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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the no-more-monkeying-around dept.

Education 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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783 comments

good (4, Insightful)

aldousd666 (640240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142739)

good

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142861)

agreed

Re:good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143353)

As a Catholic, I completely agree with evolution, and have no problems with it being taught in schools. That being said, people here are losing sight of the fact that it is a parent's job to raise and educate their own children. The government is there as an assistance to the parents - absolutely not as a usurper.
Much of the conversation here, while correct on the science, is absolutely incorrect on the fundamentals of human rights and freedoms.

Re:good (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143479)

The government has a duty to step in when parents abuse their children. This is not up for debate, we do it all the time when we remove children from dangerous households.

The only question is if this meets that bar or not.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143395)

I do wonder what will happen if a new naturalisitic theory arises and has better explanitory power (since it seems /.ers hate any supernatural theory). Will this mandate then be outdated? Is something like this actually possibly going to stifle scientific progress?

Re:good (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143437)

No, bad.

Just because it is the supported theory, and all the archeological evidence does support it, and we of the scientific community hold that it is the 99% best supported explanation, it is not a fact.

If it was truly a fact, then no more resources would be spent studying evolution. And, it is way too soon to close that checkbook.

I really think it is bad when politicians and fools get involved with science.

You shouldn't have to mandate this (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142755)

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.

20-50-100 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142929)

What will the Government decide must be taught in schools?

I had a teacher split the class into 2 sides, those who believe in God and those who believe in evolution. There was me and a very nervous oriental student on the evolution side. I didn't win the debate, but I put up a good fight.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143121)

What will the Government decide must be taught in schools?

In my country, it already does. It's called "the national curriculum".

I had a teacher split the class into 2 sides, those who believe in God and those who believe in evolution. There was me and a very nervous oriental student on the evolution side. I didn't win the debate, but I put up a good fight.

You don't believe in evolution - you accept it, just as you accept the map of the Solar system and the periodic table. There's no place for believing.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143175)

That is a great summary of the basic issue.

Science is the process by which we expand and refine our knowledge. It is not a system of belief. The debate has been framed in such a way that you have two sets of beliefs--science and religion--and they are in conflict, but on equal ground. Applied more broadly, this is an illustration of "my opinions are just as good as your facts." It comes from people who fundamentally misunderstand what science is and how it works.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143225)

You don't have to just accept it. Challenge it, test it, prove it invalid if you can. That is called science.

And the theory of evolution has been placed in that crucible and come out the other side intact, even if it is shaped a bit differently than it started.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143389)

You don't have to just accept it. Challenge it, test it, prove it invalid if you can. That is called science.

Not on the high school level, though. On the high school level, things are taught that are already very well established.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (2)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143229)

In my country, it already does. It's called "the national curriculum".

That doesn't mean it's a good idea. A government that controls what you learn is perfectly capable of controlling how you think. If you don't believe me, explain North Korea.

You don't believe in evolution - you accept it, just as you accept the map of the Solar system and the periodic table. There's no place for believing.

There's no place for belief in any scientific endeavor, nor is it appropriate to simply tell kids to "accept this, it is fact." You either have evidence that supports an idea, or you don't. Ideas that have evidence supporting them should not require the preaching you're giving us. No teacher that tells kids "this is fact, accept it" is worth listening to.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (4, Insightful)

shilly (142940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143459)

1. We Britons have decided we want to purchase education through collective taxation as a society. If we're going to buy education, it makes sense for our legislature to have some say over the content of what we buy, just as other purchasers would. Blah blah slippery slope doesn't really cut it, ya know. Not when you don't acknowledge that there are downsides to the *non*involvement of government in education, including lack of access, no standards guarantor, costs going through the roof, the private biases of proprietors affecting the content of what is taught, etc etc.

2. Science teachers don't merely teach pupils to accept evolution as fact. They explain how it's been tested and why it stands. That said, you wouldn't be able to do very much science teaching (or science) if you have to explain the tests applied to absolutely every aspect of science.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (2, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143481)

You keep using that word, but I do not think you know what it means.

Belief: "An acceptance that a statement is true ..."

Re:20-50-100 years from now (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143173)

What the fuck? You can't believe in God and also believe in evolution now? What was your teacher trying to prove?

Re:20-50-100 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143381)

And which side do those of us who believe in God and evolution stand? The two are not mutually exclusive.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143477)

What will the Government decide must be taught in schools?

