The recent rush to denounce the Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead by scientists, humanists, philosophers and church liberals has been overwhelming. What is wrong with a state funded school teaching Creationism in science lessons? As a scientist, my overriding objection is that Creationism has no part to play in science lessons. The lack of a scientific approach and any physical evidence for a Creator makes the teaching of Creationism in science lessons a complete nonsense. Faced with the overwhelming evidence for planetary formation and biological evolution, I find it hard to understand how rational people can believe in a divine being that created everything - but they do.
If Creationism has any place in our schools surely it must be within the myths and allegories of Religious Education.
Having stated my discomfort with Creationism, there is some amazing science that can more reasonably be used as evidence for a Creator.
Let us accept that biology developed according to the rules of chemistry, and chemistry developed in the early Universe according to the laws of physics. So where did the laws of physics come from? In his book "Just Six Numbers", the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, points out that a viable Universe that can support life can only form when six physical constants have certain values. Of course, we are all here living in this universe so the physical constants must be about right.
So how did the physical constants get to have the right values? A cosmologist might argue that there are a number of universes out there using many different values for the crucial physical constants. Some of these universes fizzle away, some persist but are unable to support life, and there may be some where life is teeming. The cosmologist would not be able to show me any experimental evidence for the existence of numerous universes but it is just as valid an assertion as that of a divine creator who consciously set up the "right" physical constants for a universe that would support life.
Where science cannot provide evidence for a phenomenon, the space left behind will always be filled with conjecture of one sort or another, either scientific or religious. Science will probably never definitively answer questions about Martin Rees's six numbers and it does not need to. Religious proponents will always use similar gaps in our knowledge to position their beliefs. That is fine, but let's not confuse science and religion - Creationism has no place in science lessons and the theory of evolution has no place in religious education.