International attack on creationism
The Inter Academy Panel on International Issues (IAP) - which brings together elite science bodies - issued a statement this week urging parents and teachers to ensure that children understood the evidence to support the theory of evolution.
Its concerns came after it emerged that several Christian private schools and a handful of privately-sponsored state schools in England were teaching biblical theories of creation in science.
The practice is even more widespread in America, where school boards have debated whether the Christian-backed theory of "intelligent design" - which suggests the existence of a guiding force - should be given equal weight to evolution.
The IAP, which was founded in 1993, consists of 92 science academies including the UK's Royal Society and its counterparts in countries such as the US, Ireland, China, France, and Iran.
The group said it had learned that publicly-funded schools in various parts of the world were teaching science lessons in which "scientific evidence, data and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied or confused with theories not testable by science".
"We urge decision-makers, teachers and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature," it said.
The scientists acknowledged there were still many "open questions" about the precise details of evolutionary change and that science was "subject to correction".
But they said that there were facts which had been proven by numerous studies by different scientists. These include that:
* the Earth was formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago;
* life appeared on this planet at least 2.5 billion years ago;
* the structure of genetic code of all Earth's living organisms show they have a common primordial origin; and
* all forms of life have evolved and continue to evolve, while the Earth's geology and environment has changed and will continue to change.
The panel stressed that science should only be concerned with theories that were testable and refutable.