ‘impression’ before I passed judgement.

    • PDB

       /  July 31, 2018

      Considering it comes around the time of the National party conference and involves the sister of Simon Bridges you are right to be careful in rushing to judgement Kitty – smells of a left-wing political hit-job to me.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 1, 2018

        Dear me, Pants, what a suspicious mind you have ! 😀

  2. Much of Darwinism/evolution is unproved and unprovable (including most of the quotations ascribed to him) Yes, I have read The Origin of Species; I own a copy of it.

    Darwin is not the absolute authority on the subject.

    I’d want more than one person’s ‘impression’ as evidence of what’s being taught in this school !

    • He quoted ‘survival of the fittest’; he didn’t coin it – and ‘fit’ then had a different meaning to the modern one. It didn’t mean physically fit. It meant suitable, becoming, appropriate….among other shades of meaning, none of which referred to physical strength.

      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  July 31, 2018

        Fitness as discussed in Evolutionary Biology is all to do with the ability to pass on your genes to future generations.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2753274/
        A physically strong person who fails to reproduce has zero fitness.
        As does someone who raises offspring who fail to reproduce.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  August 1, 2018

          Yes, but that is not what Herbert Spence meant by fit when he wrote the words quoted by Darwin. I have read a great deal of Victorian writing, have studied it at universiity and am lucky enough to own the 1877 Annandale’s Dictionary (reprinted with a new section added in 1893). This confirms my statement that at the time of Darwin, fit (as an adjective) meant suitable or appropriate and had nothing to do with the modern usage where fit means strong. Well, not just strong, but we all know what a fit person is (physically fit, I mean)

  3. Corky

     /  July 31, 2018

    ”It’s a concern if any New Zealand school is promoting creationism – a belief system – over the science of evolution, especially in a science class.”

    Neither creationism or evolution should be taught in schools unless pupils want one or the other. Evolution as a theory is as flawed as creationism.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 31, 2018

      Evolution is subject to testing and is modified and strengthened by experiment. Creationism seems to just retreat into mysticism in the face of experiments and results that invalidate its claims. IMO it is not true that they are equally flawed. Evolution explains the huge range and adaption of species while Creationism purports to explain only what evolution doesn’t attempt to explain – the origin and laws of our universe. Ultimately that is untestable and unknowable.

      • Corky

         /  July 31, 2018

        ”Evolution explains the huge range and adaption of species ”

        Now that is true, but only in a limited context. For example, some animals living in special environments lose some physical features while gaining others. But nowhere can evolutionary theory show in an unbroken chain the stages of evolution from simple organisms to man.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 31, 2018

          The theory is separate from the data. Certainly we don’t have long unbroken chains of data or even agreement on where they started but we do have lots of genetic links that make evolutionary sense and more are continuously being discovered.

  4. Griff.

     /  July 31, 2018

    A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested, in accordance with the scientific method, using a predefined protocol of observation and experiment. Established scientific theories have withstood rigorous scrutiny and embody scientific knowledge.

    Evolution has come along way since Darwin.
    Darwin may be famous for being the first to comprehensibly write down the theory of evolution in 1859 many tens of thousands of scientists have expanded on that idea since.

    No Corky creationism is a position of faith. The existence of God/Gods has nothing to do with science and does not belong in a science class in the modern world.

    • Corky

       /  July 31, 2018

      ”No Corky creationism is a position of faith. ”

      That straight away invalidates faith as a component of science….as subtle universal force in its own right. You are saying the experimenter is separate from his experiment. In quantum mechanics it has been posited the experimenter may consciously affect the outcome of his experiment.

      • Griff.

         /  July 31, 2018

        You misunderstand schneider’s cat.
        Science does not contain faith it relies solely on observable evidence to prove or disprove a hypothesis.. Once sufficient evidence is gathered to support a hypothesis to a high degree of probability It is spoken of as a theory ….fact as best as we can understand.

        Faith..strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

        • Griff.

           /  July 31, 2018

          Schrödinger’s cat

        • Corky

           /  July 31, 2018

          Science accepts the placebo effect. Hasn’t a clue how it works. Others do know how it works, but that is outside this comment and wouldn’t be believed anyway.

          When you boil it down, take away the fancy name, you are left with blind faith. An act of consciousness having a material effect.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  July 31, 2018

            No you are not. You are left with the experimental result that the placebo effect is real. That is science. Facts trump theory.

            • Corky

               /  July 31, 2018

              Show me the science experiment proving a placebo effect? There is none. The medical profession ironically accepts this theory at face value.
              That doctors know this phenomenon exists from practical experience doesn’t mean it has been scientifically proven.

              Sure, you will find studies showing Professor Quackmire gave 20 sugar pills to 20 participants in a study and 10 where cured. But so what, where’s the science protocols that are repeatable? Other studies have shown the placebo effect to be negligible.

              If that was a so called alternative medicine study it would be laughed out of existence.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 31, 2018

              No-one claims the placebo effect is a universal cure all, merely that it can affect patient attitude, reporting and/or recovery.

            • Corky

               /  July 31, 2018

              Might pay to read what link you post, Griff. You kind of bolstered my argument. That article emphasizes placebos as a control during studies.

              I’m talking about testing the placebo effect itself. What is it?. How does it work? etc.

  5. Corky

     /  July 31, 2018

    Talking of evolution, this may be a game changer. Although Charles Fort, chronicler of the bizarre, reported similar phenomenon. One was a frog jumping out of a piece of coal. Spiders too.

    https://www.cantechletter.com/2018/07/russian-scientists-rouse-40000-year-old-worms-from-siberian-permafrost/

  6. Zedd

     /  July 31, 2018

    not surprised.. their whole agenda still belongs on/before 1950s !

    • Griff.

       /  July 31, 2018

      Indeed one must ask are the Simons also holders of such fringe views and do they belong in parliament if they do.?

    • PDB

       /  July 31, 2018

      Yet Labour is hell-bent on taking us back to the good old days of 1970’s workplace policy…that worked well.

  7. lurcher1948

     /  August 1, 2018

    If Simon’s sister is a wacko creationist,so will he….scary

    • There is no indication Simon share’s his sister’s views, and we haven’t actually heard from his sister on this.

      My views on a number of things differ somewhat to those of my siblings.

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