London, Sept 12 : One in ten children in British state schools believes in creationism - the religiously motivated rejection of evolution.
The results come to surface after Britain's leading scientist said that creationism should be included in science lessons to reduce the confusion among the rising numbers of schoolchildren who have been brought up to reject the principles of evolution.
Professor Michael Reiss, the director of education at the Royal Society, called for such beliefs to be discussed and debated in class by science teachers, but not taught as a subject.
The professor, who is also an ordained Church of England clergyman, said the move would help pupils understand that such literal beliefs in religious scripture are not supported by scientific evidence.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the body responsible for the national curriculum, has ruled that discussion of creationism should be omitted from the science curriculum because creationism is "not a scientific theory".
But, according to Professor Reiss it was necessary for this to change.
"I'm trying to make it less likely that students will ignore science, that they will detach from it, because it makes them feel that they cannot continue with science because it conflicts with their beliefs... But I feel if a science teacher feels comfortable with it then it could reduce confusion," the Independent quoted him, as saying.
Surveys show that more than 10 per cent of children believe that the Earth is only a few thousand years old rather than the four billion years or so accepted by science.
An even greater proportion of schoolchildren does not believe that humans and all other species of life on earth evolved from common ancestors as a result of Darwinian natural selection, he said.