Hopefully, something that helps undo whatever myths that have carried forward to those points. Whatever that happens to be, it will be controversial, and there will be people who will interpret the new forced teachings as going in the face of [insert holy book here] and further proof that society is going downhill. Fortunately, most religions eventually come around, update their holy books to reflect the facts, and only protest against the newer ideas. For example, pretty much every religion (but not all) now accepts that the world is round. There was a point where it flew in the face of the Bible, both the written word and the understanding of where man fits into the universe, and it was a capital offense.

Today, we're past that. In the future, we'll be past the argument of evolution, and people will think that the very notion of denying it was silly. Nonetheless, there will always be people who resist change. Those people are typically those of us old enough to look back at our youth and realize how wonderful things were, and how badly morals and society have eroded since then. Most of us have forgotten that when we were young, there were those who said the same thing about our generation. The fact is, change is hard. Fortunately, people only live for 90 years or so. Think about how slow humankind would progress* if we lived for hundreds of years!

* My guess is if humans had evolved past the need to eat and sleep, and lifespans were measured in hundreds of years, Strom Thurmond would still be conducting his filibuster, preventing black people from having civil rights in the USA.

Re:20-50-100 years from now (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143501)

A great example of the problem.
You lost a debate that was unloseable.

How could they have won? They have 0 evidence.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142959)

How is Creation or Evolution teaching anything of value? I think both should be excluded as facts, since there is no proof of either. Lets focus on Math and other real Science and learning...

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (3, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143043)

If you mean "origin evolution", then yeah. If you mean "evolution" as a widely accepted thing that actually happens all the time and is a major basis of all biology, then that's of pretty obvious value.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (2)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143505)

This what always gets on my nerves about the "evolution" debate. I don't know that all life on this planet is descended from some micro organisms, for that I believe in divine creation. Neither side can prove they are right on this debate.

But I know that animals, plants and people will make minor changes that will result in a "new" species. I see German Shepherds that are obviously related to Coyotes. There should be no debate on teaching evolution, there should be a debate on teaching the "origin evolution".

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143137)

What do you mean there is no proof? Evolution can clearly be seen in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Evolution is a fact.

The important thing is that they teach the theory behind the fact. That's what science is all about.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143293)

Evolution can clearly be seen in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Evolution is a fact.

Or in the recently evolved so-called "nylon-eating bacteria" (technically a misnomer, though). Or in the Escherichia coli long-term evolution experiment.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143007)

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.

Yet the exact same thinking could be applied to much else as well, something is horribly wrong with society when we have to pass a law to ensure that giant companies don't erode too much of our privacy, while certain promote the agenda that anonymity is not a right but a privilege - accessible only to those with the knowledge, time and money.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143027)

As far as I can tell, this law doesn't do that. TFS doesn't say anything is prohibited by it, just that a certain something must be taught.
Teaching evolution as a 'comprehensive and coherent scientific theory' is a cinch for even the most fundamentalist US-type biblical literalist.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (4, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (4, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:You shouldn't have to mandate this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143187)

The Holocaust was founded on evolution. The blue eyed blond haired Germans are more evolved and evolution can be sped up by getting rid of the less evolved. Not sure why we want to teach this in schools unless the UK is looking to make certain people less of citizens.

Oh, cripes, not THIS again. (4, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143391)

Hitler was sort of a neo-Pagan quasi-Christian who explicitly rejected evolution and based his racism on the idea that the 'races' had been created separately [rationalwiki.org] . The Holocaust owed far more to the virulent strain of anti-Semitism that Martin Luther embraced and fostered. That was certainly the motivation for the majority who actually carried out the crimes in person.

BTW, as to the Communist states under Stalin and Mao - they also explicitly rejected neo-Darwinian evolution and embraced (and enforced) Lysenkoism [wikipedia.org] instead. The resulting crop failures when reality failed to match up to "worker's science" killed a huge fraction - possibly the majority - of the millions who died under those regimes.

Ironically, the people under Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would have been better off if their leaders had accepted neo-Darwinian evolution.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (4, Interesting)

kenaaker (774785) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143531)

B.S.

"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:You shouldn't have to mandate this (3, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143101)

Yes, it means you have politicians doing things they shouldn't be.

