Royal Society in Crisis

by Irma Arkus

Reverend / Professor Michael Reiss, the Royal Society’s Director of Education, is also a religious man, one who has declared that Creationism disguised as Intelligent Design is a desirable “theory” to explore in classroom setting. As a result of his statements, the Royal Society is facing a tremendous crisis, one which Richard Dawkins addressed today in his letter to New Scientist:

“Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who ‘respect’ creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity,” writes Dawkins.

It seems that the days of languishing in apathy while “respecting” religious fantasies are over.

Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, has publicly requested Reiss to step down: “Creationism, Intelligent Design etc. have no place in a science classroom discussion and should not be legitimized as acceptable alternative theories to evolution by anyone who claims to be a scientist. Ill-conceived opinions by a representative of the RS will only encourage those teachers, both scientists and otherwise, with a creationist agenda to speak about it to their students in the classroom. We would urge that Professor Reiss step down, or be asked to step down, as soon as possible,” writes Rees.

Now that chicken have come to roost, so the speak, people like Dawkins and P.Z. Myers are becoming faces of both political and scientific leadership. Question begs though, why Reiss attempted to use his position to pursue his own religious beliefs after so many years of being a member in this important professional association?

Read full letter by Dawkins here.