John Howard vs Charles Darwin?

The left used to portray John Howard as hostile to multiculturalism. But as Michael Gawenda points out in today’s Age, while Howard wasn’t so keen on multiculturalism of the subsidies for Bolivian folk dancing variety, he was quite happy with the implicit multiculturalism of religious schools. And conversely (though Gawenda does not say this), while the left liked the multiculturalism of ethnic differences, it was (and is) often quite hostile to religious belief, particularly when reinforced by religious schools.

And few religious beliefs get people more upset than creationism or intelligent design. Gawenda comments that:

Given that some faith-based schools in Australia — unlike schools in the US — teach creationism and the pseudo-science of Intelligent Design as legitimate alternatives to evolutionary theory, how many will mark the Darwin anniversaries [of Charles Darwin’s birth and publication of his evolutionary theory], let alone celebrate them?

In all probability, a significant number won’t. For that John Howard can take some credit. What an irony, given that this was a PM determined to roll back multiculturalism.

But how much does it really matter what ordinary people think about where humans came from? Even most of us who would say we subscribe to Darwin’s theories would not be able to correctly answer even quite basic questions about the evolutionary sequence and how many years ago the the various stages of evolution occurred. I wandered through an exhibition on Darwin only a few weeks ago in Toronto, but I have forgotten already most of what I learnt there.
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