Irish State-Funded Schools Teach ‘Soft Creationism’
This week has seen children all over Ireland return to school after the holidays. It has also been a very busy week for Atheist Ireland on the subject of education. Most notably, we have demonstrated that in many respects, the ETB sector in Ireland is every bit as Roman Catholic as schools under the direct patronage of the Roman Catholic Church.
Separately, we also published an article on the kind of materials that will be presented to Irish schoolchildren in State-funded schools. This includes asking kids to depict scenes of torture and congratulating a fourteen year old girl for agreeing to be impregnated, despite being confused and afraid.
A further element of Roman Catholic teaching relates to ‘soft creationism’. The most recent Catholic teaching on evolution is contained in the 1950 Papal Encyclical, Humani Generis. This document insists on monogenism (the idea that all humans are descended from a single couple) and rejects polygenism (the idea that contemporary humans are descended from a disperse population, whose number never dropped below thousands of individuals).
There is a contemporary scientific consensus that polygenism is correct and that monogenism can’t possibly be true, which is in direct contradiction to Roman Catholic teaching. Humani Generis further insists that the Fall of Man was an actual historic event (which gave rise to Original Sin in us all) and that Adam was an actual historic character. Additionally, Humani Generis insists on a belief that all humans who existed after Adam, were directly descended from this single historic Adam character. The Catholic Church likes to pretend that it accepts evolution but its teaching includes anti-scientific human exceptionalism and explicit ‘soft creationism’.
If you think that this is just arcane detail, which is of interest only to ageing theologians in Rome, then think again. The Association of Catholic Priests is very much on the liberal wing of the Irish Church and this group also supports Catholic ‘soft creationism’. The Association of Catholic Priests would have us believe that Adam was the “first human”. That is, he was a man born of non-human parents who looked around at his contemporaries, as people who were all of a different non-human species. This is another anti-scientific position, which cannot be reconciled with a contemporary understanding of speciation and how it occurs over evolutionary time.
If you think that this is a position that is only relevant to Roman Catholic votaries and others who pour over Papal Encyclicals, then think again. This is the position that informs how children are taught in State-funded Irish schools. As the latest Catholic school books published this year state, “the children hear the story of creation from the first book of the Bible”. The Irish State taxes all of us and uses this cash to fund the teaching of ‘soft creationism’ to our children.