NUT call to end state funding for faith schools

The biggest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) is to discuss a motion at its annual conference over Easter calling for an end to state funding for faith schools. Relatedly, it will also debate a motion which expresses concern that "the government's policy of increasing numbers of faith schools will hinder integration, foster religious divisions and provide fertile ground for religious and ethnic conflicts." The NUT is right to attack a system in which tax payers' money goes to schools which may promote ideas that have no scientific or logical basis and which may tend to promote Creationism or, at the very least, Intelligent Design. If particular faiths want to create more of these institutions, then the money should come organisations within their faith and from parents and interested parties who want such institutions. Additionally, private funding which derives from those with a vested interest in seeing certain unsubstantiated religious ideas, should not be used to gain control of state schools via the back door through the city academy programme. While there are shades of difference between Creationism, a more literal belief in the Biblical origins of life, and intelligent design, neither can be tested scientifically nor do they have any coherent theoretical basis. Evolutionary science, while it has had its critics since Darwin first wrote The Origin of Species, continues to be upheld as the best possible theory on the basis of testing the hypothesis against the overwhelming evidence, from the mutation of viruses (topical given the bird 'flu scare) to the extensive fossil record. Evolutionary theory is developing all the time as our understanding of gene science grows. It seems to me that creationists and id supporters feel that they can supplant a proper and detailed scientific approach with a throwaway philosophy – an easy thing to do but impossible to substantiate logically. Flying Spagehetti Monsterism, a spoof religion created by a U.S. physics graduate, argues that the concept of a Flying Spaghetti Monster having created the universe is precisely as rational as intelligent design and I have to agree with him. In the US, recent cases in Ohio and Pennsylvania ruled that the teaching of creationism and id in schools was unconstitutional, one judge's scathing attack highlighting the fact that creationism has no intellectual merit. Faith based teaching can, by its very nature, only be devisive. It should never be sanctioned or funded by the State.


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