Monthly Article June 2013 – Creation and Education


Department for Education dismisses Christians’ protest, insists Evolution be taught as fact


Reproduced here by kind permission of the British Church Newspaper, No. 257, Friday 31 2013


Mr Michael Grove’s Department for Education has dismissed protests over its recent proposal to indoctrinate pupils as young as eight years old into accepting the theory of evolution as a fact. In a detailed 11 page letter objecting to the proposals concerned Christians had criticised the paragraph in the Department’s proposed new curriculum ordering that, “Pupils should be taught to …. recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the earth millions of years ago”.




The Christian’s letter asked for that paragraph to be altered to read, “Pupil’s should be encouraged, by study of the facts relating to the rock and fossil formation, to examine the two alternative theories of origins, the theory of evolution and the theory of special creation, neither of which should be presented as a fact. Pupils should have access to material provided by proponents of each rival theory of origins and encouraged to discuss which theory is best supported by the evidence.”


But a recent letter, in reply to the Christians, from civil servant Mr David Chapman of the Ministerial and Public Communications Division, said that, “The theory of evolution by natural selection provides the explanation – central to the study of biology – of how life has changed, diversified and flourished over this time”. This personal reply to the letter was unusual; as Mr Chapman explained, “The Secretary of State receives a large amount of correspondence and cannot always reply personally. On this occasion I have been asked to reply”.




It was the claim of Mr Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the National Humanist Association (NHA), which prides itself on having won the new proposal to indoctrinate eight year olds that “evolution is a ‘core concept’ in biology”.


But the Christians in their letter had written that, “We must ask Copson, and others who promote the claim that evolution theory is a ‘core concept’, mean by it. He claims that by believing and accepting evolutionary theory, pupils will gain ‘a much stronger understanding of he life sciences’, such as biology, zoology….and related disciplines like anatomy, biochemistry and genetics….’ But in which of those fields, if any, is the theory of evolution a ‘core concept’? Indeed in which of these life sciences is the theory of evolution of any use at all?”


The Christians letter added, “So far as biology is concerned, the science of biology cannot demonstrate the one fundamental ‘building block’ that is necessary for creatures and plant life to ‘evolve’, namely the alleged ability of mutations to generate wholly new species. On the contrary, biology reveals that mutations only result from a loss or corruption of existing information. That is surely something that pupils should be taught”.




Mr Chapman’s letter in reply went on to make the controversial assertion that, “Like the other fundamental theories of science taught in schools, evolution constitutes an established body of scientific knowledge, supported by extensive, robust evidence, and therefore reflects the consensus of the scientific community”. It added that, “The government is committed to ensuring that all children receive a high quality science education”. In doing so however it ignored pleas in the Christian’s letter that the Department should observe the principles of Section 407 of the Education Act 1996, which provides that on any political issue, ‘pupils must be offered a balanced presentation of opposing views’.




The Christians argued in their letter that the highly-charged debate on evolution vs creation has become highly politicised, especially in the light of the British Humanist Associations relentless campaigning on the subject, and that therefore pupils should be offered evidence and views both or and against the theory of evolution. In the debate on Section 407 in the House of Lords, Baroness Blackstone said: “My Lords, it is desirable that young people should learn to debate controversial matters and hear [different] views. They should learn to look at the evidence an, having considered it, then make up their minds”.


‘Discuss it in RE’


Mr Chapman’s letter claimed, however, that “Creationism is not accepted as a scientific theory and so should bot be taught as science… it can be discussed along with other beliefs about the origins of the Earth and living things in religious education, providing it is not presented as science,,, faith may give rise to personal misgivings about including evolution in the primary curriculum for the first time, but we do not believe that this should detract from the central and firmly-established place of evolution in high-quality science education”.


*[Note: A copy of the Christians’ letter may be obtained on application from the editor. An e-petition on the Prime Minister’s website calling for pupils to be given the evidence in support of both explanations for origins, can e signed at this link: ]