Friday, September 12, 2008

Should creationism be taught in science lessons?

The theory of creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school science lessons, a leading biologist and education expert has said. At present, Government policy is that discussions about creationism belong in religious education lessons, from which parents are entitled to withdraw their pupils. However, a Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said that science teachers should answer questions about creationism if asked. (link via The controversial views of this expert - the Rev Professor Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society - have provoked some heated debates in the media and in the blogosphere. Personally, I think that creationism has absolutely nothing to do with science and should only be taught in religious studies (as it presently is). It's okay if students ask about creationism in science lessons and a debate about it should be allowed but I don't think creationism should be taught in science lessons. Creationism is a religious belief based on faith and evolution is a science based on evidence. Creationism should not be taught as if it is equal to scientific fact! What do you think? Do you think creationism should be taught in science lessons?


  1. I fully agree with what you say! xx

  2. No no no no no!
    And again, no, just in case you were in any doubt about my opinions! I went to a religious school and we still learnt about evolution in our science classes and then discussed the religious implications in religious studies classes. I am sure that is the best way and would be horrified to think that 'creationism' was being taught with a veneer of science. Because it isn't.

  3. Thank you for supporting my view, flighty and cb.

  4. It's touchy this one, because Reiss isn't actually proposing teaching creationism. His proposals are similar to a lot of educators, that we teach the controversy. That we talk to our students about what's going on in this debate. Reiss goes a bit further than most scientists would like, which is the recognition of creationism as a "world view".

    The thing is though, that educators are failing right now at teaching evolution so we're going to have to do something different. I wrote a post about this yesterday in fact:

  5. Hi Chris, I think Reiss caused a lot of harm to science education even if he didn't actually propose teaching creationism. I was also shocked that the director of education at the Royal Society was an ordained Church of England clergyman!

    I'm not at all surprised that the latest news about the controversy is that Michael Reiss has been forced to resign:

    His resignation comes after a campaign by senior Royal Society Fellows who were angered by Professor Reiss’s suggestion that science teachers should treat creationist beliefs “not as a misconception but as a world view”.

    I read your impressive post about this subject.

    It must be challenging to teach evolution. I was particularly interested in the idea proposed by Craig Nelson that you summarized: "Nelson proposes teaching that rather than the false dichotomy of atheistic evolution versus religious creationism that there is a broad interfaith consensus that acceptance of evolution is compatible with faith."

    I've had this discussion with various people and this (evolution and faith together) seems to be the view that most people feel comfortable with and willing to accept. After all, there is no proof of a supreme being (God) but there is no proof that a supreme being doesn't exist either. Perhaps, a supreme being created the initial spark and then allowed the universe to evolve.