Tuesday, 26 June 2007

European Creationist Vote Ditched

Reuters - 25/6/2007;

Europe's main human rights body on Monday cancelled a scheduled vote on banning creationist and intelligent design views from school science classes, saying the proposed resolution was one-sided.

The resolution, which the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly was due to vote on Tuesday, said attacks on the theory of evolution were rooted "in forms of religious extremism" and amounted to a dangerous attack on scientific knowledge.

Believers in creationism or intelligent design argue that some life forms are too complex to have evolved in accordance with Charles Darwin's theory.

Some conservative groups in the United States, both religious and secular, have long opposed the teaching of Darwinian evolution in public schools but U.S. courts have regularly barred them from teaching religious views of creation.

Pressure to teach creationism is weaker in Europe, but an Assembly committee got active because a Muslim creationist book has appeared in several countries.

Guy Lengagne, the French Socialist member of the Assembly who drew up the report, protested after the Parliamentary Assembly voted to call off the debate and vote, and to send the report back to committee for further study.

"I have enough experience of parliamentary procedure to know that this is a first-class burial (for the report)," he said.

Deputies said the motion by the Christian Democratic group of parliamentarians also won support from east European deputies, who recalled that Darwinian evolution was a favorite theory of their former communist rulers.
Reaction from the science committee;

The Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), meeting in Strasbourg on 26 June 2007 with Mr Legendre in the chair, protests against the procedure by which the Parliamentary Assembly decided on 25 June 2007, under confused and probably irregular conditions, to relegate to Friday 29 June the joint debate on inter-cultural and interreligious dialogue planned for Tuesday and to refer back to committee the report of Mr Lengagne on the dangers of creationism in education.

The committee expresses its support for the Rapporteur Mr Lengagne and its determination to see its report on the agenda for the next plenary session in October.

As Mr Lengagne is leaving the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the committee will appoint a new rapporteur on the same subject in the near future.

The committee wishes to affirm that the problem of creationism in teaching is a politically topical question which concerns the Council of Europe, and in particular its Committee on Culture, Science and Education, and which must therefore be discussed.

Freedom of thought and discussion is a fundamental value of the Council of Europe. The Committee on Culture, Science and Education believes that it is the duty of the Assembly to show itself exemplary in this requirement.
Let's hope this get back on the agenda in October.

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