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Scotland's Education Minister: 'Creationism should not be taught in schools'

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Scotland's Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages, Alasdair Allan, has stated that creationism should not be taught as part of science lessons in publicly funded schools, following a long-standing campaign by the Scottish Secular Society (SSS).

In a letter to the SSS, Mr Allan said that “guidance provided by Education Scotland...does not identify Creationism as a scientific principle… it should therefore not be taught as part of science lessons.”

In September last year, the SSS launched a petition calling on Holyrood to urge the Scottish Government to issue official guidance to “bar the presentation in Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time."

However, earlier this month, Members of Scottish Parliament within the Education and Culture Committee issued a statement saying that there was no need to introduce legislation on teaching creationism in schools as teachers should exercise their professional judgement.

Mr Allan also fell short of issuing official guidance, stating is his letter that his words should not be taken to represent a ‘ban’ on the teaching of creationism in the classroom. “The difficulty of putting in place a ban for a specific issue, like Creationism in science, is that there will inevitably be calls for bans on other issues and the curriculum would risk becoming mired in legal arrangements,” he said.

The Minister added that he was “confident that checks and balances are in place to ensure that the teaching of Creationism or similar doctrines does not happen in school science classrooms in Scotland.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams said:

“Children should not be prevented from hearing about and discussing differing scientific assessments of the evidence; and it should not be the case that only one particular interpretation of the evidence is presented. There remains scientific debate over these issues and there are scientists who make the case for approaches other than a narrow form of evolution as the sole explanation of our origin. Children should be made aware of this so that they can reach their own conclusions after engaging critically with these issues.

“Secularism is in itself, one ideology among others. A preference for secularism over alternative world views - whether religious, philosophical or otherwise - is not a neutral option.

“Failing to teach children about creationism risks imposing a particular ideological framework on wider aspects of a child's education, such as questions relating to meaning and purpose. These questions cannot be divorced from the question of origin.” 

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Creation teaching under scrutiny in Scotland   
Teaching Creationism is not extreme

Related Coverage:
Scottish Government: creationism banned from science class (Herald Scotland)