Creationism on the March, Now in Europe

Peter Kjærgaard in Eurozine:

On 4 October 2007 the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly passed Resolution 1580, which issued a stark warning: creationism, the denial of Darwinian evolution, is on the rise in Europe. The resolution focused on the way that creationists across the continent, using the model pioneered in America, have been targeting education, and warned of “a real risk of serious confusion being introduced into our children’s minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs, ideals of all sorts and what has to do with science”. “An ‘all things are equal’ attitude,” it concludes, “may seem appealing and tolerant, but is in fact dangerous.”

The resolution urged member states to “defend and promote scientific knowledge” and “firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution.” But what provoked this European body to issue such an uncharacteristically clear and forthright statement?

The resolution was based on a comprehensive report prepared by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education and delivered to the Assembly by the special rapporteur Guy Lengage on 5 June 2007. This report synthesised research from across the EU citing examples of the rise of creationism in 14 member states, as well as significant non-members Russia, Serbia and Turkey. Examples cited of a growing creationist influence ranged from subtle downgrading of evolution in science education to outright attacks on the validity of Darwinism and the personality of Darwin himself.