A new education bill in the UK, introduced as part of the Queen’s Speech, will, if passed, make the teaching of history and evolution compulsory in primary schools (ages 5–11) in England.1 This follows a high-profile campaign by the British Humanist Association (BHA) to make evolution mandatory. The BHA’s education officer, Andrew Copson, said: “Evolution is arguably the most important concept underlying the life sciences.”2

The fallacy of this statement is that life sciences, correctly understood, involve the observation of living organisms in the present—observations and experimentations that can be repeated according to scientific methodology. Darwinian evolution refers to alleged events in the past, which are not repeatable and therefore not susceptible to scientific analysis.

Copson went on to explain the BHA’s motivation in campaigning for this change:

Public authorities clearly need to do more to tackle the growing threat to the public’s understanding of science from creationist-inspired beliefs and other pseudoscience.3

This is a disingenuous statement—and illogical—as there is no “threat,” and the use of such emotive language, without evidence, is deplorable. It would appear that what Copson wants is for children to be indoctrinated with the narrow beliefs of his own belief-based group.

In practice, the new bill is likely to make little difference, as it requires primary schools to teach pupils to “investigate and explain how plants and animals are interdependent and are diverse and adapted to their environment by natural selection.” Of course, natural selection is not evolution in the molecules-to-man sense. It would be of concern, however, if pupils are going to be told, contrary to scientific observation, that the actual observation of the rearrangement of genetic information in speciation within kinds implies that molecules-to-man evolution is possible.

Also, the current session of Parliament cannot last for the usual twelve months, as, under electoral law, a general election will have to be held by the beginning of June at the latest. Many bills will be shelved at that time—and it is likely that this education bill will be one of them.

That could be a shame, not because of the potential evolutionary propaganda, but because of the bill’s requirement to make history compulsory. Many parents in England are unaware that history education has been disappearing from primary curricula. The halting of this trend could assist in preventing the undermining of children’s knowledge of the UK’s Christian heritage.

Nevertheless, the increased moves towards bias in primary science curricula should give more Christian parents and churches cause for reconsidering their support for state education—and encourage a move towards more Christian forms of education, such as Christian schools and homeschooling.

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Footnotes

  1. The Queen’s Speech (or Gracious Speech) is a historic part of the British Constitution. The UK Parliament is opened for a new session each November, and both houses are addressed by the Queen, reading a speech written by the prime minister and his advisers, outlining the government’s intended programme for the session ahead. The Gracious Speech is then debated in both houses and accepted or rejected by MPs and peers. A Queen’s Speech has not been rejected since 1978. The UK government only has jurisdiction over education policy in England, so the education bill applies to England only; education in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament, and National Assembly for Wales respectively. Back
  2. BBC News, “Evolution and History Compulsory.” Back
  3. Ibid. Back