Some 50 prominent scientists and science organisations have urged the Welsh government to ban the teaching of creationism as science.
They said all students must be taught evolution at primary school and voiced alarm at the Welsh Government’s draft national curriculum which does not see evolution taught until ages 14-15, and “currently allows for creationism and pseudoscience to be taught as science in all schools”.
Signatories including Sir David Attenborough, Humanists UK and the Association for Science Education have called on the Welsh government to follow the example of England – where there is a ban on creationism being taught as science and evolution has been added to the primary curriculum.
Their letter stated: “The new science and technology area of learning and experience doesn’t explicitly prohibit presenting creationism and other pseudoscientific theories as evidence-based, and evolution is only mentioned once (and only at secondary level at that).
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. It is a fundamental concept that describes and explains the development of the diversity of life on the planet. Pupils should be introduced to it early – certainly at primary level – as it underpins so much else.”
They said that without an explicit ban on teaching “creationism, intelligent design, and other pseudoscientific theories” as though they were science, such teaching “may begin to creep into the school curriculum”.
Wales Humanists coordinator Kathy Riddick said: “Under the current draft Welsh national curriculum, there is no ban on teaching creationism as science. Coupled with the fact that the curriculum will allow schools much more flexibility over what they teach, this is very worrying, as it could make it much easier for a school, such as a religious school, to openly teach creationism as science.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Under the current and the new curriculum it is expected that all pupils will be taught evolution. It is wholly incorrect to claim that evolution will only be introduced at 14 -16.
“We believe that providing children with an understanding of evolution at an early age will help lay foundations for a better understanding of wider scientific concepts later on.
‘We note that Humanists UK have broadly welcomed the new draft curriculum for Wales 2022 and have explicitly said it will mean Wales is ‘leading the way’ in the UK on these issues.”