"Evolution abroad"

Scientific American continued its exploration of the controversies surrounding the teaching of evolution by turning its gaze abroad. "Many countries have only recently started taking a systematic look at how the topic of evolutionary theory and biology is addressed in classrooms," Katherine Harmon wrote. "Early research suggests that not only does anti-evolution instruction make its way into science classes worldwide — from the European Union to Southeast Asia — but in many regions, it also seems to be on the rise."

Discussing the situation in the United Kingdom was James Williams of the University of Sussex, who lamented the isolation of evolution in the curriculum and the underpreparation of teachers, whose "understanding of evolution is very, very poor," he said. In addition, creationists have pushed for the inclusion of "alternatives" to evolution in the national curriculum and of creationist literature in school libraries. Williams speculated that the presence of religion education classes may have helped to deflect creationists from assailing the science classrooms.

Discussing the situation in the European Union, Dittmar Graf of Technical University Dortmund observed that the Council of Europe's firm rejection of creationism in 2007 was not binding, so when creationism appears in the classroom, "Legal processes are not an option in most European countries because we don't have something like your First Amendment." Like Williams, Graf recommended starting evolution education earlier; he also emphasized the linkages between acceptance of evolution and acceptance of science in general.

And discussing the situation in the Islamic world were Jason Wiles of Syracuse University and Salman Hameed of Hampshire College. Owing to the efforts of Islamic creationists, Islam is sometimes regarded as monolithically opposed to evolution — but, Wiles commented, "The diversity that you find in Muslim thought around evolution is just as broad as you would expect to find in the West." Evolution is widely taught in the Islamic world, but within a religious context. Hameed concluded, "Thought regarding evolution is developing right now ... It's unclear as to which way it's going to go."