In October 2010, Russell was contacted in his role as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning by sceptical bloggers wanting to know where he stood on the issue of teaching "intelligent design" as science. At the time they blogged, Russell had not got back to them, although Learning and Teaching Scotland had given a response which they considered "less than adequate". Someone posted a comment on the blog claiming that he had also written to Russell and received a reply which was "word for word the same" as the letter from LTS.
On 10th November 2010, as holder of the science portfolio, Michael Russell spoke in a Parliamentary debate on the topic of Science and responded to points raised by other MSPs. In particular, he responded to worries expressed by Patrick Harvie that creationism may enter the classroom, stating that:
- "I say to Patrick Harvie that I can and will distinguish between belief and scientific fact; that is absolutely what I should do. However, I will not be a censor or forbid people from holding opinions or beliefs. I recognise where the lines lie, but I felt that Patrick Harvie moved rather far towards condemning people for their beliefs. I am clear that belief is not to be confused with scientific fact—"
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