Update from Scotland

Flag-map of Scotland via Wikimedia Commons

"Campaigners who called for an official ban on teaching creationism in schools have welcomed a 'clear statement' from a Scottish Government minister it should not be taught in science classes," reports the Glasgow Herald (May 24, 2015). The proposed ban would have barred "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."

As NCSE previously reported, the Scottish Secular Society, prompted by recent creationist incursions, lodged the petition with the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish parliament in 2014. The committee agreed to write to the government about the petition, but the government rejected the proposed ban as unnecessary. Subsequently, the committee decided to forward the petition to the Education and Culture Committee, which also agreed to write to the government about the petition.

The government again declined to act on the petition, but a letter sent to the committee by the minister of learning and science explained, "Guidance provided by Education Scotland ... does not identify Creationism as a scientific principle. It should therefore not be taught as part of science lessons." Paul Braterman, the scientific advisor to the SSS, welcomed the statement, telling the Herald, "Now we have, at least, a clear statement from the responsible minister that creationism should not be taught as science."

In the meantime, the dueling motions introduced in the Scottish Parliament in January 2015 — S4M-12148, calling for a "Crackdown on Creationism" and supporting the SSS's position on teaching creationism in the Scottish public schools, and S4M-12149, entitled "Creationism and Evolution" and describing a variety of positions, including young-earth creationism, as "valid beliefs for people to hold" — are both listed on the parliament's website as having "fallen" on May 12, 2015.