South Korea to Reconsider Plan to Drop Evolution Examples From Textbooks

Evolutionary dispute. A Korean creationist group called for deleting discussion of the bird ancestor Archaeopteryx (above) and horse evolution from high school textbooks.
Credit: H. Raab/Wikimedia

The South Korean government is poised to appoint a new committee that will revisit a controversial plan to drop two examples of evolutionary theory from high school textbooks. The committee, to be led by insect taxonomist Byoung-Hoon Lee, a member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, has been asked to re-evaluate requests from a Korean creationist group to drop references to bird and horse evolution that they argue promote “atheist materialism.” At the same time, about 50 prominent Korean scientists are preparing to present government officials with a petition, organized by the Korean Association of Biological Sciences, which calls for rejecting the proposed changes.

“When these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion, so to speak,” says Jae Choe, an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University in Seoul who helped organize the petition.

The controversy began in May, when Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced that revised editions of high school textbooks would leave out discussion of two examples of evolution: the Archaeopteryx, an ancient ancestor to birds, and ancestors of the modern horse.

via South Korea to Reconsider Plan to Drop Evolution Examples From Textbooks

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