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South Korea Bans Evolution Science in Favor of Creation Myth in Schools

The evolution of Archaeopteryx will be excluded from some South Korean high-school textbooks after a creationist campaign.

Mention creationism, and many scientists think of the United States, where efforts to limit the teaching of evolution have made headway in a couple of states. But the successes are modest compared with those in South Korea, where the anti-evolution sentiment seems to be winning its battle with mainstream science.

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 society says that its members include professors of biology and high-school science teachers.

The STR is also campaigning to remove content about “the evolution of humans” and “the adaptation of finch beaks based on habitat and mode of sustenance”, a reference to one of the most famous observations in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. To back its campaign, the group highlights recent discoveries that Archaeopteryx is one of many feathered dinosaurs, and not necessarily an ancestor of all birds. Exploiting such debates over the lineage of species “is a typical strategy of creation scientists to attack the teaching of evolution itself”, says Joonghwan Jeon, an evolutionary psychologist at Kyung Hee University in Yongin.

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, although the STR itself has distanced itself from such doctrines. In early 2008, the KACR scored a hit with a successful exhibition at Seoul Land, one of the country’s leading amusement parks. According to the group, the exhibition attracted more than 116,000 visitors in three months, and the park is now in talks to create a year-long exhibition.

Even the nation’s leading science institute — the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology — has a creation science display on campus. “The exhibition was set up by scientists who believed in creation science back in 1993,” says Gab-duk Jang, a pastor of the campus church. The institute also has a thriving Research Association for Creation Science, run by professors and students, he adds.

Antipathy to evolution

In a 2009 survey conducted for the South Korean documentary The Era of God and Darwin, almost one-third of the respondents didn’t believe in evolution. Of those, 41% said that there was insufficient scientific evidence to support it; 39% said that it contradicted their religious beliefs; and 17% did not understand the theory. The numbers approach those in the United States, where a survey by the research firm Gallup has shown that around 40% of Americans do not believe that humans evolved from less advanced forms of life.

The roots of the South Korean antipathy to evolution are unclear, although Jeon suggests that they are partly “due to strong Christianity in the country”. About half of South Korea’s citizens practice a religion, mostly split between Christianity and Buddhism.

However, a survey of trainee teachers in the country concluded that religious belief was not a strong determinant of their acceptance of evolution. It also found that 40% 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”.

Until now, says Dayk Jang, the scientific community has done little to combat the anti-evolution sentiment. “The biggest problem is that there are only 5–10 evolutionary scientists in the country who teach the theory of evolution in undergraduate and graduate schools,” he says. Having seen the fierce debates over evolution in the United States, he adds, some scientists also worry that engaging with creationists might give creationist views more credibility among the public.

Silence is not the answer, says Dayk Jang. He is now organizing a group of experts, including evolutionary scientists and theologians who believe in evolution, to counter the SRT’s campaign by working to improve the teaching of evolution in the classroom, and in broader public life.

Many thanks to Nature.com for this story.

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19 Responses to South Korea Bans Evolution Science in Favor of Creation Myth in Schools

  1. RickRay Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Well you know how Christians don’t like to use their brain/and/or/critical thinking skills. Their philosophy is ‘KISS ‘. Keep It Simple Stupid. Simple minded people produce simple minded children which produce simple minded countries. Yes, I’m talking to you South Korea and America.

    • Anonymous Reply

      June 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Maybe the Christians of yesterday. Maybe. I wouldn’t know.
      However, I’d say things are changing.
      I’m a high schooler, brought up in a Christian home, and went to church my entire life…
      …And my parents enrolled me in a logic class. So that covers the critical thinking skills right there. Granted, at this point, the belief in God is so thoroughly instilled in me that I doubt anything could change my opinion, critical thinking used or otherwise – but then again, I have a hunch that most of you would be hard-pressed to change your beliefs, too.
      As for the fossil record, there is not only one way to interpret the evidence. For instance, you know how all dinosaurs, as far as I know, have been preserved in violent death positions, and apparently all died in water? Seems like a rather large flood to me. There are also plenty of petroglyphs and sculptures depicting dinosaurs, as well.
      Good day. 🙂

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    June 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    If this trend continues the idiots will dumb themselves into devolving back to crawling back into the water.

