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Apr 11 06 11:50 AM

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Hello all,

I'm a bit chuffed because I've been invited by the BBC to put a question on creationism in education to the Archbishop of York in a programme to be transmitted on Radio 4 on Sunday.

However, I have a few problems I want to get sorted out before the programme is recorded on Thursday afternoon.

Basically, John Mackay, formerly of AiG and now with Creation Research Ministries, is touring the UK in April-June and appears to have got himself access to three state schools in Lancashire to teach creationism. In one case he is being given a full three days to push his hocus pocus onto secondary school children,

However, which three schools are involved is being kept secret on the grounds that the press will distort and mis-inform the public as to what is going on. The nutters are claiming that the media are all atheist.

Therefore even the parents don't appear to know that their children will be taught by Mackay.

It appears that one of the schools is CofE and therefore Mackay will be teaching stuff that the CoF has condemned - see Rowan Williams statement last month.

It is this issue I want to raise with the Archbishop.

However, I don't know what the names of the three schools are. I have telephoned Lancashire County Council and they are looking into it but I am not certain that I will get a reply by Thursday.

If I can find out the names of the schools, it will make my question to the Archbishop much more effective.

The riumour mill suggests that St Aidan's in Wyre, a CofE secondary school, is one but I can't get confirmation.

Does anyone in the group have any ideas how to get this info. I am doing a trawl at the moment but need to keep my telephone bills down.

Thanks

Roger Stanyard
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#2 [url]

Apr 12 06 8:48 AM

Hi Roger,

I have been on BBC radio before (it isn't Radio Cumberland by any chance is it?) and I found mainly that you don't get sufficient time to say what you want to say so in that sense you need to prepare some very short responses to questions or accusations that might come up.

If it is of interest to you I recorded (now on [url=http://www.mp3player.org]mp3[/url]) the program I was on.

Kyu

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#3 [url]

Apr 12 06 10:22 AM

Post it somewhere Kyu!

how about at 'forumer1' or something if it's a bit of a big file.

I'd agree about the time thing - the trick is to try to hit home one or maybe two hard-hitting points rather than try to explain complexities. (Perhaps I could be our resident SJS 'spin doctor'??????)

February the 12th is Darwin Day!

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#4 [url]

Apr 12 06 11:00 AM

For my sins I am an Anglican Vicar in Lancashire 10 miles from St Aidans school.

I am trying to get something done about all this nonsense and in 2003 I "debated "Mackay near here, I will comment on that shortly.



there are several Anglican clergy hitting the roof about this along with a Christian FRS (there are a fair number of them!)

Any other information will be well received by me.

Michael

PS ask the Archbishop who is a great guy whether he thinks it right for Christians to employ dishonest methods in this YEC [url=http://www.forgery.org]fraud[/url]? Ask if it is OK to break the 9th Commandment?

The church needs to pull its finger out on all this crap. (what a mixed metaphor!)

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#5 [url]

Apr 12 06 1:01 PM

I have been in touch with a local reporter who is going to deal with it it.

It is possibly Millfield School in Thornton. I think st Aidan's in Preesall is unlikely

If Roger is in Lancashire please can he contact me.

Michael

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#7 [url]

Apr 12 06 11:35 PM

While I'm all for writing letters of concern to the appropriate authorities, I think we should be very careful about just how much the media is involved. It's the tendency of the press to present a 'balanced viewpoint', an approach which can only work in the favour of the Creationists as they seek to foster the impression with the public that some kind of debate is needed about Evolution. Perhaps it would be more fruitful if future lectures were to proceed with minimal interference (and, as much as possible, publicity) then be followed up with an information pack about Evolution and an offer to present a second lecture to pupils explaining Evolution?

I'm based in Lancashire if you need a contact in the area.

UK skeptics'
If in doubt, .

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#8 [url]

Apr 13 06 6:50 AM

QUOTE (JimTheBrit @ April 12, 2006 11:35 pm)
While I'm all for writing letters of concern to the appropriate authorities, I think we should be very careful about just how much the media is involved. It's the tendency of the press to present a 'balanced viewpoint', an approach which can only work in the favour of the Creationists as they seek to foster the impression with the public that some kind of debate is needed about Evolution. Perhaps it would be more fruitful if future lectures were to proceed with minimal interference (and, as much as possible,  publicity) then be followed up with an information pack about Evolution and an offer to present a second lecture to pupils explaining Evolution?

I'm based in Lancashire if you need a contact in the area.

Hello Jim,

welcome to the campaign!

I agree about being careful about how we approach the media.

I disagree with your assessment about a 'balanced viewpoint' for most of the media by the way, in my experience most of them are interested only in what sells newspapers, and if that's unbalanced and sensationalist then fine. It's only really a couple of the quality newspapers that are likely to 'balance' the editorials, we just have to make sure the pro-science one is spot on and makes all the right points.

No you're not right. You're just less wrong than I am.

