Classrooms host age-old debate

The classroom has become the latest battleground in the science versus religion debate. The big question is whether creationism should be taught alongside the theory of evolution.

It is an issue raised on both sides of the Atlantic - in the US by Sarah Palin, the republican vice presidential candidate, and in the UK by the resignation of the Rev Professor Michael Reiss from the Royal Society after he said that all science teachers should be willing to talk about creationism.

Research released this week by Pam Hanley of Southampton University concludes one third of 70 science teachers questioned in England think it is essential to broach creationism in lessons.

But Graham Timms, head of science at The Maelor School in Wrexham, thinks religion has no place in his lessons: "It's important for pupils to realise there are many different theories about how the Earth was created," he said. "But as far as science is concerned, we are about proposing an idea and testing it to see if it's true, while religion relies on faith."

While most scientists would like to keep science and religion separate, there are those, like Mr Timms, who believe that they can be mutually exclusive. "Whatever we discover at Cern with the Big Bang doesn't necessarily mean that God doesn't exist," he said.

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