March 12, 2009

Schools in Hampshire to teach creationism

by David Masters

Secondary schools in Hampshire have been given guidance for discussing intelligent design and creationism with pupils.

Teachers in the county are being given advice on how to discuss creationism, alongside evolution, in religious education lessons.

The official guidance says creationism should be taught in RE and not in science lessons, but allows for discussion on the issue if a pupil raises questions during a science class.

“The tensions between religion and science should not be denied but nor should we paint a black and white picture in this respect, it is more complex than that,” the guidance reads.

Critics have called the guidance “a recipe for medieval idiocy” that “will only serve to confuse young minds”.

Hampshire County Council, however, refuted claims that it intends to allow the teaching of creationism as a form of science.

“The report is intended simply to advise schools about resources they can use to encourage reasoned enquiry and open discussion about creation and evolution, and suggests how the debate can be carried out across the curriculum areas of science and RE,” a council spokesperson said.

Telegraph columnist George Pitcher believes the guidance is a step in the right direction.

“It’s heartening to see that an education authority is affirming that free and healthy debate is not proscribed by thought police, that academic subjects do indeed impinge on one another and should be integrated and that a full and rounded education is what we should aspire to,” Pitcher wrote on his Telegraph blog.

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