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#9 [url]

Apr 13 06 6:52 AM

QUOTE (JimTheBrit @ April 12, 2006 11:35 pm)
While I'm all for writing letters of concern to the appropriate authorities, I think we should be very careful about just how much the media is involved. It's the tendency of the press to present a 'balanced viewpoint', an approach which can only work in the favour of the Creationists as they seek to foster the impression with the public that some kind of debate is needed about Evolution. Perhaps it would be more fruitful if future lectures were to proceed with minimal interference (and, as much as possible, publicity) then be followed up with an information pack about Evolution and an offer to present a second lecture to pupils explaining Evolution?

I'm based in Lancashire if you need a contact in the area.

Nice thylacine by the way

No you're not right. You're just less wrong than I am.

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#10 [url]

Apr 13 06 8:27 PM

QUOTE (Tim Hague @ April 13, 2006 07:50 am)
QUOTE
Hello Jim,

welcome to the campaign!

I agree about being careful about how we approach the media. 

I disagree with your assessment about a 'balanced viewpoint' for most of the media by the way, in my experience most of them are interested only in what sells newspapers, and if that's unbalanced and sensationalist then fine.  It's only really a couple of the quality newspapers that are likely to 'balance' the editorials, we just have to make sure the pro-science one is spot on and makes all the right points.


Thanks for the welcome!

I should have used the term opposing view rather than balancing viewpoint. I wasn't talking about the bias of articles on this subject but rather the fact that the viewpoint of Creationists will always tend to be included. This works out nicely for them as it fosters the false 'Evolutionist versus Creationist' perspective which is exactly what they want.
After more consideration I think this is inevitable anyway so sod it.

UK skeptics'
If in doubt, .

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#11 [url]

Apr 13 06 11:05 PM

I;'m not at all convince about the approaches given here.

Look, the creationists see us as weak liberals who have been misguided by rationality, reason and modernity. They work on the basis that this is all wrong and they are right. Most of us (I hope) do listen to the other presons view - that's how we learn. They just see it as a sign of weakness, depravity, sin or whatever.

So, that being so, kick them very hard in the balls at every available opportunity. Do it on our terms, not their's. Mackay is a lying [url=http://www.forgery.org]fraud[/url] who is taunting us over the name of the school in Lancashire where he is spending three days. Take for granted he is earning more money in doing so than you or me. Take for granted that it is not his [url=http://www.taxlaws.org]taxes[/url] that are paying for the school - it's your [url=http://www.taxlaws.org]taxes[/url]. Scream this from the high heavens. Scream that he has fallen out with his AiG friends and let him prove that you are wrong.

It isn't Mackay's business what goes on in British schools. He's an imposter.

He's a first class [url=http://www.forgery.org]fraud[/url] - that's your strength and his weakness. Taunting us is the evidence.

You know the game - British people are easy going and liberal but only up to the point where your being used, Mackay doesn't understand that - he's a redneck school teacher from the other side of the world.

Sorry to have to lay it out bluntly but Mackay is a dangerous enemy.

Put another way, if you want to get at these buggers, look at your strengths and your weaknesses - then do it for the enemy. That's standard business school stuff.

Roger Stanyard

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#12 [url]

Apr 14 06 6:51 AM

QUOTE (stanyardroger @ April 13, 2006 11:05 pm)
I;'m not at all convince about the approaches given here.

Look, the creationists see us as weak liberals who have been misguided by rationality, reason and modernity. They work on the basis that this is all wrong and they are right. Most of us (I hope) do listen to the other presons view - that's how we learn. They just see it as a sign of weakness, depravity, sin or whatever.

So, that being so, kick them very hard in the balls at every available opportunity. Do it on our terms, not their's. Mackay is a lying [url=http://www.forgery.org]fraud[/url] who is taunting us over the name of the school in Lancashire where he is spending three days. Take for granted he is earning more money in doing so than you or me. Take for granted that it is not his [url=http://www.taxlaws.org]taxes[/url] that are paying for the school - it's your [url=http://www.taxlaws.org]taxes[/url]. Scream this from the high heavens. Scream that he has fallen out with his AiG friends and let him prove that you are wrong.

It isn't Mackay's business what goes on in British schools. He's an imposter.

He's a first class [url=http://www.forgery.org]fraud[/url] - that's your strength and his weakness. Taunting us is the evidence.

You know the game - British people are easy going and liberal but only up to the point where your being used, Mackay doesn't understand that - he's a redneck school teacher from the other side of the world.

Sorry to have to lay it out bluntly but Mackay is a dangerous enemy.

Put another way, if you want to get at these buggers, look at your strengths and your weaknesses - then do it for the enemy. That's standard business school stuff.

Roger Stanyard

I totally agree with you Roger.

The school is probably Millfield.

There is a lot of stirring going on in Lancashire now.

Many simply do not realise what is going on

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#13 [url]

Apr 14 06 8:03 AM

QUOTE (stanyardroger @ April 13, 2006 11:05 pm)
So, that being so, kick them very hard in the balls at every available opportunity. Do it on our terms, not their's.

I absolutely agree with this ...

... the problem is that the British public won't! That is why we have to proceed cleverly and with caution.

Kyu

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#14 [url]

Apr 14 06 8:36 AM

QUOTE (Kyuuketsuki @ April 14, 2006 09:03 am)
QUOTE (stanyardroger @ April 13, 2006 11:05 pm)
So, that being so, kick them very hard in the balls at every available opportunity. Do it on our terms, not their's.

