Pupils in England will be required to discuss creationist theories as part of a new GCSE biology course being introduced in September.I wonder if in the end the religionists will be happy. The science teachers, most of whom won't like having this imposed on them, will be pressing students to use the tools of science to question the assertions made by religion. Won't this teach them not to believe? Students who hold to the belief in creationism will be shredded in any classroom debate that is framed in scientific terms. Smith imagines a sweet atmosphere of mutual understanding, but what is going to cause that to happen?
The move has alarmed scientists who fear it could open the door for the promotion of creationist ideas like "intelligent design" and give them scientific respectability at a time when they are being promoted by fundamentalist Christians and Muslims....
The new biology syllabus in England does not require the teaching of creationist views alongside Darwin's theory of evolution, but it opens the way for classroom discussions in science lessons and pupils will be assessed on work they do on this topic.
The schools standards minister, Jacqui Smith, said in a parliamentary answer that pupils were encouraged to explore different views, theories and beliefs in many different subjects, including science.
"Creationism is one of many differing beliefs which pupils might discuss and consider, perhaps when they learn about another aspect of science: 'ways in which scientific work may be affected by the contexts in which it takes place... and how these contexts may affect whether or not ideas are accepted'," she said.
March 10, 2006