Creationism teaching still highly prevalent in US schools

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London, May 20 : US courts might have ordered ban on teaching creationism in schools, but still one in eight high-school biology teachers teach it as valid science, according to a survey.

The surveyors say that though courts have ruled that creationism and intelligent design are religion, teachers take it as a matter of discretion to decide what is to be taught.

"Ultimately, they are the ones who carry it out," New Scientist quoted Michael Berkman, a political scientist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, as saying.

A random sample of about 2000 high-school science teachers across the US was polled in 2007, and 939 of them responded.

Two per cent of the subjects said that they did not cover evolution at all, while the majority reported spending from 3 to 10 classroom hours on the subject.

Around 25 per cent teachers also said that they taught creationism or intelligent design.

The surveyors also found that 12.5 per cent of the teachers taught creationism as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species".

Upon being questioned about their own beliefs about creationism, about 16 per cent teachers said that they believed human beings had been created by God within the last 10,000 years.

It was also observed that teachers with less training in science, especially evolutionary biology, tended to draw their students' attention less to Darwinian principles.

Berkman says that this might be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject.

He also notes that requiring all science teachers to take a course in evolutionary biology could have a big impact on the teaching of evolution in the schools.

The study has been published in the journal PLoS Biology.

ANI

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