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7.16 Status outside the United States

7.16.1 Europe

In June 2007 the Council of Europe “Committee on Culture, Science and Education” issued a report, “The dangers of creationism in education”, which states “Creationism in any of its forms, such as ‘Intelligent Design’, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.” It described Intelligent Design as “anti-science” and involving “blatant scientific fraud” and “intellectual deception” that “blurs the nature, objectives and limits of science”. On October 4, 2007, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution stating that schools should “resist presentation of creationist ideas in any discipline other than religion”, including “Intelligent Design” which it described as “the latest, more refined version of creationism”.

In the United Kingdom, public education includes Religious Education as a compulsory subject, and many “faith schools” teach the doctrines of particular denominations. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) stated that “Neither creationism nor Intelligent Design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum”. The DfES subsequently stated that “Intelligent design is not a recognised scientific theory; therefore, it is not included in the science curriculum”, but left the way open for it to be explored in religious education. In 2006 the “Qualifications and Curriculum Authority” produced a Religious Education model unit in which pupils can learn about religious and nonreligious views about creationism, Intelligent Design and evolution by natural selection.

On June 25, 2007, the UK Government said that creationism and Intelligent Design should not be taught as science, though teachers would be expected to answer pupils’ questions within the standard framework of established scientific theories. Detailed government “Creationism teaching guidance” for schools in England was published on September 18, 2007. It states that “Intelligent design lies wholly outside of science”, has no underpinning scientific principles, or explanations, and is not accepted by the science community as a whole.

Plans by Dutch Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven to “stimulate an academic debate” on the subject in 2005 caused a severe public backlash. After the 2007 elections she was succeeded by Ronald Plasterk, described as a “molecular geneticist, staunch atheist and opponent of Intelligent Design”.

In Belgium the President of the Flemish Catholic Educational Board (VSKO) Mieke Van Hecke declared that: “Catholic scientists already accepted the theory of evolution for a long time and that Intelligent Design and creationism doesn’t belong in Flemish Catholic schools.

7.16.2 Elsewhere

Creationism has strong political clout in many Islamic countries, and antievolutionary views are mainstream with considerable official support and elite support among academic theologians and scientists. In general, Muslim creationists have partnered with the Institute for Creation Research for ideas and materials which they adapted to their own theological positions. Similarly, some use was made of Intelligent Design antievolution resources. Ideas similar to Intelligent Design have been considered intellectual options among Muslims, and in Turkey many Intelligent Design books have been translated. In Istanbul in 2007, public meetings promoting Intelligent Design were sponsored by the local government.

The status of Intelligent Design in Australia is somewhat similar to that in the UK. When the notion of Intelligent Design being taught in science classes was proposed, the public outcry caused the minister to quickly concede that the correct forum for Intelligent Design, if it were to be taught, is in religious or philosophy classes.