Saturday, July 07, 2012

“Dear South Korea, thank you for making us look less stupid. Sincerely, the United States of America.”

That, according to a story in TES, is a reader's comment on the story that young earth creationism is making inroads in South Korea. Michael Fitzpatrick writes:
Long thought of as an American problem among developed countries, the South Korean government recently surprised everyone by allowing school textbook publishers to leave out examples that demonstrate Darwin's theory of evolution at work.

Following a creationist campaign by one of South Korea's many vociferous Christian groups - some of whom recently tried to ban Lady Gaga from the country - Korea's education ministry unexpectedly gave the OK for the deletion. What is even more remarkable is that such removals were only "suggestions" from the government, but seven science textbook publishers forged ahead with the changes anyway. As a consequence, references to the theory of evolution, such as the avian ancestor archaeopteryx and "the changes of horse over time", have disappeared from textbooks.

More surprisingly still for a country that is viewed by some in the West as a sine qua non when it comes to excellence in science education, the Society for Textbook Revise, which wants so-called "intelligent design" taught at schools, counts professors of biology and high school science teachers among its ranks. They are not alone. According to Nature magazine, a survey of trainee teachers in the country found that 40 per cent of biology teachers agreed with the statement that "much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs", and half disagreed that "modern humans are the product of evolutionary processes".
When one looks at the Earth at night image,
there is a sharp line between North and South Korea because of the economic development in South Korea. Further, I have read that South Korea is the most internet-connected country in the world. How has this idea that has so poisoned science education here in the United States gained traction? This will have severe consequences for science education overall and biological education in specific. Some of the most exciting areas of emerging science are biomedical and genomic research. Both rely heavily on an understanding of how selection and mutation work. Without those underpinnings, the South Korean students will fall behind. That the textbook writers were so complicit in the actions is unconscionable. As the scientists in Texas and Louisiana fought back, so must those in South Korea or soon, they will be unable to compete in these areas.

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  1. Holy crow, you mean we no longer corner the market on ignorance?

  2. Anonymous9:50 PM

    You should be more clear on what your stance is in this article. Poorly written.

  3. You suppose you could be a bit clearer about that?