Creationism should not be taught in schools, says Scottish education minister

Scotland's Minister for Learning agrees with secularist campaign that pupils must be taught evolution as 'firmly based science'

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The Independent Online

Creationism should not be taught in school science lessons, the Scottish Parliament has said.

The Scottish Secular Society (SSS) received the response from Holyrood following their lengthy lobbying campaign for creationist theory to not be taught in classrooms.

In September 2014, the group lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament stating: “creationism in Scottish schools is present, insidious and undermines science teaching and science teachers.”

The petition argued that the secularist society were not opposed to Creationism being discussed in Religious Studies lessons but that: “Pupils must be taught about evolution as firmly based science.”

In a statement issued on the SSS website, the campaign say that they have now received a reply from, Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages saying: “Guidance provided by Education Scotland… does not identify Creationism as a scientific principle. It should therefore not be taught as part of science lessons.”

However, the Minister was clear to say that his words should not be taken to represent a ‘ban’ on creationism being taught in schools. In a letter to the society he explained: “The difficulty of putting in place a ban for a specific issue, like Creationism in science, is that there will inevitably be calls for bans on other issues and the curriculum would risk becoming mired in legal arrangements.”

The Minister said that he is “confident that checks and balances are in place to ensure that the teaching of Creationism or similar doctrines does not happen in school science classrooms in Scotland.”

The campaigners have welcomed the minister’s response. Professor Paul Braterman, scientific adviser for the SSS told The Independent: "We are delighted by the outcome."

However, not everyone has welcomed the move. Speaking to The Herald, Reverend David Robertson from the Free Church of Scotland described the debate as: "an extraordinary waste of parliamentary time."