UK: Creationism can be a topic in class

Teachers have been given permission to discuss the controversial theory of creationism in science lessons.

Pupils should be able to ask questions about the theory provided teachers emphasise it has “no underpinning scientific principles”, new Government guidance says.

If the subject is raised teachers will be expected to contrast the strict Biblical belief that the Earth was created by God in six days between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Teachers are told to respond “positively and educationally” to such questions and be “respectful of students’ views, religious or otherwise”.

But the document — drawn up to clarify the rules after Christian academics challenged the teaching of Darwinism in GCSE biology — makes it clear that such beliefs are not “scientifically testable” and are not valid scientific theories.

It is hoped the guidance will help avoid the situation in the United States where some schools — under pressure from the religious Right — have compelled science teachers to introduce lessons in intelligent design, a creationist off-shoot.

The guidance says schools must teach the broad outlines of evolutionary theory to pupils aged five to 14, and focus clearly on the “nature of, and evidence for, evolution” at GCSE and A-level.

Questions about creationism should provide an “opportunity to explain or explore why they are not considered to be scientific theories”.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday October 1, 2007.
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