The UK government has banned all academies and free schools, both existing today and those which are yet to open, from teaching creationism as scientifically valid.
Back in 2012 the government stopped all future free schools from teaching creationism and pseudoscience as science, but the change did not apply to free schools which were already operating and didn’t apply to Academies. But these rules have now been extended to include all current and future academies and free schools.
This is great news for those who, like me, have been concerned that simplistic, creationist views were potentially indoctrinating or, at the very least, misleading children since they were being presented as science. Creationism and the fact that, in the face of overwhelming evidence to support the scientific facts of evolution, people continue to hold strong creationist views is a subject worth discussing in schools. As stated by Richy Thompson, campaigns officer at the British Humanist Association:
“…teaching creationism in science was the same as a geography teacher “telling their students the world was flat”.
“We don’t want to see any children being taught creationism for the simple reason that it’s not true,” Mr Thompson said. “The scientific consensus is overwhelming and the evidence is overwhelming in supporting the theory of evolution.”
Alice Roberts, professor of public engagement in science at the University of Birmingham in England and presenter of BBC programme The Incredible Human Journey which explains the evidence for the theory of early human migrations out of Africa, has expressed concern that too many children are at risk of indoctrination.
“There should be regulation that prevents all schools, not just state schools, from teaching creationism because it is indoctrination, it is planting ideas into children’s heads,” she told TES. “We should be teaching children to be much more open-minded.
“People who believe in creationism say that by teaching evolution you are indoctrinating them with science, but I just don’t agree with that. Science is about questioning things. It’s about teaching people to say, ‘I don’t believe it until we have very strong evidence.’”
Any UK schools which are found to be breaching the ban are likely to have their funding reduced or removed.
In the United States there is far more widespread belief in Creationist theories and legislation has already been passed which allows creationism and intelligent design to be taught in the states of Louisiana and Tennessee. A recent Gallup poll has worryingly demonstrated that only 19% of Americans believe that humans evolved and god had no part in the process. A huge, 42% believe that God created humans and 31% believe that humans evolved with God’s guidance.
In a 2006 UK poll regarding the “origin and development of life” some interesting results were derived. Participants were offered 3 options, Young Earth (creationism), Intelligent Design, Evolution theory – as explanations for the origin of life. In the UK 22% chose young earth (creationism), 17% opted for intelligent design and 48% chose evolution.
The same survey conducted in a United states Gallup produced contrasting results between the various political persuasions. Creationism was chosen by a massive 60% of Republicans with only 4% choosing evolution without god. Of the Democrats 38% believe in creationism and only 17% believe in evolution.
Luckily, the support for creationism from credible and relevant scientists is minimal and support is declining. But many American free schools are funded by organisations which promote creationist theory. So there are some interesting times ahead for educational systems and curricula on both sides of the Atlantic.
The subject of eating on public transport has been highlighted by the recent eating protest organised on the London underground system. Lots of people seem to think that because they are busy this gives them the right to pollute the space they share on these trains with their offensive eating odors and bad eating habits.
Regardless of how busy someone is, eating a smelly meal like a Macdonalds or a kebab in a confined train compartment is completely unacceptable. The same applies to buses. We should adopt the same zero-tolerance approach as is taken in Singapore where people can be fined for eating sweets while using public transport.
Now even I think that the Singaporean approach is perhaps going a little too far. Sweets and various small snacks are tolerable, but smelly burgers, chips and kebabs are simply out of the question. And some of the eating habits exhibited by those who feel the need to fill their often over-fed faces with food while travelling, are simply disgusting. Mouth-open eating and mastication is not nice to see and should only be carried out in private. If you have bad eating habits you really need to keep them to yourself.
Is this an unreasonable position to adopt? Is it wrong for the Women Who Eat on Tubes site to publish pics of women scoffing while on London’s tube trains? There is certainly nothing wrong with promoting high standards of behaviour and good manners. This is an aspect of modern life which has declined enormously and everyone would benefit from the occasional reminder of what is acceptable and what isn’t. But focusing solely on women who eat on tubes is very one sided. Some of the most disgusting eating behaviour that I have witnessed has been from men so perhaps another website is needed. And these bad habits are not confined to the London tube system. Buses are equally treated as snackbars by travelers who think nothing of boarding a bus and then tucking into their fish and chips, which they eat with their fingers. These are the same fingers they use to handle filthy cash and touch the various communal handles that are covered in man-eating bacteria. Clearly, hygiene education is sadly lacking.
And its not just the eating which causes offence, its the mess that is left behind. Some people think nothing of dumping their half-eaten Chicken Raita salad wrap from Pret a Manger on the floor of the tube compartment when they have had enough. There is always unavoidable mess when someone eats food, that’s why we use napkins in restaurants. And where does this mess go when on public transport? It goes into the space that is shared with other passengers so why should they be forced to share their travel space with someone else’s stinky food, bad manners and food waste?
