Council of Europe states must ‘firmly oppose’ the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline, say parliamentarians
Strasbourg, 04.10.2007 – Parliamentarians from the 47-nation Council of Europe have urged its member governments to “firmly oppose” the teaching of creationism – which denies the evolution of species through natural selection – as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution.
In a resolution passed by 48 votes to 25 during its plenary session in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) declared: “If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights.”
Presenting the report, Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE), a former Education Minister, said: “It is not a matter of opposing belief and science, but it is necessary to prevent belief from opposing science.”
“The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education,” the parliamentarians said in the resolution. “Creationists are bent on ensuring that their ideas are included in the school science syllabus. Creationism cannot, however, lay claim to being a scientific discipline.”
The parliamentarians said there was “a real risk of a serious confusion” being introduced into children’s minds between conviction or belief and science. “The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts.”
“Intelligent design, presented in a more subtle way, seeks to portray its approach as scientific, and therein lies the danger,” they added.
“Creationism ... was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon,” the parliamentarians pointed out. “Today creationist ideas are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states.”
The report cites examples from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.