4 October 2006
The dangers of creationism in education
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr McIntosh and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
1. The Assembly asserts the standard setting role of the Council of Europe and is aware of its own responsibility in re-assessing the basis on which our societies are to be built. It recognises science as part of this basis.
2. The advance of scientific knowledge through the process of rational enquiry is thousands of years old. Ancient civilisations around the World made valuable contributions. Modern science started in Europe with the scientific revolution of the 15th and 16th centuries. This was followed by the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th and has continued to the present. New theories were seldom easily accepted by the establishment, as was the case for instance with Lamarck and Darwin’s work on evolution in the 19th century.
3. However, in recent years we have witnessed attempts to reconcile the biblical account of creation with modern science and outlaw the theory of evolution. “Creationists” pretend that “intelligent design” by a supreme entity is the scientific explanation for the universe.
4. Such an approach has no credibility among the scientific community but has succeeded in raising doubts in less informed minds, including persons with high political responsibilities, mainly in the USA but also in Europe. Some schools are now forced to teach creationism. The middle path of providing equal time for both merely offers a middle way between truth and falsehood.
5. Support for the scientific theory of evolution is almost universal among those with religious beliefs in Europe and nothing in this motion is intended as disrespect for any religion.
6. However, the Assembly is concerned at the possible negative consequences of the promotion of creationism through education and recommends that the Committee of Ministers assess the situation in the Council of Europe member countries and propose adequate counter-measures.
McINTOSH, Andrew, United Kingdom, SOC
ALATALU, Toomas, Estonia, EDG
BARGETZE, Rony, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD
CILEVIČS, Boriss, Latvia, SOC
de MELO, Maria Manuela, Portugal, SOC
de PUIG, Lluís Maria, Spain, SOC
DEVÍNSKY, Ferdinand, Slovakia, EPP/CD
DZEMBRITZKI, Detlef, Germany, SOC
FISCHER, Axel, Germany, EPP/CD
HUSEYNOV, Rafael, Azerbaijan, ALDE
LEGENDRE, Jacques, France, EPP/CD
MacSHANE, Denis, United Kingdom, SOC
SAHLBERG, Pär Axel, Sweden, SOC
SHYBKO, Vitaliy, Ukraine, SOC
SPILIOTIS-SAQUET, Christophe, Monaco, EPP/CD
SUDARENKOV, Valeriy, Russian Federation, SOC
TXUEKA, Iñaki, Spain, ALDE
WESTERLUND PANKE, Majléne, Sweden, SOC
WODARG, Wolfgang, Germany, SOC
1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EDG: European Democratic Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group