Monday, July 03, 2006

Thomas Huxley on Religious Education --
TPMcafe blogger points to an interesting New York Review of Books look at Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion As a Natural Phenomenon.

Within it is an interesting tidbit about Thomas Huxley, the agnostic famous as "Darwin's Bulldog" in defending evolution.

Darwin and a leading proponent of Darwin's theory of evolution. When public education was instituted in England in 1870, eleven years after Darwin's theory was published, Thomas Huxley was appointed to the royal commission which decided what to teach in the public schools.

Huxley was himself an agnostic, but as a member of the commission he firmly insisted that religion should be taught in schools together with science. Every child should be taught the Christian Bible as an integral part of English culture. In recent times the scope of religious instruction in England has been extended to include Judaism and Islam. As a result of this policy, no strong antagonism between religious parents and public schools has arisen, from 1870 until the present day. The teaching of religion in public schools coincided with a decline of religious belief and a growth of religious tolerance.
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