stepped down from his post yesterday after several Royal Society fellows called for his resignation following comments he made last week on addressing creationism in the classroom. After reading his comments, it seemed to me that he was consistent with the Royal Society's position: "The Royal Society's position is that creationism has no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum. However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific." (If you're curious, ACS's position on teaching evolution can be found here.)
Many moons ago, I went to high school in the Bible Belt where the discussion on evolution in my advanced biology class was relegated to an exercise as "some believe this, some believe that, now write a statement on what you, personally, believe" in an effort to not offend. (This was likely a move to pacify parents rather than students, and I am grateful that at least I did not learn about evolution from "South Park" teacher Mr. Garrison.) I would have preferred a discussion, one that addressed how creationism is not based on scientific fact and evolution is, and I think that Reiss's comments and the Royal Society's position are entirely appropriate.
You might also find of interest a letter Richard Dawkins, a Royal Society fellow, sent to New Scientist prior to Reiss's resignation.
What do you think about the situation? Did Reiss receive unfair flak? Are people too reactionary as soon as the word "creationism" comes up? Does the fact that Reiss is an ordained minister affect your view at all (as Dawkins discusses in his letter)?
Michael Reiss, the education director for the Royal Society,