More than a hundred years ago, Edmund Gosse published a memoir - Father & Son - of his relationship with his father, Philip, an eminent Victorian biologist.
His father was a fanatical Christian fundamentalist who saw his career unravel because of the new theories of evolution of Charles Darwin.
Although he intellectually knew as a scientist that Darwin's theory was correct, he could not let go of his deeply held religious faith, which taught that the world was only a few thousand years old, was created in six days along with all the creatures that now inhabit it.
He preferred, as his son said, "the servitude of error" to "a flood of light;" everyone had to hold that belief as he "had no concept of the importance of liberty".
What it was that brought the book to my mind was the revelation that in Middlesbrough there are three new "academy" schools, paid for and run by car dealer Peter Vardy, who is an avowed Christian fundamentalist and believer in the same myths Gosse's father adhered to a hundred years ago.
The headmaster he has appointed to run his schools also holds the same views and the creationist theory is taught as fact in all three schools. It is even claimed that teachers in the schools are appointed for their adherence to the religious dogma rather than for their skills as teacher.
I realise that a good many people who have no religious affiliations or belief are prone to say, when faced with unruly teenagers, that they could all do with a dose of "good old Christian ethics". But I hardly think that even these people could approve of having three such state secondary schools without any consultation with the parents about what was to be taught in the school, the ethos of the school or the fact that no alternative choice of school was offered.
Should we be alarmed that Tony Blair, himself blinded by ideas of the benefits of religion, should allow groups to set up "faith" schools, naively failing to understand just how much scope that gives to religious zealots to get at children in their formative years and brainwash them into all manner of ideas about the world and other people?
Has he learned nothing from Northern Ireland, where for many years children have been brainwashed into believing that those of the "wrong" religion are inferior?
It is no use expecting Ofsted to rescue children from such regimes and prevent this shutting down of children's minds in the name of "faith". After all, these three schools get 96 per cent of their pupils through five good GCSE passes and are therefore acclaimed as proof of the success of the "academy" system.
Does Ofsted care that parents allege that, in addition to unacceptable Bible-bashing, children are regimented and watched constantly, not even allowed to leave the classroom to go to the toilet or change a soiled sanitary towel?
Or that the good results come from the practice of permanently excluding significant numbers of children, not because of bad behaviour but because they are considered not clever enough to pass five GCSE subjects?
Does it not seem a bit fishy that children are taught creationism as well as Darwin's theory but are told by teachers only to mention Darwin in their exams? Could it be that they don't want examining boards to become alarmed at what is being taught in these schools?
All this I find very disturbing. During the 40 years that I taught it was a constant battle against the loony left Marxists to influence (and destroy) education in this country.
Are we to have for the next 40 years religious extremists moulding our children's minds and setting the curriculum in state schools?
Blair might ponder on the following: "Bad men do evil; good men do good; only religion makes good men do evil".