Sunday, 3 October 2010

Druidry is now a religion

Recently I read on the BBC News site that Druidry or Druidism has been recognised as a religion by the Charity Commission. The story here, outlines the acceptance of this belief.

Now the problem I have with Druids is not their core beliefs which worship the natural world, but the appropriation of prehistoric monuments and remains by their faith. The current model comes from 17th-19th Century Romantic views on Iron Age practises and are in conflict with current archaeological thought. Druids avoid sacrificing animals and people in the modern era because it goes against modern ideas. They have essentially made up this Romanticised ideal of how Druids used to be, if they actually existed. For example, I recommend noting the Druid, King Arthur Pendragon's name, which sounds to me, linked to Thomas Mallory than any actual "Celtic" Arthur or druid.

Druids also come into conflict with archaeologists over prehistoric human remains which they claim repatriation rights. This article from the BBC here, shows how they fought for the remains of a Neolithic child from Avebury, an era of prehistory far removed from their "Druids" by about 2 000 years.

My main concern is that this will give a form of legitimacy to the druids, letting them argue more eloquently for monuments and remains which are not related to them. This would be bad for archaeology as it could mean that prehistoric monuments are treated by druids as their Churches, creating additional conflict between them and archaeologists.

In other news, here is an article outlining the faulty reporting made by journalists on the ADHD story. Whilst I appreciated the scientific coverage and rebuttal by experts in the news, I feel that some, such as one Professor on the BBC, may have been a little too harsh on the journalists trying to interview him on his opinions on the case.

And unfortunately a new ID centre has opened in the UK. Claiming to focus on science rather than religion, hopefully it shall go the same way as Christian Voice, unheard and ignored.

Finally, the Guardian has some good articles on the problems the coalition will cause by cutting funding to science research, an area which frequently produces a good profit.

Science Funding in the UK

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