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Education United Kingdom Science

UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact 783

An anonymous reader writes "A story at the BBC explains how the UK government has put an extra clause into a funding bill to ensure that any new 'free schools' (independent schools run by groups of parents or organizations, but publicly-funded) must teach evolution rather than creationism or potentially lose their funding. 'The new rules state that from 2013, all free schools in England must teach evolution as a 'comprehensive and coherent scientific theory.' The move follows scientists's concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution. Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said it was 'delighted.' Sir Paul told BBC News the previous rules on free schools and the teaching of evolution versus creationism had been 'not tight enough.'"
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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

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  • Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by _0x783czar ( 2516522 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:44PM (#42142897) Homepage Journal
    I'm a creationist, and I have no problem with this. School systems' curriculum has to be governed by science first. I likely don't have a problem with this, because I don't claim to know how God created everything. From a faith-based point of view, I have some problems with Evolution, but I don't see how that should govern the curriculum in schools. I see Science as our way of understanding God's power, we may not understand everything yet, but if we don't endeavor to learn everything we can through Science, we will only block our own growth.
  • Re:I disagree. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vidarlo ( 134906 ) <vidarlo@bitsex.net> on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:45PM (#42142917) Homepage

    People should be taught both and then left alone to decide which one makes more sense.

    Should they be taught all the other creation myths around the world also?

    There is one hell of a difference between creationism and evolution. Evolution is a proven scientific fact, observed and documented independently many times. Teaching about the bibles view in religious education (which British school has as far as I know)? Yes, it is part of the religious education.

    But it is NOT part of science education, as little as turning water into wine by magic is in a brewers course.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:52PM (#42143079)

    Seriously, when you have to pass a law to ensure fairy tales aren't taught as facts in school, something is horribly wrong with society.

    There is a precedent - outlawing Holocaust denialism. Ordinarily, being an idiot isn't a crime, but when it starts posing danger to others, you generally make it one (ditto for safety code violations when someone else than the idiot gets hurt etc.). It's not very systematic, I'll give you that, but I don't think anyone in the world has come up with a better idea to this day.

  • Re:I disagree. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Apothem ( 1921856 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:00PM (#42143219)

    People should be taught both and then left alone to decide which one makes more sense.

    Should they be taught all the other creation myths around the world also?

    Yes, but instead of it being taught in science class, it should be done in a history/world culture class. So that way the context of what is being taught is correct. Creationism == Old tradition and cultural history. Evolution == science. I figure if you make this separation and teach it in the appropriate PLACE, the confusion would be set aside and we'd understand this old concept just like we understand ancient history.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:04PM (#42143313)

    No it is not. As a former fundamentalist biblical literalist, I can say firmly that you have to discount the idea that science is valid in order to hold onto those ideals. I am extremely happy that I woke up and saved myself from the sickness of faith.

  • by roninmagus ( 721889 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:06PM (#42143347)

    Most educated christians and muslims and Jews have no problem with evolution, despite the stereotypes thrown about on slashdot by people obsessed with a certain minority. While establishing his theory of evolution, and for many years after Charles Darwni himself continued to be a practicing Christian

    As an "educated" Christian myself who believes in Evolution led by God, I used to think exactly what the parent says here. Unfortunately, that statement is just not true. 46% of adult Americans believe that humans were created by God in their present form, less than 10,000 years ago. I was very troubled when I saw that. As for those who hold my belief, 32%. http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx [gallup.com]

  • by kenaaker ( 774785 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#42143531)

    "On The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin was banned and probably burnt in Germany on orders from the Nazi leadership by being included in the category of "All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk." http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/burnedbooks/documents.htm#guidelines [arizona.edu]

  • Re:free, or free... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:23PM (#42143681)

    With all money comes control. If the religious nutters want to fund a school they will demand it teaches to their liking.