I absolutely agree with this ...

... the problem is that the British public won't! That is why we have to proceed cleverly and with caution.

Kyu

So what do you suggest Kyu?

No you're not right. You're just less wrong than I am.

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#15 [url]

Apr 14 06 9:03 AM

I disagree with the softly softly approach. Mackay has given us a wonderful opportunity to go in fighting. He's laid himself wideopen to attack.

Jeez, the bloke's even in breach of the Ninth Commandment.

He doesn't even know when to keep his voluminous Australian gob shut.

The way he treats the media pisses off every journalist in the country.

He's his own walking public relations disaster.

It's time to get hold of your MP, write to the press, the BBC, the clergy, write to the Board of Governors and headmasters of Millfied, St Aidans....Tell 'em its your money paying for their schools. Tell 'em you've cc'ed the letter to all in sundry. Threaten to picket their schools unless they confirm Mackay isn't proselytising there. Tell 'em your going to name and shame them in the absence of a reply. Force them to act.

THEY DO NOT LIKE BAD PUBLICITY

So, does anyone have a list of the governors of Millfield and St Aidan's? (and, preferably, their email addresses). The head of St Aidan's, Btw is BA Leeson. I don't know who is head of Millfield.

Time to get typing away, chaps and chapesses.



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#16 [url]

Apr 14 06 9:12 AM

Welcome Jim the Brit and Michael!

.. great to have an Anglican Vicar on board - perhaps you'd like to start a 'Why Creationism is Bad Theology thread'.

I'd agree we should take a fairly direct approach to this.

If you are worried about the media reaction and 'balanced treatment' - push the line 'Why are they being so sneaky about this? Why are they trying to get this stuff into the kids minds behind closed doors? Why don't the kids deserve 'balanced treatment' or the opposing point of view?

If the media pick up on that they'll smell the Rat - and I'd live to see the balanced treatment they give to the 'We have to teach kids this stuff in secret' point of view.

What Board of Govenors and Head aproved this? Where does it fit into the National Curriculum? What do Ofsted have to say?

I know in RE lessons outside speakers can be invited in to explain their faith position - I think this is a good thing - and one way for kids to meet Humanists, Buddhists etc that they might not normally be exposed to (and who offer their services voluntarily). But usually that would be for one RE lesson as a talking point.

But for 'Three Days'? - and seemingly paid. That seems dangerously like an indoctrination session from a seasoned professional.
Surely there are Science teachers in the NUT or other Unions at that school who don't look kindly upon this. Perhaps that might be a possible source for a tip-off about what school this is?



February the 12th is Darwin Day!

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#18 [url]

Apr 14 06 3:03 PM

The position in the Lancashire school where Mackay is planning to teach looks worse that I first though.

He is some information that I rechecked at Creationism Ministries UK web site (run by Randall Hardy). If I've also posted a whole lot of bits and pieces about dodgy fundie practices nn the NSS and Blackshadow groups.


"I have just looked at Randall Hardy’s March update for Mackay’s tour. Given that it is almost impossible to understand what fundamentalists mean (at least on the 1st read), I may be wrong about this but the report seems to suggest that a whole team (or at least few people) from Creation Ministries will be in the Lancashire school for three days.

Here is what it says (note the term “we will be spending” and the references to three other people than John (presumed to be John Mackay)):

“The whole team would especially value your prayers for the week after the Family Conference, when we will be spending three days in a state secondary school near Blackpool. Opportunities like this are very few and far between. Please pray for the pupils and staff at the school as well as for John, Vance, Korelei and Diane. Pray for the practical arrangements also. Teachers have a lot resting on their shoulders these days and getting the information we need to plan each day's lessons has not proved easy.”

So, it looks like there are four people there. The other three mentioned appear to be Vance and Korelei Nelson from Canada and Dr. Diane Eager from Australia. You don’t put a PhD into a school to make the coffee btw.

OK, let’s assume that four people are teaching for three days in this school and they teach for five hours each. Millfield has approx 900 pupils. Assuming a class size of 30 means they can teach 60 of 90 classes, or 2/3rds of the pupils, for one hour. If its St Aidan’s which I believe has 600 pupils, they get to teach the lot."

Of course, you can stand this on its head and say what happens if only 14-16 year olds are taught by the four. Then its two hours each; or just 14 year olds, then its six hours each.

Four fundies, getting 12 working days between them in single school, is unprecedented. Its not education, its mass proselytising.

My own guess is that the Lancashire scam is actually a practice run to develop a scheme to apply in other schools.

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#19 [url]

Apr 14 06 3:14 PM

Someone has probably said already but when is this Mackay & Co. thing happening?

I ask because it seems to me this is a clear oportunity to peacefully demonstrate and hand out flyers to anyone interested.

Kyu

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#20 [url]

Apr 14 06 4:01 PM

Mackay's tour starts on 21st April and details are available at which hosts Creation Ministries UK web pages. Mackay is due to speak to the press on 24th April which may get some info on the Lancashire school out of him.

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