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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/09/23

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(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A call to ban creationism in British schools; a new CNN/ORC poll on
evolution; and a voice for evolution from the Canadian Federation of
Earth Sciences.


A group of scientists in the United Kingdom is calling for a
"statutory and enforceable" ban on teaching creationism in Britain's
publicly funded schools, as well as for evolution to be included "at
both primary and secondary levels in the National Curriculum and in
all schools." Among the signatories to the statement are David
Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones, Harold Kroto, Paul Nurse
(the president of the Royal Society of London), Michael Reiss, and
Lewis Wolpert, as well as the Association for Science Education, the
British Humanist Association, the British Science Association, the
Campaign for Science and Engineering, and Ekklesia.

In 2007, after a series of controversies about the place of
creationism in the science classroom in Britain, the Department for
Children, Schools, and Families issued "Guidance on the place of
creationism and intelligent design in science lessons," which stated,
"Creationism and intelligent design are sometimes claimed to be
scientific theories. This is not the case as they have no underpinning
scientific principles, or explanations, and are not accepted by the
science community as a whole. Creationism and intelligent design
therefore do not form part of the science National Curriculum
programmes of study."

But not all concerns were allayed. Creationist organizations such as
Truth in Science and Creation Ministries International continued to
circulate material to teachers and to present their views at schools.
And according to the Guardian (September 19, 2011), "There is no
definitive data on the number of UK schools which teach creationism.
... A 2006 survey by Opinionpanel found that nearly 20% of UK students
said they had been taught creationism as fact by their main school."
(Creationism was defined in the Opinionpanel report as the view that
"God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000

Moreover, there were concerns that "free schools" -- a relatively new
phenomenon, resembling charter schools in the United States -- planned
to teach creationism. Although the Department for Children, Education,
and Schools promised to reject any free school proposing to teach
creationism in the science curriculum, the group of scientists calling
for the ban observed that there is no way to keep the department to
its promise or to ensure that a free school, once approved, would not
change its mind and begin to teach creationism. Since such schools do
not need to follow the National Curriculum, they could also neglect
the teaching of evolution.

The call for the ban on teaching creationism is not without precedent.
As NCSE reported in May 2011, a new campaign -- Creationism In Schools
Isn't Science, or CrISIS -- petitioned the government to enforce its
stated position on the teaching of creationism, arguing, "that
creationism should not be presented as a valid scientific position,
nor creationist websites and resources be promoted, in publicly funded
schools or in any youth activities run on publicly funded school
premises." Endorsed by the National Secular Society, Ekklesia, and the
British Centre for Science Education, CrISIS garnered over 5000
signatures to its petition.

For the statement calling for the ban on creationism, visit: 

For the article in the Guardian, visit: 

For the Opinionpanel poll, visit: 

For the CrISIS petition, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events outside the United States
and Canada, visit: 


A new CNN/ORC poll included a question about evolution, with few
surprises in the results. Asked "Do you believe that the theory of
evolution is definitely true, probably true, probably false, or
definitely false," 21% of respondents favored definitely true, 36%
favored probably true, 16% favored probably false, 25% favored
definitely false, and 3% offered no opinion, the poll report (p. 6)
indicated. The report also indicated (p. 15) that evolution was more
popular among Democrats than Republicans (with 67% versus 35%
regarding it as definitely or probably true), among the
college-educated than the non-college-educated (64% versus 46%), and
among those under 50 than those 50 and older (60% versus 52%). The
poll was conducted by telephone among 1038 adult Americans from
September 9 to September 11, 2011; the margin of sampling error for
results based on the total sample is +/- 3%.

For the poll report (PDF), visit: 


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a
statement from the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences, "the unified
voice for earth science in Canada."

"Creationism and ["intelligent design"] do not qualify as science,
because the scientific method is not deployed and these ideas are
therefore not theories or hypotheses in universally accepted
scientific sense," the statement explains. "Hence, Creationism and ID
do not belong in any K-12 science curriculum."

The Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences's statement is now
reproduced, by permission, on NCSE's website, and will also be
contained in the fourth edition of NCSE's Voices for Evolution.

For the CFES's statement (PDF), visit: 

For Voices for Evolution, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

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