As a former convener of debates of Glasgow University Union, I always welcome a full, frank and open debate on any and all matters of public, national and international interest.

However, before one can debate, one must always be clear about what exactly is under discussion. And here Bob Downie (Letters, November 27) and other like-minded correspondents leave us somewhat perplexed. Mr Downie speaks of "various groups" having "creationist perspectives" demanding that "creationism" be taught alongside science in our schools.

Before we can embark on our debate, Mr Downie owes it to us to make clear, firstly: who are these groups; where do they operate, and; what sort of membership list do they have? Put another way, is this a real threat to the fabric of our education system, or, is it a straw man?

Secondly, what exactly is the nature of this "creationism" that you so fear? Is it the US Bible Belt sort of thing along the lines that God created the Earth over seven days exactly 4, 237 and one half years ago? Is it the old Penny Catechism? It begins: "Who made me? God made me. Why did God make me? God made me to know Him, to love him and serve to Him in this world so that I may be happy with him for ever in the next."

If that is what you fear then you are in some illustrious company: Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Mussolini to name but a few. They all wanted to usurp parents' rights in respect to the education of children and that is exactly why some very wise men got together and included in the European Convention on Human Rights Protocol No.1 (March 20, 1952) Article 2: "… In the exercise of any functions which it (the State) assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions."

Hugh McLoughlin,

24 Russell Street,