Prof Reiss resigned following the controversy generated over his comments regarding the status of creationism in the school science curriculum.
Lord Robert Winston, Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London, said:
“I fear that in this action the Royal Society may have only diminished itself. This is not a good day for the reputation of science or scientists. This individual was arguing that we should engage with and address public misconceptions about science – something that the Royal Society should applaud.”
Prof Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Durham, said:
“While I have no doubt that Michael Reiss’s comments have been misinterpreted by parts of the media, I think that the fact that he has generously stood down allows the Royal Society to clarify their robust position on this issue. There should be no room for doubt that creationism is completely unsupportable as a theory, and the only reason to mention creationism in schools is to enable teachers to demonstrate why the ideas is scientific nonsense and has no basis in evidence or rational thought.”
Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, said:
“I think Michael Reiss’s departure is a real loss to the Royal Society. I was at the actual discussion at the BA Festival of Science and what I heard him say, however it has been reported, was essentially the position advocated by the Royal Society. I believe the Royal Society should have supported him and used this opportunity to further a reasoned debate.”
See also our earlier press release on Prof Reiss’ comments on creationism here.