Polish Anti-Evolutionist Politician Fires Neo-Nazi Assistant

Back in October, Nature published an article about Creationism in Poland:

…”The theory of evolution is a lie,” Miroslaw Orzechowski, Poland’s deputy education minister, told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza on 14 October. “It is an error we have legalized as a common truth.”

The LPR [Liga Polskich Rodzin, League of Polish Families] entered the ruling coalition in May 2006. Its leader, Roman Giertych, is also known to favour creationist views. These, as well as his openly homophobic, anti-Semitic and nationalistic opinions, have sparked student demonstrations in Warsaw since he took the minister of education job in May.

Giertych’s father, Maciej Giertych, is an LPR member in the European Parliament and is lobbying for obligatory inclusion of creationism in Polish biology curricula. Maciej, who holds a PhD in tree physiology from the University of Toronto, Canada, claims darwinian evolution is refuted by scientific evidence.

Maciej Giertych then wrote to Nature, bizarrely complaining that he was not a Creationist, but that he believed all the Creationist arguments: microevolution is a reduction in genetic information; there are no positive mutations; dinosaurs co-existed with humans; and so on. Giertych’s assertions were dismantled by numerous scientists in a subsequent issue, and these have been preserved at Pharyngula. The most interesting was from Ulrich Kutschera of the University of Kassel, who refered to an earlier report about Creationism at the European Parliament:

Your Special Report “Anti-evolutionists raise their profile in Europe” (Nature 444, 406407; 2006) mentions a seminar held in Brussels at the European Parliament on 11 October 2006, as part of a new strategy by supporters of intelligent design (ID) to disseminate anti-evolutionism among the general public of Europe.

…The anti-evolution seminar was a series of three public lectures, introduced and moderated by Giertych, who is the retired head of the genetics department of the Polish Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Daylight Origins Society, a Catholic creationist organization based in Britain. The seminar was co-organized by Dominique Tassot, director of the Centre d’Etude et de Prospectives sur la Science, an association of 700 Catholic intellectuals who do not accept macroevolution because it is in conflict with their interpretation of the Bible…

Maciej and his son Roman Giertych have been featured on this blog before; Roman is the education minister, and his League of Polish Families has also been vocal in opposing gay rights. WorldNetDaily covered a sinister march through Warsaw organized by the group, while declining to tell readers about its far-right philosophy.

Roman Giertych is also the honorary chairman of the All Polish Youth, a skinhead group that he used to lead. A few days ago a 2004 video surfaced which showed All Polish Youth at a neo-Nazi rally, complete with burning swastika, Nazi flags and “Sieg Heil”s. One detail:

The newspaper [Dziennik] said a young woman in the video was Leokadia Zwiazek, an assistant of Giertych’s father Maciej Giertych who is a member of the European Parliament and the LPR.

But Giertych denied the accusation and asked prosecutors to investigate the incident.

However, shortly thereafter Zwiazek was dismissed. Roman added:

“Anyone who propagates the swastika in Poland is not only an idiot, but also a criminal,”…

So you see, Maciej and Roman Giertych are not neo-Nazis. In the same way that they’re not Creationists.


Meanwhile, Maciej’s younger brother Fr Wojciech Giertych is keeping a low profile – as I noted a year ago, he’s the current “Theologian of the Papal Household”, which means he sub-edits the Pope’s writings and speeches. Of course, he’s not his brother’s keeper, but one would like to know just what links, if any, he keeps with his far-right family.