Secular victory: The government of Scotland has issued a clear statement prohibiting the teaching of creationism in science classrooms.
In September 2014, the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament asking for an explicit position to be taken on creationism in schools:
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to issue official guidance to bar the presentation in Scottish publicly funded schools of separate creation and of Young Earth doctrines as viable alternatives to the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time.
The SSS argued:
Creationism in Scottish schools is present, insidious, and undermines science teaching and science teachers.
Responding to concerns articulated by the SSS about creationism being taught in science classrooms, Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning and Science, has issued a letter declaring in part:
Guidance provided by Education Scotland, set out in the “Principles and Practice” papers and the ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ documentation for each of the eight curriculum areas does not identify Creationism as a scientific principle. It should therefore not be taught as part of science lessons.
The letter effectively prohibits the teaching of creationism, i.e. Young Earth Creationism or Biblical creationism, as a legitimate scientific alternative to “the established science of evolution, common descent, and deep time.”
Teaching creationism in religious and moral studies classes in Scotland’s schools will continue to be permissible.
SSS scientific adviser, Professor Paul Braterman, who campaigned on the issue, notes:
Now we have, at least, a clear statement from the responsible minister that creationism should not be taught as science.
Commenting on the story, a spokesman for the Scottish Government told The Herald:
Education Scotland does not identify creationism as a scientific principle, and it does not form part of the learning and teaching of science in our schools.
The teaching of creationism as a scientific fact and evidence-based theory is already prohibited in schools in England and Wales.
This is good news for the children of Scotland, and a victory for science and common sense. Cheers for the Scottish Secular Society for defending secular values and the rights of children to a decent education.