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This week the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee (PPC) advised the Education and Culture committee to consider the Scottish Secular Society’s petition on the teaching of creationism in Scottish schools. This follows the Society of Biology's letter to the PPC in support of the proposal to offer Scottish schools guidance on the teaching of evolution and creationism in the science curriculum.

The petition calls for ‘official guidance to bar 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’.

In November 2014 the Society of Biology wrote to the Parliament Petitions Committee in support of the proposal to offer Scottish schools guidance on the teaching of evolution and creationism in the science curriculum:

“As the voice of biology we advocate that biological evolution (together with the geological and astrophysical evidence on the history of the earth and universe) forms a core component of the biological sciences and as such should be taught in biology lessons, alongside the importance of an evidence-based approach to understanding our world. In contrast, creationism, intelligent design and similar ideas are not based on scientific evidence and therefore should not be taught in the context of a science class or presented as scientific theory.”

“We encourage the Scottish Government to follow the strategy taken in other nations of the United Kingdom to provide clear guidance to schools and the teaching community stating explicitly that creationism and intelligent design are not considered to be scientific theories based on tested hypotheses, and therefore should not be taught in science lessons. Furthermore we urge the Scottish Government to provide teachers with appropriate training opportunities to develop the skills to answer controversial questions posed in science lessons in a clear and sensitive manner.”

Earlier this week a motion from Stewart Maxwell MSP, Convener of Education and Culture Committee, received support: ‘The Parliament congratulates South Lanarkshire Council on taking decisive action to prevent the teaching of creationism in schools by introducing new guidance; condemns any promotion of creationism in publicly funded schools, including the reported distribution of creationist books at Kirktonholme Primary School; believes that creationism should not be presented as a scientific theory and viable alternative to the established theory of evolution, and supports the Society of Biology and the Scottish Secular Society position in opposing the teaching of creationism in the [science] classroom.’