Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Teachers in Britain are suddenly caught in the evolution debate

Transcript of today's show:

The number of British students who believe in creationism is rising sharply. This is partly due to an increased number of Muslim students. Many teachers are uncomfortable with addressing creationism in their science classrooms. Education officials have proposed guidelines that will help teachers understand how to teach the difference between a scientific theory and a religious belief.
[source: BBC]

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from London's Institute of Education Professor Michael Reiss:
The number of Muslim students has grown considerably in the last 10 to 20 years and a higher proportion of Muslim families do not accept evolutionary theory compared with Christian families. The days have long gone when science teachers could ignore creationism when teaching about origins. By not dismissing their beliefs, we can ensure that these students learn what evolutionary theory really says - and give everyone the understanding to respect the views of others.

from Dr Hilary Leevers, of the Campaign for Science and Engineering:
Further discussion of creationism should occur in religious education as it is a belief system, not one based on science. Professor Reiss suggests that science teachers cannot ignore creationism when teaching origins, but the opposite is true

from The Department for Children, Schools and Families:

Creationism and intelligent design are not scientific theories nor testable as scientific fact - and have no place in the science curriculum. "But we advise science teachers that when questions about creationism come up in lessons, it provides an opportunity to explain or explore what makes a scientific theory.