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How to Weed Creationism Out of Schools

A 2008 nationally representative survey of U.S. high school biology teachers found that nearly half of the responders agreed or strongly agreed that creationism or intelligent design was “a valid, scientific alternative” to evolution.Image by José-Manuel Benitos / Wikicommons

One of the latest victims of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian regime in Turkey isn’t a journalist, or dissident academic, but the concept of evolution. His government’s decision to erase Darwin’s idea—the bedrock of biology—from the high school curriculum will take effect in September (if a lawsuit against the move fails). Classes on evolution will, for now, still be taught at the university level.

This is the apparent apotheosis of a recent trend to Islamize secular education in Turkey. References to the Muslim faith in the country’s high school have been on the rise 2012, as have the of Islamic schools. That year, a physics professor at Istanbul Technical University that 90 percent of students there “don’t believe or don’t know evolution. But it’s worse in other universities.” Last month, the chairman of the Turkish education ministry, Alpaslan Durmuş, , “‘Our students don’t have the necessary scientific background and information-based context needed to comprehend’ the debate about evolution.” Feray Aytekin Aydogan, who heads a union of secular-minded teachers in Turkey, , “The last crumbs of secular scientific education have been removed.”

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