Christian creationists have launched another attempt to introduce intelligent design into New Zealand’s schools. Focus on the Family recently sent intelligent design (ID) material (The Privileged Planet CD and booklet) to 400 high schools, requesting they be made available to science teachers and school libraries (see Christians challenge teaching of evolution ).
Focus on the Family’s executive director Tim Sisarich said the material was intended to expose pupils to an alternative theory of cosmology.
“We’re a Christian organisation so we believe that God made the planet and God made the cosmos … Science takes a theory and tries to establish it as the truth, and that’s all this is.”
Of course, what Focus on the Family are attempting to do is take a belief, and try to present it as the truth. ID/creationism is only a belief – it doesn’t have the evidential basis of a scientific theory.
It’s not the first time Focus on the Family have carried out such a campaign. In 2005 they sent unsolicited DVDs and workbooks to 500 New Zealand schools (see Intelligent design – coming to a school near you and Religious crackpots send their anti-evolution propaganda to 500 NZ schools).
New Zealand supporters of ID/creationism have swung in to action defending the action. They are presenting the same tired old mantras against evolutionary science (see comment under Christians challenge teaching of evolution ). Polling shows most (75%) New Zealanders reject creationism (see New Zealand supports evolution) so hopefully this attempt to introduce it into in our schools will be roundly rejected. However, there are several fundamentalist groups in New Zealand actively campaigning on the issue. Their websites include Focus on the Family, TBR.cc, Investigate magazine, Christian News New Zealand, Manawatu Christian Apologetics Society, Christian Apologetics Forum and Thinking Matters. They get ideological, and probably material, support from groups such as the US ID Center for Science and Culture (at the Discovery Institute) and distribute their material here.
More information on this material and the motives of Focus on the Family is provided by the Radio New Zealand (RNZ NTN: Creation vs Evolution in Schools) interview with Tim Sisarich (Focus on the Family) and Dr Alison Campbell who helped develop New Zealand’s school science curriculum.
Thanks to Warren for bringing this to my attention.