Norman Nevin defends Truth in Science
Professor Norman Nevin, who was part of our panel on last week's Sunday Sequence, is one of twelve academics to have written to the Prime Minister and Education Secretary in support of Truth in Science's controversial schools initiative. Truth in Science believe that children and youth people should be exposed to alternatives to Darwinism and evolutionary theory, and, particularly, to Intelligent Design Theory, and have sent teaching packs to every school in the country.
Norman Nevin is professor emeritus of medical genetics at Queen's University and an advisor to the government on gene therapies. He's also committed Christian and lay preacher. Also signing the letter is the former director of the Armagh Observatory, Mart de Groot; the Warwick University sociologist Steve Fuller (who, like Norman Nevin, contributed to our recent Creation Wars special); and Professor Antony Flew.
I should say more about Flew, in case you are unaware of the significance of his signature. In the 70s and 80s, the philosopher Antony Flew was Britain's most strident philosophical atheist, taking on that mantle (excuse the geological pun) after the death of Bertrand Russell. I heard Flew lecture a few times, and he was an extremely animated and impassioned speaker. He wrote prolifically, publishing books as often as others wrote articles. Now in his 80s, I interviewed him two years ago on radio, soon after his high-profile religious "conversion". He'd apparently been convinced by recent developments in the philosophy of religion and had abandoned his atheistic perspective for a form of deism (he had come to believe in a god not unlike Aristote's -- one who was not involved 9or interested) in human affairs after creation) . I looked forward to talking to Professor Flew, since I'd read so many of his books and articles as a student. Unfortunately, he was not the fast-speaking, quick-witted thinker I remembered. His comments were slugglishly delivered, I had to repeat questions to him, and when I tried to offer possible counter-arguments, he didn't seem to follow the conversation. It's possible, of course, that he was ill or under the weather at that time -- he was, after all, born in 1923. In the end, we chose not to broadcast the interview. Joan Bakewell subsequently interviewed him on Radio 4 with more success.