This is a horrible precedent. Evolution is likely the correct explanation for life on earth, but what happens when science is wrong? (it often is, that's how we learn) Do we then just say "oops, sorry, we didn't mean to legislate teaching you what wasn't known for certain yet."

Politicians should not be involving themselves in science, lest they quickly become little better than a monarchy.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (1)

vell0cet (1055494) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143271)

The whole point of teaching science is to hope that people will find that things are wrong with it and improve on it.

But without a solid understanding on the scientific method, what we observe now, how we interpret that evidence and why the current body of knowledge is accepted, people cannot possibly understand WHY the science is wrong (when it's wrong) and how to fix it.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (5, Insightful)

BMOC (2478408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143363)

The whole point of teaching science is to hope that people will find that things are wrong with it and improve on it. But without a solid understanding on the scientific method, what we observe now, how we interpret that evidence and why the current body of knowledge is accepted, people cannot possibly understand WHY the science is wrong (when it's wrong) and how to fix it.

No, wrong. The whole point of teaching science is teaching kids the proper way to think and approach problems. The appropriate way to think does not include clinging to one particular viewpoint because it's fashionable, whatever that viewpoint may be.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143403)

Science is never wrong.

When science adjusts or overthrows previously held beliefs based on empirical experimentation or new evidence, it becomes more right.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143105)

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.

Now, if we could just pass a law to prevent politicians from doing the same fucking thing.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143327)

What is taught as fact in 'free schools'.

These are a new form of school brought in by the current government to enable any given group of people to create a school, using any system they desire, should they wish.

It's about promoting choice in the education market.

I hardly think ensuring that, whilst freedom is given, standards aren't compromised is the first indication that something is horribly wrong with society.

Personally I'd rank the likes of unnecessary war, famine and disease a lot higher.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143411)

More importantly you should not have to mandate this particular case since there are many other topics that are just as important and thousands of other fairy tales that publicly funded schools should not be teaching.

Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (4, Funny)

kid_wonder (21480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143443)

Well, it's all the brits fault to begin with.
You *had* to have your stupid tea tax didn't you? See how silly that sounds now?
Yeah, now look at you. McDonalds on every corner, getting fat and fundamentalist.
Look at what you have wrought.
I could have been a nice, loyal, queen-loving, crooked-teeth-having, meat-pie eating subject, but noooooo you had to be a tough guy.

Thanks England!

I disagree. (0, Flamebait)

derfy (172944) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142829)

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

Re:I disagree. (5, Funny)

pluther (647209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142891)

I agree. Life is too complex to have evolved by chance. Only a Giant and a Cow can explain it. (http://www.thepaincomics.com/Science%20vs.%20Norse.jpg)

Re:I disagree. (4, Interesting)

vidarlo (134906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142917)

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.

Re:I disagree. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142981)

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

They'd sure as hell better teach whatever nonsensical theories I can make up on the spot! After all, if I don't understand something, any random nonsense I make up that I think explains it must be as good as a scientific theory!

Re:I disagree. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143065)

If they wish to have a class teaching creation myths around the world, go for it.

If they want to teach creationism as a scientifically valid theory, that's wrong. It is inherently religious and thus should not receive support from government. Let privately-funded schools teach it to their heart's content. But it isn't the business of government to fund religion.

And yes, official state religions in European countries are anachronisms that need to go, too.

Re:I disagree. (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143093)

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

Of course not you idiot, that would be a vintner's course. It's an established scientific fact that Jesus never turned water into beer ;-)

Re:I disagree. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143095)

To be fair, American breweries have been turning water and beer into watered down beer for decades.

Re:I disagree. (3, Interesting)

Apothem (1921856) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142931)

No. Let's teach them the earth could be flat too and it's up to them.

Re:I disagree. (4, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142941)

Last time I checked, the educational process does not involve the presentation of scientific falsehoods as if they were truth, then expecting students to determine for themselves which is which. That would be fundamentally intellectually dishonest. "Teach the controversy/debate/both sides" is nothing more than a naked attempt at putting creationism on equal footing with science.

Re:I disagree. (1)

jrq (119773) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142943)

Oh you big kidder you.

Re:I disagree. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142951)

"Both" naturally referring to evolution and life coming from really old leftovers.

There is no "both", when you allow for fiction like creationism, there are literally infinite possible fictions to teach.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142983)

"Down south, they're trying to get creationism taught in schools as a science. Now, other than the obvious objection: IT'S NOT ONE, I think it would be a killer idea. It would definitely be the shortest class of the day. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...on the sixth day he rested...see you at the final." " -- Bill Hicks

Re:I disagree. (4, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142985)

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

Which form of creationism would you like them to teach?

