Creation Ministries International (the Australian arm of ‘Answers in Genesis’) is coming to Perth this very weekend. They’ve got their sights set on UWA and Curtin, two universities in Perth. Why would they target universities? Two possible reasons: they’re trying to convert uni students, and they’re trying to borrow the credibility of institutions that do scientific research.
I’m writing a letter to ask UWA to consider whether they really want to be hosting this thing. Not because I want CMI’s views suppressed — I’m happy for them to spread their religious misinformation in church where it belongs. But universities are busy teaching according to the best evidence we have available, and they do not have an obligation to promote anti-science views that undermine their work.
Here’s my letter:
I am writing to raise some concerns about an event by Creation Ministries International, slated for the UWA Crawley campus on Sunday, 9 April. The event is called “Solid Answers for the Real World.”
Creation Ministries International are Young Earth Creationists who teach that the Earth is a few thousand years old, contrary to geological evidence. They attempt to undermine the theory of evolution, which is the basis of the biological sciences. These are fringe views, not supported by evidence, and not generally held by the hard-working and knowledgable members of the UWA faculty who teach in these disciplines.
I would like to ask that the University of Western Australia consider whether hosting this event is appropriate. CMI are, of course, free to espouse their views, but the university is not an appropriate venue for them to do so. By having this event on its campus, UWA could be seen as giving implicit endorsement of the views of CMI. It would allow CMI to trade on UWA’s credibility.
The University exists for the purpose of education and research. It has no compelling interest in hosting an event designed to promote disinformation. And on a personal note, as a lecturer, I find it particularly galling that lecturers at UWA work throughout the week to teach the facts about biology, geology, and science, only to have this work be undone on Sunday.
Thank you for your consideration.
Assistant Professor, Linguistics
What happens if no one listens, and the event goes ahead? Or — gasp — what if I draw more attention to it?
That’s okay, too. In that case, I’ll be there on the day, helping to hand out information, explaining to people what evolution really is, and why the creationist clown show they’ve just seen is nonsense.