Atheists and secularists are rejoicing in the United Kingdom after newly refined government regulations have officially banned the teaching of creationism as a scientifically valid theory in any school that receives public funding.
Under new parameters, academies and free schools (like charter schools in the U.S.) are under strict orders to teach evolutionary theory. They also must avoid touting creationism as an alternative ideal.
The regulations define creationism as, “Any doctrine or theory which holds that natural biological processes cannot account for the history, diversity, and complexity of life on earth and therefore rejects the scientific theory of evolution,” according to UPI.
The British Humanist Association, a secular group in the U.K., released a statement praising the development Wednesday, saying that the government’s move was “a significant step towards achieving one of its longstanding policy goals.”
The organization has been running a campaign against the teaching of creationism.
The new parameters update rules set in 2012 that any future schools needed to withhold teaching creationism as a scientific theory. The newfound change means that all schools currently in existence must also follow this same protocol, Inquisitr reported.
As part of the justification, the government said that mainstream churches and scientific consensus agree that creationist theories don’t hold theoretical weight; the Church of England, for example, has relaxed its stance on the matter.
This is not to say that creationism cannot be mentioned at all in classrooms. The theological viewpoint can be discussed in religion courses, so long as it isn’t touted as being a scientifically-sound alternative to evolutionary theory.
Here’s just a portion of the new regulation:
“The parties recognise that the teaching of creationism is not part of prevailing practice in the English education system, but acknowledge that it is however important that all schools are clear about what is expected in terms of the curriculum which they need to provide. The parties further recognise that the requirement on every academy and free school to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, in any case prevents the teaching of creationism as evidence based theory in any academy or free school.
The secretary of state acknowledges that clauses 2.43 and 2.44 of the Funding Agreement, and clauses 23E and 23G above do not prevent discussion of beliefs about the origins of the Earth and living things, such as creationism, in Religious Education, as long as it is not presented as a valid alternative to established scientific theory.”
This policy contrasts the situation in America, where some private schools receive government funding without the same strict parameters when it comes to teaching about life’s origins.