Richard Dawkins (a foe of creationism) pitches into the NZ furore over letter in defence of science by seven professors

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins a few years ago reacted to Donald Trump’s shock election victory in the United States by urging fellow scientists to move to New Zealand.

He called on this country to offer British and American academics citizenship following the “catastrophes” both countries had suffered at the hands of “uneducated, anti-intellectual” voters.

He might have changed his mind since then, although the mainstream media here either haven’t noticed or don’t think it’s a matter of public interest. 

Dawkins is troubled by what is happening to some of our scientists and is supporting colleagues around the world who contend that myths do not belong in science classes.  He has posted on Twitter the letter he emailed to the chief executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

He wrote to Roger Ridley, unaware that Paul Atkins ( has succeeded Ridley as CEO.

Dawkins’ letter was prompted by another eminent scientist, Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus in  the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago.

Let’s  hear first from Coyne, who has a has posted an article headed “Ways of knowing”: New Zealand pushes to have “indigenous knowledge” (mythology) taught on parity with modern science in science class”

Coyne has been alerted to the furore which we mentioned here yesterday and which was critically aired in The Spectator in a column by associate editor Toby Young headed Why punish a scientist for defending science? Continue reading “Richard Dawkins (a foe of creationism) pitches into the NZ furore over letter in defence of science by seven professors”

We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise

Our Beehive bulletin

The Government’s ban on new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels perhaps ranked as the most important Beehive announcement yesterday.

It was the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s draft package of advice to Government in February and was accompanied by the distribution of dollops of corporate welfare to  the successful applicants in round one of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

Fourteen companies will receive $22.88m in co-funding to help their businesses transition away from fossil fuels.

The ban on new coal boilers used in manufacturing and production will come into effect by 31 December.

A consultation document for other coal proposals can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

The energy announcement was one of several to emerge during a busy day in the Beehive, many of them enabling Ministers to bray about the big bucks (or small ones) they were throwing around. Continue reading “We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise”

Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes

Lincoln University administrators did some consulting before answering questions first sent to them on September 21.  They finally answered the questions – about the incorporation of matauranga Maori in science classes – earlier this month but won’t say who was consulted.

The short answer is yes, it is incorporated in their science classes.

  1. Is Maori knowledge incorporated in science courses, at Lincoln University


 2.  If so, when was it introduced to science courses, why was it introduced, and is it incorporated in all science courses or just some?

Maori knowledge content began to be introduced into some courses at Lincoln University from around 2005 by individual lecturers who were motivated to do so.  Currently some courses available in 2018 have Maori knowledge content.

The university has been somewhat sparse with the information it provided and is not disclosing the identities of the people whom it consulted after insisting Bob Edlin’s questions be dealt with under the Official Information Act.

All other universities approached for information had replied by early November.  All but the University of Auckland said yes, they did incorporate Maori knowledge in science as well as other courses. Continue reading “Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes”