South Korea’s serious anti-evolution problem (Updated)

South Korea surrenders to creationist demands : Nature News & Comment.

A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx. The move has alarmed biologists, who say that they were not consulted. “The ministry just sent the petition out to the publishing companies and let them judge,” says Dayk Jang, an evolutionary scientist at Seoul National University.

The campaign was led by the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which aims to delete the “error” of evolution from textbooks to “correct” students’ views of the world, according to the society’s website.

The STR is an independent offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR), according to KACR spokesman Jungyeol Han. Thanks in part to the KACR’s efforts, creation science — which seeks to provide evidence in support of the creation myth described in the Book of Genesis — has had a growing influence in South Korea…

Tip: io9.com and @djvexdi on Twitter

This is bad news — a creationist group having an influence over science education.

The article notes that South Korean populations have similar beliefs in creationism as the US. See this earlier article. But the view is dissimilar in that even the science-minded biology teachers think that there is not sufficient evidence to support evolution. Very strange. South Korean experts on the matter blame the attitude on the lack of evolutionary scientists in the country who teach evolution in undergraduate and graduate schools. So, this may be a case of science neglect. And it just got worse.

UPDATE: (21-Jun-2012) Korean scientists hit back at creationist textbook campaign

The group say the textbook publishers were wrong to remove examples of the evolution of the horse and the avian ancestor Archaeopteryx, and that instead the relevant sections should be updated to include the latest research. They also criticised the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for failing to oversee textbook revisions. In response to a public outcry, the ministry has said it will set up an expert panel to oversee future revisions

  2 comments for “South Korea’s serious anti-evolution problem (Updated)

  1. Massachsuetts
    June 6, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Very strange. I took Tae Kwon Do and the instructors talked about a mythological story about an ancient god that mates with a bear to bring forth the first Korean people. I had thought such beliefs were folkloric and they had turned to science, but evidently it’s not that simple.

    • bob
      June 8, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      That is utter nonsense. Please think before posting. You do know the country is heavily Presbyterian, right? This is the legacy of American missionaries.

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