Let’s face it, we’ve got a problem. It’s a big problem and it’s getting bigger. Americans are growing and not in a good way.
Over two thirds of Americans are either over weight or obese. Children are growing up believing that obese is normal. The sad result is that these young people are likely to have shorter life expectancies than their parents. They have been conditioned and educated to believe that being fat is normal by parents who have grown fat themselves due to poor diets and laziness.
Some have suggested that poverty is to blame and there is some correlation between socio-economic factors and obesity statistics. But its not all about wealth. Basically, it boils down to readily available, cheap and unhealthy foods combined with sedentary lifestyles and laziness.
People have become lazy. Lazy in their attitudes, thinking, opinions and in what they do. Rather than prepare a healthy, tasty salad for their children it’s far easier to open a bag of chips and fat laden dips. Instead of getting outdoors and doing something active with the whole family it’s far easier to let the children play computer games all day while consuming gallons of fizzy drinks. And it’s far easier for parents to deny their responsibility by telling themselves nonsense excuses like big-bones are the root cause when in fact the reason is simply big, fattening meals and no exercise.
The time has come for some radical new approaches to deal with this growing problem. Children mimic their parents and those parents who are conditioning their offspring to become fat, lazy copies of themselves are guilty of child abuse. Plain and simple. They are costing the nation a fortune and populating the country with miserable, fat kids who will die before their time after suffering from diseases that they should never experience.
Being overweight and obese needs to be massively disincentivised. It should be perfectly acceptable for airlines to set size limits and to charge overweight passengers more. Clothes for outsize people use significantly more material than clothes for normal sized people so they cost more to produce, store and transport so they should be sold for XXXL prices. Purchasing fattening, unhealthy foods and drink should somehow be discouraged in favour of more healthy options. Good parents who set great examples should be recognised and praised for what they are doing. Whereas parents who take the lazy approach should be identified, offered assistance and made aware of the consequences of their poor parenting.
Not so long ago smoking was considered to be cool and sophisticated. Films and TV series’ from the 1950s presented attractive, stylish actors and actresses puffing away on cigarettes, often engulfed in clouds of smoke. But if someone was to light up a cigarette in a restaurant or bar today they would be on the receiving end of some very disapproving stares and most likely be asked to go outside to a designated smoking area. People’s attitudes to smoking have changed radically and this has had an enormously beneficial impact on the nation’s health. The same needs to happen to over-consumption, laziness and obesity. It shouldn’t be considered discriminatory to enforce size restrictions on aircraft, at sports events, fairgrounds or in theatres. It shouldn’t be considered discriminatory to charge overweight and over-sized people more if it costs more to provide them with a product or service. It’s simply practical, common sense.
The Nurse has had a lovely time the last few months, trollying around Brighton off her face on various mind-bending substances, more or less behaving herself. But now she’s bored shitless.
How could she have contemplated giving up her wicked ways? Looking back, it seems insane.
She ran into The Chief Surgeon in Waitrose on Western Road yesterday. The silly old duffer. But The Nurse has a soft spot for him, since he was the man who introduced her to the whole amateur brain surgery thing in the first place. Of course he managed to stay out of gaol, the sod, but she’s prepared to let it lie. Life’s too short to bear grudges.
Seeing him brought back all sorts of lovely memories of her old guerilla trepanning days. But the thing that tipped The Nurse over the edge was the muff table, found in one of Kemptown’s excellent junk emporia a few hours later.
If you’re old enough to recall the 1970s and ever came across a porn magazine in a back alley behind your house (like The Nurse did) you’ll be unable to forget the sheer size and frightening vigour of muffs back then. In the days when the Brazilian wasn’t even a twinkle in a pervy beautician’s eye, ladygardens grew wild and free. Very wild and very free. And the muff table was absolutely covered in them, a triumph in the art of decoupage decorated with what must have been a hundred cut-out photos of minges, all complete with thick outcrops of wayward, wiry 1970s pubes. Blimey.
The Nurse doesn’t give a stuff about interior decor. It’s for wankers. But she desired the muff table with all her horrible black heart. And it was a snip at just seventy quid plus a crafty blow job out the back.
In fact she’s so delighted she couldn’t resist re-opening her dialogue with you lot, simply to show off.
If you’re ever brave enough to invite yourself over for tea you’ll find The Nurse sitting quietly on the sofa with the muff table in pride of place, her eyes glowing strangely in the dim light, surrounded by surgical instruments. She’ll make you very welcome… in her own special way.
Oh, The Nurse is so glad she’s back. This is going to be such fun.