Ditching Evolution

I have just read Paul Rees’ article “Are textbook references to Darwin close to extinction?” His concerns are the lack of reference to evolution and references to the scientists such as Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel, whose work lay the foundations of evolutionary thought.

I have some quibbles with this paper, in particular his unevidenced suggestion that the greater interest in psychology might be due to the requirement to know how the discipline’s founders contributed to its development. However, he does supply evidence of how little space some modern A-level biology text-books devote to evolution – as little as 1.4% of pages in one case. Since an understanding of evolution is fundemental to understanding biology, one wonders why this should be.

Like Rees, I do not think that the text-book writers can be held entirely to blame for this state of affairs. If writers wants their books to be published, let alone rack up decent sales, they must cover a particular exam specification so that they are obvious books for students studying that specification to purchase.

Because evolution is integral to all aspects of biology, it cannot be easily compartmentalised and so is not easy to fit into a specification given the current fad of breaking subjects down into separately examined modules. I say not easy but it is not impossible either and so one wonders whether or not there might be another reason for this omission.

If we were in the US I would now be pointing the finger in the face of the Evangelical Right who are notorious for their attempts to push Young Earth Creationism into the mainstream. But things are different here. Aren’t they?

A few years ago I would have said “Yes” to this question but now I am not so sure. There is the infamous Creationist Vardy Academy in Gateshead established during Blair’s Premiership. While his successor is not the smug self-satisfied god-botherer that Blair is, he has done nothing to reverse or even halt the growing influence of fundementalist christians in this country.

If students are not taught evolutionary theory, and a damn sight earlier than A-level at that, they are open to influence by the increasingly vocal fundementalists of all faiths. In a world whose political and ecological climates are both becoming increasingly unstable, we really do not need any more people convinced that they have the True Word of God. Especially when that Word disagrees with all the other True Words and with reality.


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One Response to “Ditching Evolution”

  1. grumpybobsblog Says:

    This might be of interest – http://preview.tinyurl.com/az64by – link to The Freethinker blog on attempts to push creationism in schools in Hampshire.


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