  • Re:good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:24PM (#42143695)

    I agree with your point. But for anyone to say that this matter would amount to abuse is simply as anti-freedom and anti human-rights as possible. If freedom means anything at all, it means the ability to teach your children that the Government is wrong - even when it goes against science. I agree with evolution completely, and yet it's plain that is a very, very nasty slippery slope that anyone who cares about human rights should fear greatly.

  • Re:Cool (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:30PM (#42143813)

    It is amazing how people dismiss science to believe their religious teachings, quite often centered around an all-loving, all-forgiving deity that will send them to eternal suffering for failing to believe properly.

    It's not amazing at all. I begin with some prior probability distribution that describes my set of beliefs about the origins of the universe. I then encounter some data that purports to support the idea that the universe is almost 14 billion years old. What happens to my beliefs?

    The naive answer (that they shift in the direction of believing the universe is 14 billion years old) is wrong. In reality, each of us applies a small probability that the data is just wrong (last year, OPERA claimed 6-sigma evidence for superluminal neutrinos. Everybody thought this was a mistake - we didn't all start doubting relativity a bit.) Now, if my prior probability for the universe being 14 billion years old is of any reasonable size, the data does what you expect - it increases my belief in a 14 billion year old universe. If, on the other hand, my prior beliefs are that there is scarcely any or no chance that the universe is old, after getting the new data I think it's far more likely that the universe is young, the data is wrong, and probably that there's evidence of a conspiracy to hide the truth. This is why it's hard to convince a young-earth type of the age of the universe by showing him the data - his prior probabilities are distributed such that the extra data just hardens his position.

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:54PM (#42144241) Journal
    My primary 7 (~10yrs old) teacher went one further - she would ask us to say which side of a debate we were on to start with, and regularly had us argue for the opposite side. Brilliant exercise in thinking properly and one I still practice today, it's lead to at least one bar fight. Totally worth it.
  • Re:good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:23PM (#42144711)

    Setting children up for failure to appease your own mythology is abuse. I cannot come up with another term for it. While it is milder in many ways that other forms it has just as lasting an impact. Others might go even further and claim that teaching children myths as reality is abuse.

    I believe depriving children of an education is abuse. If you disagree that is fine, but it is an odd position for a teacher to hold.

  • Re:good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:43PM (#42145029) Homepage
    Obviously, this doesn't amount to child abuse. You sir are a troll. The theory of Evolution has almost no application in real life. Even for invertebrate zoologists. Some of the most widely respected invertebrate zoologists I know are also creationists. It just doesn't affect the understanding of the science at all. I know I shouldn't argue with trolls but your argument assumes so many wrong things that I feel like I need to point them out.
  • Re:good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maintenance Goof ( 1487053 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:47PM (#42145127)
    To come clean I personally believe in intelligent design. Part of that design is evolution. That is however my belief.

    Science is the study of that which is reproducible, controllable, predictable or measurable. To study something you at least need be able to observe it. There are things that we cannot carry into the lab to study. There are things that occur that cannot be reproduced, controlled, predicted, or measured. Science cannot disprove a deity nor can it prove one without that deities cooperation. Dogma has always been the enemy of science. Good science is without dogma, so intelligent design has no business in a science lab. It is quite possible that good faith is also without dogma. :)

    On the other side, to declare how your deity did something is blasphemy, unless the deity has clearly communicated with you on the subject. For a believer to attempt to drag their deity into the lab and make positive assertions on how the deity works is quite blasphemous.

    Consider that all manner of evil is allowed. Sparrows fall, good men die in pain, alone and without respect Natural selection means that out of a million horrible endings, some bright benefit can emerge. I love the end results of evolution, I despise the process. Evolution does however give meaning to suffering. This is something that few dogmas can manage to do.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:11PM (#42148399) Homepage

    do math even if they think algebra is the work of evil mooslims.

    Algebra was in fact largely invented by Muslim scholars, particularly Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi [wikipedia.org], which is why its name is derived from Arabic (as is "algorithm"). Smart guys from the Muslim world were key to maintaining knowledge and learning in the world while Christian Europeans were busy killing each other and dying of the plague from about 600 CE to 1400 CE.

Forty two.