Friday, June 8, 2012

Creationists succeed in removing references to evolution in South Korea high schools

The extent of anti-evolution sentiment in South Korea surprises me.  Forty-six percent of South Koreans are non-religious.  Twenty-two percent are Buddhist.  However, there is a strong and growing Christian minority (eighteen percent Protestant and eleven percent Catholic), which must be driving this big step backward in science education.
The creationist camp has won a partial victory in the battle over the status of evolution in the world's educational systems. Many of South Korea's high schools will now have fewer references to evolution in their text books.
According to reporting by Nature, the charge was led by a group called the Society for Textbook Revise (sic), which is an offshoot of the Korean Association for Creation Research. The group succeeded last month in a long campaign to get textbook publishers to remove examples of the evolution of the horse, an often cited and easy to understand example of evolution, as well as references to a widely recognized ancestor of modern birds, archaeopteryx.
Sentiment against evolution is evidently deep-seated in South Korea, in some ways resembling the U.S. much more than some other countries. In parts of Europe, 80 percent accept the theory of evolution, where a Gallup poll recently found that 46 percent of Americans believe in creationism. A study from 2011 found that 40 percent of trainee teachers in South Korea think that "much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs" and only 50 percent think that "modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes."

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