Creation in British school curriculum reports BBC News, 10 March 2006. A new science curriculum called “Gateways to Science” to be introduced to mainstream secondary schools in Britain will encourage students to discuss alternative theories to evolution. The education board that developed the new curriculum insists that creationism is not being taught as a subject in science classrooms, but students “are asked to discuss why the opponents of Darwinism thought the way they did and how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence.” For example, teachers are asked to “explain that the fossil record has been interpreted differently over time (e.g. creationist interpretation)”. The BBC article goes on to explain, “The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which oversees the development of the national curriculum, in effect guiding exam boards, said discussions of ‘intelligent design’ or ‘creationism’ could take place in science classes. The National Curriculum Online website says for science at Key Stage 4 (GCSE level): ‘Students should be taught how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence (for example Darwin’s theory of evolution).’ Classes should also cover ‘ways in which scientific work may be affected by the context in which it takes place (for example, social, historical, moral, spiritual), and how these contexts may affect whether or not ideas are accepted.’”


Editorial comment: It is good to see that the UK education authorities acknowledge that science does not take place in a social and cultural vacuum, devoid of all human world views and presuppositions. Science is not some freestanding authority, it is a human activity whose results will always be interpreted according to the world view and biases of those who carry it out. The scientific method is an effective way of studying the present world, with its ongoing processes. However, because it depends on repeated observations and experiments it cannot directly investigate the past. Therefore, all theories of the origin and history of life cannot be proven by scientific study of present alone, and it is important for science students to understand this if they are going to understand and interpret results of scientific observations and experiments. (Ref. teaching, philosophy)

Evidence News 12th April 2006