Young-Earth creationism
Old Earth creationism
Gap creationism
Day-Age creationism
Progressive creationism
Neo-Creationism
Intelligent design
Creation science
Theistic evolution (evolutionary creation)
Omphalos hypothesis

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143001)

One is based on logic and a huge body of evidence.
The other is a fairy tale.

You are an idiot.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143035)

creationism is supported by NOTHING. All religions are only sets of made up or exagerrated stories an/or personal viewpoints with zero scientific effort to back any of them.

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143053)

Too right. And what about the aliens? Why miss them out? Do people not believe we were planted here? You should even teach combinations, such as aliens which evolved into gods.

Re:I disagree. (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143135)

children can be taught about the various religions in "social studies" and "history" classes,

Re:I disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143189)

Kids are taught both. Evolution in science class and Creationism in this-is-what-some-people-believe class.

Re:I disagree. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143307)

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

That's frankly, the stupidest solution possible.

If this reasoning were applied:
1. Physics classes would teach "the 4 elements", and all the other crap the Greeks believe just because Aristotle said it.
2. Chemistry would teach the "grand arcana" and how you can live longer by drinking mercury.
3. Astronomy would teach the "crystal spheres" theory, the "circular orbits with epicycles" theory, and the "the gods just move things around at their discretion" theory.
4. Any student could derail any class at will by making some shit up and demanding that the class dedicate time to teaching it and letting everyone make up their mind.

The truth is that Creationism is not a valid theory (it's a story from a book that was probably fiction when it was written*), and if you want it to be taken seriously as a competitor to evolution by natural selection the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that it 1) explains observed behavior at least as well as evolution and 2) makes falsifiable predictions which conflict with evolution that are verified by experimentation.

*No historical evidence exists to corroborate the events aside from the text who's authenticity is in question, and many of the events are believed to by physically impossible. Occam's Razor indicates it's more likely those events never actually happened, than that there is an as yet not understood mechanism that allows them to be true.

Re:I disagree. (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143387)

Agree, then kids could see just how ridicules religious myths are.

Re:I disagree. (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143493)

No. There is no scientific rational for biblical creation. It should not be taught outside a comparative religion class that also mentions elephants standing on turtles, the aboriginal dream time, and the incestuous bestiality that is the ancient greek/roman religion.

Okay, Let's see the Cr side (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143519)

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

Okay, but what is the scientific evidence that life was created by an intelligent being? "It looks too complex to me" is not very scientific.

And, pointing out gaps and ambiguous areas in the fossil record is one thing, but that doesn't necessarily mean Creationism is the only alternative. That's almost like saying, "Since we don't know why Saturn has rings, we'll theorize a magic man did it." A mystery is a mystery, not an Insert-Magic-For-Free card.

The default of a mystery (knowledge gap) is not a supernatural explanation. This is the most common conceptual mistake made by Creationists. You cannot just bash evolution to make your case; you need to present evidence for an intelligence involved and describe how to test and measure such.

I'm open to the idea of presenting both sides, but first you need a real side to join. Let's see it....

Re:I disagree. (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143527)

Suppose you are in a high school physics class, AP, IB, whatever, have talked about Newton's laws of gravity, and are now are discussing Modern Physics. If one is going to be complete, one has to talk about the corrections to this law of newton, along with rest of the laws(mass is not a constant at all speeds), so one talks about black holes. Now, secular god hating science says that in a black hole there is so much mass in so little volume that space-time is infinitely warped. Light, for instance, follows an infinite path that it will never escape. Not only that, but as matter is pulled in the path becomes more infinite. Now, as unbelievable as this is, most will teach it as a absolute fact and not even crack a smile at the increduability of the situation.

Of course a few god loving and brave physics teachers will state the obvious and state the infinite is reserved only for the devine, that math and science has never accepted infinity as result. Therefore, black holes indicate the foolishness of General Relativity and alternative theories must be put forth. So-called black holes are clearly part of the divine plan to cause the ultimate rapture as prophesied in the bible. This result from Relativity, like radio carbon dating, clearly indicates the ultimate inability of science to characterize the godly world, and therefore ultimate irrelevance to godly life.

