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Teaching creationism as scientifically valid now banned in all UK public schools

UK government: "The requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum … prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.”
By JC Sevcik   |   June 18, 2014 at 7:37 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, June 18 (UPI) -- The United Kingdom has banned the teaching of creationism as scientifically valid in all schools receiving public funding.

The government released a new set of funding agreements last week including clauses which specifically prohibit pseudoscience.

"The parties acknowledge that clauses 2.43 and 2.44 of the Funding Agreement [which preclude the teaching of pseudoscience and require the teaching of evolution] apply to all academies. They explicitly require that pupils are taught about the theory of evolution, and prevent academy trusts from teaching 'creationism' as scientific fact," one clause reads.

The funding agreement defines creationism as "any doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution," and goes on to note that this idea is rejected not only by the scientific community but most mainstream churches as well.

"It does not accord with the scientific consensus or the very large body of established scientific evidence; nor does it accurately and consistently employ the scientific method, and as such it should not be presented to pupils at the Academy as a scientific theory," the agreement states.

The funding agreement notes that the discussion of beliefs about the origin of the Earth including creationism are permitted in religious education "as long as it is not presented as a valid alternative to established scientific theory."

The British Humanist Association has been lobbying against the instruction of creationism since 2011 with its Teach Evolutionism, Not Creationism campaign.

The BHA is currently celebrating the UK government's declaration that "the requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum ... prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school."

"We believe that this means that the objectives of the campaign are largely met. We congratulate the Government on its robust stance on this issue," said BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal in a statement on the organization's website.

The United Kingdom's position on creationism in the classroom and public discourse is an interesting parallel to the United States', where celebrity scientist BIll Nye engages in public debate about the validity of creationism and two states, South Carolina and Missouri, saw anti-evolution bills proposed in the last month.

Follow @JCSevcik and @UPI on Twitter.
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