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March 09, 2006

Parliamentary answer on the science curriculum

Thanks to 'Blackshadow for this (

Creationism has no place in science lessons

On 27th February, Jacqui Smith answered a parliamentary question

tabled by MP Keith Vaz.

His question was: `To ask the Secretary of State for Education and
Skills what her policy is on the teaching of creationism as a
subject in schools; and if she will make a statement.'

In her reply, the minister said that pupils should "be taught

about "how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of
interpreting empirical evidence". Also, the biblical view of
creation can be taught in RE lessons, where pupils are taught to
consider opposing theories and come to their own, reasoned
conclusions. Therefore, although creationism and intelligent design
are not part of the national curriculum, they could be covered in
these contexts."

here for her full answer.

The BHA has written to DfES ministers Jacqui Smith and Lord Adonis

asking whether the Government really considers "that creationism
and `intelligent design' are examples of scientific theories based
on empirical evidence within the meaning of the national

The letter explains that this is the BHA's specific concern in Ms

Smith's written answer:

"Our specific concern is your interpretation of the phrase `how

scientific controversies can arise from different ways of
interpreting empirical evidence' in the national curriculum
programme of study for science at key stage 4. You say that
creationism and `intelligent design' "could be covered in these

"From discussions with science teachers, the BHA had understood that

the controversies covered under this section over evolution
specifically were only those with some claim to being genuinely
scientific, such as the discredited Lamarckian theory. We are
concerned, therefore, to hear the government endorsing the view of
religious extremists that, firstly, a scientific controversy to do
with creationism actually exists, and secondly that it could be
taught in a state-funded school."

For the full letter click

Andrew Copson, education officer at the BHA said, "It seems

inconceivable that the government should give even tacit approval to
the teaching of creationism as a scientific theory. That they should
approve its teaching within the national curriculum for science is

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