Any physics teachers out there, and any parents who want their kids to have hope for their souls, must teach the controversy. This is the only way to ensure that salvation and proper science wins.

Devil's Advocate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142841)

The move follows scientists's concerns that free schools run by creationists might avoid teaching evolution.

Then they're not really "free", are they?

Re:Devil's Advocate (2)

whencanistop (1224156) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142957)

They're free in the sense that you don't have to pay (at the point of service) for your child to go to them. Not free as in they can choose what to teach whatever they want.

Re:Devil's Advocate (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143005)

Yeah, you can prevent creationism and lose the "free" part, or allow it and lose the "school" part.

Not in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142849)

we know book larnin' is the devil's tool

There isn't a valid competing theory. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142885)

Religious fundamentalism isn't science or 'knowledge'.

Cool (4, Interesting)

_0x783czar (2516522) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142897)

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:Cool (4, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143161)

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

It is not about how science fits in to your religion's book of stories. Science is observable whereas religion is believed only because the believer wants to, or, more likely, is afraid of the punishment their religion promises for deviating from the church. 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.

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.

The most sensible statement I have ever seen by someone self-identifying as a creationist. Congratulations, but saying such sensible things might get you thrown out of the creationist club!

Re:Cool (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143253)

From a faith-based point of view, I have some problems with Evolution,

You sound like a reasonable person. Which bits do you have a problem with? I ask out of curiosity, not some desire to change your beliefs.

Re:Cool (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143337)

Well, I have some desire to change their beliefs. Not because I like dictating what people believe, but because there's a lot of value in actually understanding how the world really works. Is that unfair?

So, not such "free" schools after all (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42142899)

So, it seems these are not such "free" schools after all. They are not forced to follow the national curriculum, so the government makes an additional set of curriculum rules to tell them what to teach.

These "free" schools can still teach creationism in classes other than Science. If they do that, they are presenting children with two contradictory sets of "facts". What the schools should also do is to help the children to develop the tools of rational thought so that they can work out which set of "facts" is based on evidence and which is based on what some people would wish to be true. I can't really see that being allowed to happen.

U.S. christians and muslims and jews -not issue (5, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142905)

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

Re:U.S. christians and muslims and jews -not issue (5, Interesting)

roninmagus (721889) | about a year and a half ago | (#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]

Re:U.S. christians and muslims and jews -not issue (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143521)

20 Years ago they had a problem with evolution. Only now that its become common sense they are forced to accept it.

At last some rationality (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142927)

I applaude the UK for this position. It is about time. One of the tenates of the Anglican Church is that you can use your rational mind to interpret the scriptures. You can see here that the Church of England's influence has had a rational effect on the Government that we don't see here in the Evangelical, bible belt, earth was created in 4006 BC. states (like Louisiana) that is just starting to require teaching creationism in schools.

I hope we catch the rational bug soon.

Go UK

What if.... (0)

markdj (691222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42142975)

What if God created the universe 6,000 years ago and when he did he put in place evidence that indicates a 4.5 billion year old Earth and a 14 billion year old universe? Why did he do that? To test our faith!

Re:What if.... (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143013)

that view makes God a liar, deceiver and prankster. Especially the bit where light from stars that never existed have light waves from their explosions hitting earth right now.

Re:What if.... (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143143)

that view makes God a liar, deceiver and prankster..

Oh, so you have read the old testament.

Re:What if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143267)

What if God created the universe 6,000 years ago and when he did he put in place evidence that indicates a 4.5 billion year old Earth and a 14 billion year old universe?

Why did he do that? To test our faith!

You're testing faith alright...my faith that there is any common sense left in this world.

Perhaps the more relevant question to you is why did God create weed.

Re:What if.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143291)

If the universe could have been created 6000 years ago, it might as well have been created last Thursday. In the beginning, there was nothing. Then everything existed, and the first words ever spoken by a human were "... and a Big Mac".

There's no way of telling this isn't what happened, so it must be true!

Re:What if.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143419)

Scientifically speaking it makes absolutely no difference if the universe has existed for 14 billion years or if it was created three seconds ago as if it had existed for 14 billion years. The latter possibility is literally impossible to argue scientifically. It is untestable and unprovable. If you want to argue it, do it in religion or philosophy. Science is not the place to present that idea.

theory != fact (0)

trikster2 (23745) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143081)

How does a 'comprehensive and coherent scientific theory' constitute a "fact"?

your title is completely bogus (or to put it more bluntly, an outright lie)

Re:theory != fact (2)

tonique (1176513) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143261)

Don't be silly, evolution is both a theory and a fact [talkorigins.org] !

