WORLD renowned evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins has hit back at comments made by a Hyndburn headteacher on Twitter.
St Andrew’s CE Primary headteacher Christina Wilkinson has come under fire after appearing to post on Twitter that ‘evolution is not a fact’, as previously reported in the Observer.
The tweet from the @WilkinsonHead account stated: “Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true.”
Now the evolutionary biologist Prof Richard Dawkins said the Church of England school headteacher was misusing the word theory.
“Scientists call evolution a theory only in a special scientists’ sense, which is NOT the same as the layman’s ‘tentative hypothesis’,” he is reported as saying in the Guardian.
“This is so often misunderstood that I now recommend abandoning the confusing word ‘theory’ altogether for the case of evolution.
“Evoluton is a fact, as securely attested as any fact in science. ‘We are cousins of monkeys and kangaroos’ can be asserted with as much confidence as ‘Our planet orbits the sun’.”
Mrs Wilkinson's tweet was in response to a post by Tom Sherrington, a Trustee of the National Baccalaureate Trust who writes a blog on education issues.
At the time of our original story Phillip Stanton raised concerns about Mrs Wilkinson’s comments in a letter to the headteacher and the Observer.
He said: “Given that your Twitter address is @WilkinsonHead I do not consider it unreasonable to assume that this statement represents your viewpoints as the head of St Andrew’s Primary School.
“I would therefore be most grateful if you provide references for your statements that ‘evolution is not a fact’ and ‘there’s more evidence that the Bible is true’.
“If you are unable to do so please confirm that these unsubstantiated opinions in no way affect the ways in which science and religion are taught in St Andrew’s Primary School.”
At the time, Mrs Wilkinson said: “I would like to make it clear that we teach the full national curriculum at St Andrew’s Primary School and that our pupils receive a fully rounded education.
“The comment in question was made using my personal twitter account and represents my own views.”
A Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education spokesperson said: “In relation to what should be taught, as a diocese we state all schools should teach the full national curriculum which includes ‘adaptation of plants and animals and that adaption may lead to evolution.”