    • Anonymous Reply

      June 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Ain’t that the truth Bill? What the fuck is happening to our world with all these religious nut jobs?

  3. Wade Reply

    June 8, 2012 at 6:49 am

    To Bill, interesting you mention devolving, cos that is exactly what’s happening. Do you know that you only see benefitting gene losses and gene changes? Extra coding genes are always damaging, so if you go by observation of scientific evidence, the world is devolving from existing genes instead of creating new good genes.

  4. Chris Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Its a step in the right direction. Evolution is a pseudoscientific myth, held up on assumption based “science”, ad hoc explanations and religious zeal that rivals any of the mainstream Religions.

    I’m an advocate for teaching REAL science, which is based on empirical observed evidence from reality. Its sad that many evolutionists reject the method of empiricalism, (the scientific method), for assumption-based claims.

    For example- yes we can look at fossils and see how similar they are… However observing fossils do not show HOW they came to be similar, that is where the evolutionary assumption comes in. Assumptions are not scientific, even if they are deemed logical, an assumption is an assumption and it is in no way science.

    To Wade, yes that is an interesting observation from reality. The conclusions of which are all these different genetic diseases we have. Its an observation that flies in the face of evolutionary theory which proposes things are getting better and better (more adapted) over time.

    Reality defies evolutionary imagination

    • Ringo Reply

      June 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Chris that’s a complete crock. The science for evolution is overwhelming and to call it a pseudoscientific myth is an example of something one would hear from the religious right. The “assumptions” of which you speak are based on solid scientific discovery, and although postulation is necessary, it is also a part of the scientific paradigm. Creationism is nonsense and there is NOT ONE BIT of evidence to support it.

  5. Wade Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Ringo, what you saying is crock. Darwin made a lot of sense from his observations of the fossil record and some micro-evolution. Since then we have better information, genome sequencng that does not point to evolution. You can get losses of good active genes, you do not get gains of good active (non-viral) genes. The fact that you can never observe a gain of a good coding gene flies in the very face of evolution’s explanation for the existence of complex life.

    The fact that biogenesis is an inexplicable mystery also favors creation.

    The fossil record does not point to evolution.

    As a famous Chinese scientist once said :
    Jun-Yuan Chen Research Professor Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology
    In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government, but not Darwin. The Wall Street Journal August 16, 1999

    • Ringo Reply

      June 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Wade what specifically is a crock? We’ve come a long way since Darwin, so if SCIENCE is saying that the gene coding is flying in the face of evolution, which I can’t verify anywhere, then some mythical sky being created us all? The fossil record DOES point to evolution, clearly and unequivocally, then again I get the impression I’m talking to a creationist who just won’t admit it so I will be wasting my breath.

      • Wade Reply

        June 10, 2012 at 5:39 am

        A crock is slang for utter nonsense.
        Science is showing some rare mutated changes that can benefit life-forms. And many damaging mutations. All the beneficial mutations are showing changes to coding genes or losses to coding genes, I’m just saying there’s a lack of evidence for extra coding genes ever having a benefit. This is indicating some sort of limit to beneficial coding genes which brings doubt on where they came from if they cannot be produced by nature. If you have no extra coding genes this would mean that we would never progress from simple bacteria. So science is battling to confirm evolution and yet devolution (favourable reduced complexity and unfavorable damage) is observed and confirmed in genome sequencing.

        The fossil record is showing trilobites below land animals.
        Geologists say the land mass was very small at the time of the trilobites. Evolutionists interpret this as land animals evolved from trilobites – hahahahahahahaha

        Have they ever thought that the reason that the trilobites are always found below the land animals is that most of the earth used to be sea?? When the land mass spread the animals then migrated to areas above trilobite fossils that used to be in the sea.

