A hallmark of tyranny is when leaders believe they are so correct that they have the right to criminalize dissent. The Council of Europe claims to be a leading “human rights” body in Europe, but last June its “Committee on Culture, Science and Education” issued a report (“Committee Report”) proposing a ban on intelligent design (ID) in science classrooms, suggesting ID may pose a “threat to human rights.” Uncommon Descent has covered this issue in detail, and ARN recently reported that the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an ID-friendly legal group affiliated with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), has written a Memo (“ECLJ Memo”) exposing the Committee Report’s hypocrisy.
The ECLJ Memo observes that the Council of Europe’s own Parliamentary Assembly has stated, “History has proven that violations of academic freedom . . . have always resulted in intellectual relapse, and consequently in social and economic stagnation,” and that the European Court of Human Rights has held that “pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness” are requirements for democratic society. The Council of Europe’s “Committee on Culture, Science and Education” apparently eschews these values when it comes to ID. Indeed, the Committee Report treats Darwinian evolution like a religious dogma, where “doubt” must be prevented through thought-control: The Committee Report asserts “there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth” and thus ID must be “combated” because “[i]t is necessary to avoid doubt entering individuals minds” regarding evolution. The Council of Europe claims to “to protect human rights [and] pluralist democracy,” yet the ECLJ Memo makes a powerful argument that it is the Committee Report that threatens the values of free society:
The Committee on Culture, Science and Education presented the working document, “Report on the Dangers of Creationism in Education” (“Report”), on 8 June 2007, including 19 articles of a Draft Resolution (“Resolution”). The aim of the Report is to forego scientific discussion between the theories of evolution and creationism, or intelligent design, to impede the educational formation of children by restricting classroom exploration of ideas, and effectively infringe on the rights of free exercise of expression, religion, and education. … Respect for pluralism and diversity are hallmarks of a democratic society. … The Report does not respect the freedom of expression of teachers, researchers, and students, as manifest in academic freedom, because it seeks to eradicate an alternative to the Darwinian model of the origin of life, thereby elevating the theory of evolution to scientific dogma.
The ECLJ’s memo is worth reading because it exposes the hypocrisy of the authors of the Committee Report and rightly concludes that “the [Council of Europe’s] Parliamentary Assembly should reject the Resolution as incompatible with the goals and ideals of the Council of Europe.” Thankfully, Reuters reported that the Council of Europe tabled a scheduled vote on the Committee Report. Perhaps there are still true guardians of human rights and opponents of tyranny within the Council of Europe.