New Poll: Tabletop Role-playing Games
Circumstantial Blindness

Creationism Exam Question Scrapped

The BBC reports that a question on creationism in the GCSE biology examination has been scrapped following complaints. Here's an extract from the news article:

An exam board has scrapped a GCSE biology question about creationism after admitting it could be misleading. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance paper asked pupils how the Bible's theory of creation seeks to explain the origins of life. AQA stressed that pupils taking its biology GCSE were not required to study creationism as a scientific theory. But it admitted that describing it as a "theory" could be misleading, and said it would review the wording of papers.

The article also notes that "candidates were expected to have some understanding of [creationism]". Indeed, how are evolutionary theories to be fully appreciated if they are not contrasted against something? (Ideally, they would be contrasted against each other, but that's too advanced a topic for high school students).

But there's a grave error here that isn't covered by the BBC article: talk about "the Bible's theory of creation" is entirely misleading, since the book of Genesis provides an account of creation, not a theory. Most Christians interpret the opening chapters of Genesis allegorically. It is creation scientists (i.e. Young Earth Creationists) who deploy scripture as the foundation for their theory (i.e. explanatory principle), first proposed in the 1960s, although of course natural theology goes back far further.

As a current affairs subject, I contend that the topic of creationism (and in particular, the clash between proponents of this view and staunch defenders of evolutionary theories) is relevant in the science classroom, although only as a minor side topic. Furthermore, it makes more sense here than in a high school religious studies class, which may cover origin beliefs but not the creation science movement, which is a science or philosophy topic.

I continue to support Professor Reese's claim that teachers should be allowed to (briefly) discuss creationism when a student comes from a family which holds these beliefs. Shouldn't we be encouraging debate in our classrooms, rather than stiffling it by asserting dogmatic claims as to the boundaries of science?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)