...distinguish between the fact that evolution occurs and the theory of the mechanism of evolution...

Technically speaking, you are correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143407)

This is slashdot, so that explains why you have a score of 1...

a "fact" is not scientific (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143103)

Technically a scientific theory ALWAYS leaves the option of being proven insufficient or incorrect should some future data come along. But Evolution is a very strong theory with hundreds of thousands of scientific papers supporting it. And it predicted and is buttressed by the science of DNA which arrived nearly a century after the initial theory.

A maximum universal speed limit- the speed of light- is another such theory. It is almost a fact in that nearly experimental data and mathematical physics support. But there is a nagging suspicion it could be disproved one of these decades.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143145)

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." -- Thomas Jefferson

free, or free... (3, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143181)

So, it seems these are not such "free" schools after all. They are not forced to follow the national curriculum, so the government makes an additional set of curriculum rules to tell them what to teach.

Pay more attention to the summary--they are "free" as in beer, not speech. They are government funded, and so should expect the government to impose reasonable criteria on the use of those taxpayer funds. Apparently the purpose was to allow broad discretion in the curricula, but now the government is deciding that teaching creationism as "science" is out of bounds for use of public funds.

Re:free, or free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143525)

With government money sooner or later comes government control.

In related news (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143247)

Legislation mandating the teaching of "1+1=2" is still under consideration.

I keep waiting for someone to just blurt out "Listen. Guys. Have you realized it's 20-fucking-12! How are we even still talking about this?"

Fallacious reasoning (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143283)

Evolution does not and cannot address the question of creation. Why are so-called scholars lumping the two together? Are we still hung up on the title of Darwin's paper on the subject?

The modern inquisition (-1, Flamebait)

dorpus (636554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143311)

What has scientists sooooo afraid of the perception that they don't know everything? Last I checked, the big bang theory is controversial within legitimate science, as are many details of how evolution happened. There is the "survival of the fittest" dogma, but then more recent findings deprecate this dogma. But apparently, it's ok for scientists to outlaw teachings they don't like.

Headline is bad (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143321)

Scientific fact? What's that? I thought the highest honor for an idea in science is to be called a theory.

Scientific Fact? (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143333)

I have no problem with teaching the theory of evolution, or any other strong scientific theories. But I do have a problem with the abuse of science by declaring "scientific fact". There are no "scientific facts" only very strong theories that have stood up against falsification many times. The phrase itself is a lie. By declaring it a "fact" you're saying there are no problems or conflict with the theory and that no evolution can occur within the theory itself. And for something that is as little understood as evolution this is disservice to people that should simply be taught the scientific method and presented with the most recent theories put for by science in the specific field they are studying at the time. For example, evolution shouldn't be taught in a general education class or a class on government. When you're studying biology or life science evolution should be one of the core principals put forth. But to teach anything as 'scientific fact" is bastardization of science. I can imagine in the 18th century the same idea of teaching "scientific fact" being put forth by the proponents of Phlogiston theory [wikipedia.org] . Science is fluid, and we learn new things all the time that make old paradigms obsolete.

Hallelujah! (1)

positiveexperience (1070518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143339)

Thank God!

Q. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42143359)

Is there any hard evidence that man, as a sentient creature, possessing the skill of linguistic communication, self awareness, and the ability to question, hypothesize, and reason, actually originated from some creature that did not?

As far as I can see, you can only infer it by assuming that man evolved from a lower order creature in the first place. Common genetic characteristics alone should no more imply common ancestry than, for example, the existence of two characters in different books, by different authors, that happen to share a common name, should imply that the characters are somehow related to eachother in their respective works. It does not preclude the possibility, of course... but it's hardly a rational conclusion.

hmmm (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143431)

I have mixed feelings about this. While I believe that the supporting evidence for evolution is enough to make it "factual", I can't advocate something like this being deemed a fact just because the government says so. Its up to the scientific community to decide what is science fact.

Re:hmmm (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143517)

On the other hand, there has to be a nationalized standard for curriculums. I'm so confused... :-(

Crazy Brits! What next? (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42143433)

My Lord! If they've done this, what could be next? National socialized health care?
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