The Guardian website yesterday carried a blistering attack on Michael Reiss by Nobel prizewinner Harry Kroto, over Reiss’s recent advocacy of teaching creationism as a “cultural worldview” in British science lessons. Kroto is having none of it, and says the problem is that as a church minister Reiss was in the wrong job. “It really does not matter whether one believes a mystical entity created the universe 5,000 or 10,000 million years ago – both are equally irrational unsubstantiated claims of no fundamental validity.” All religious people, including Reiss, “fall at the first hurdle of the main requirement for honest scientific discussion because they accept unfound dogma as having fundamental significance.”
Kroto frames it as a matter of intellectual integrity:
“An ordained minister must have accepted that there was a creator (presumably more intelligent than he is?) thus many of us (maybe 90% of FRSs) cannot see how such a person can pontificate on how to tackle this fundamentally unresolvable conflict at the science/religion interface. Reiss cannot have his religious cake in church and eat the scientific one in the classroom. “
Reiss stepped down as Education Director of the Royal Society this month after his controversial comments.