‘Any science teacher who denies that the world is billions (or even millions!) of years old is teaching children a preposterous, mind-shrinking falsehood. These men disgrace the honourable profession of teacher. By comparison, real teachers, teachers who respect truth and evidence whether in science or history, have so much more to offer.’- Richard Dawkins on the news that Christian Fundamentalists have taken control of a state-funded school in Gateshead. [via t-melt]I went to a typical Comprehensive School where I was taught traditional Christian values. Religion wasn’t rammed down our throats, although there was the odd prayer during morning assembly, something which I reluctantly followed along with. Other than that however, it seemed that religion didn’t impinge on the rest of my schooling, although now I’m beginning to think otherwise. I’m fascinated by science, the universe, and the theory of evolution; I like reading popular science books, I try to catch as many science documentaries as I possibly can. So where was this interest in science when I was at school? I could put it down to teenage rebelliousness, the lack of willpower to be interested in anything. But no, quite simply, there was a lack of passion about science on the part of my teachers. All we did in our science lessons was sit round bunsen burners, fill beakers with harmless acids to see what would happen if something equally as harmless was added to them, burn peanuts to see how many joules of energy they contained and, oh, we dissected a rat. Where were the lessons about the wonders of the universe, about the evolution of life on our planet, about the dinosaurs, all things that interest me and every other sane person on the planet? It seems that my teachers were sitting on the fence, unwilling to put forward firm opinion about the natural history of our planet. I’m sure that if I had been taught by the likes of Richard Dawkins or Heather Couper, people who are passionate about science and the truth of our existence, it would have sparked something in my brain much earlier in my life and maybe I would have been a scientist. Now there’s a thought.