Creationism row forces out UK educator
The director of education at Britain's Royal Society has been forced to resign after a massive outcry in the wake of widespread misreporting of comments he made about creationism in the classroom.
Michael Reiss, a professor at London's Institute of Education and an ordained minister in the Church of England, made the remarks at the British Association for the Advancement of Science's annual Festival of Science on 11 September in Liverpool. Three Nobel-prizewinning society fellows wrote to the society's president, Martin Rees, saying that they were "greatly concerned" at media reports of Reiss's talk. They are Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England BioLabs in Beverly, Massachusetts; Harold Kroto of Florida State University in Tallahassee; and John Sulston of the University of Manchester, UK.
The Royal Society initially insisted that Reiss had been misrepresented and that his views do not differ from the society's position that "creationism has no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum". After the letter of complaint and with the reported statements continuing to receive press coverage, including hostile opinion pieces, the society announced Reiss's departure on 16 September.
“To call for his resignation ... comes a little too close to a witch-hunt for my squeamish taste.”
University of Oxford