Professor Michael Reiss – fate in name

To make life easier all the blogs on Michael Reiss have been put together in a category to see them all click

PZ Myers writes the well known blog Pharyngula

PZ Myers writes the well known blog Pharyngula

here (where this one will be on top). There you will find all the letters written by Richard Dawkins and Sir Richard Roberts, and my comments on both the articles that Reiss wrote that started his downfall and analysis of his resignation.

Mind you in hindsight we should have seen Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society and Reiss being in this situation over creationism. Not just because an ordained clergyman given the role of protecting science education in the classroom would be called into doubt, but the anagram of Professor Michael Reiss:

‘ism clash poor Rees fires

PZ Myers made this comment on Reiss:

Dawkins and I are both often slandered as being relatively uninterested in promoting good science education, preferring to fight the culture war against religion (a claim that ignores the fact that we may feel strongly that the only way to achieve a lasting investment in understanding science is by reducing the pernicious influence of religion) — we are told that we think atheism more important than science. Let us ask, though, if these brave paladins of Jesus-compatible science would be willing to set aside their religion to better endorse science…and I think we all know what the answer would be.

That feeling made Reiss’ position untenable because “unfortunately his words got all tangled in the appearance of an unwarranted accommodation to creationism.”

Once again perception of reality rather than the actual empirical observation triumphs in the murky world of society politics – rational minds are not immune to gossip or personality clashes even if they are Nobel Laureates. While the next candidate may well have no conflict between advocating science and holy orders, the issue over which Reiss was brought down was one close to my heart. That in a science classroom science teachers have the right to teach the science that challenges a students declaration of religious belief about the natural world.

Hopefully that challenge will still be taken up, as the Royal Society advocates, and in case you are new to the blog I go into more detail in my blog here on Reiss resigns. Though that can be found as the third blog in the category section of Michael Reiss.

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