        Geologists say the landmass was nearly completely low-lying swampland. Huge floodplains and vast coastal wetlands, covering most of the planet dominated by amphibians. In the dryer environment these amphibians died off and then reptiles and mammals dominated the planet. These are the clear geological facts.
        Evolutionists therefore say that the amphibians became the reptiles hahahahahahahahahaha

        Its all just so funny

  6. Chris Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

    To Ringo..

    No an assumption is an assumption it is not science. Can you please point to me where in the scientific method it states… “Make an assumption about the conclusion”. If you cannot show me this then you must admit that the assumptions that evolution makes are not scientific. (No assumption is scientific anyway so this really is overkill).

    Furthermore I find it interesting that you attack creationism since I never even mentioned it. Also it seems that calling someone a creationist is an “I win button” to you… Surely you do realise that such a thing already shows the weakness in your position, since calling people names is a sign of weakness.

    As I already have shown the fossil record makes no claims to evolution since they cannot demonstrate empirically HOW they came to be similar. The only empirical thing you can claim from fossils is that you have a bunch of fossil. ANYTHING else is putting your imagination to work on adding assumptions to the mix. I’ve already shown how assumptions are not scientific.

    This is because a person makes an assumption with the limited knowledge that they have there and then. Who is to say that we have all the pieces of the puzzle? Hence to make assumptions, which are equivalent essentially guesses, would be very stupid. However the fact that you believe that assumption-“science” is science is evidence that you don’t understand what science actually is… Sad really!

  7. Ringo Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Postulate as defined by dictionary.com:

    6. a proposition that requires no proof, being self-evident, or that is for a specific purpose assumed true, and that is used in the proof of other propositions; axiom.
    a fundamental principle.
    a necessary condition; prerequisite.

    Now Chris if you knew anything about science, or mathematics for that matter, you will know that assumptions are made all the time. It is called postulation. So please stop trying to convince us, with some sort of double speak, that evolution is a pseudo-science. That makes you a pseudo-intellectual. Failing your sudden and dramatic disappearance how about providing a scholarly reference for your babble? Where is the research to support your claim? I believe in evolution and there are literally thousands upon thousands of pages, scholarly articles, books, and etc. to support it. Yet, when I research your ideas I find nothing. In the alternative what is this “real science” of which you speak? Where are your references and your research? You don’t postulate in your world of “real science?”

  8. mark Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Evolution requires so much faith to believe in.
    1, there is nothing it explodes and forms a perfect galaxies and stars

    2, small star ( the sun) has planets around it but one has the exact distance to form carbon based life and has the right balance of chemicals and nutrients to support life but all this just happened from the big bang

    3 the chemicals become alive. How we dont know we cant reproduce this.

    4 alive cells now multiply and do not die

    5, the cells mutate and grow into different things

    6 the things then over thousands of years do things that make them dead ie go from water breathing to air breathing. question why did they do that evolution i thought was the survival of the fittest any water breather try s air it dies. when we have an air breather who did it mate with?

    7 carry on with this include flying that was messy for a few millenarian you should have seen the mammoths try it.

    you carry the evolution logic forward to humans

    I admire evolutionist there faith and would encourage you to keep at it you inspire so many to believe in God as creation is so much neater and easier to understand.

  9. Chris Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    To Ringo..

    You do realise how hypocritical your response was you ask for a reference yet do not give one for your own claims. Considering that I am calling you on your claim you are the one who needs to support it.

    Yes scientists make assumptions, however these are normally to do with the data itself, ie- the fundamental sampling assumption assumes that the data was collected properly and consistently.

    Yes scientists postulate on things HOWEVER this is ONLY in the formation of a hypothesis. In the subsequent empirical testing of the hypothesis and formation of a conclusion no assumptions are made.

    I asked you to point to me where in the scientific method it states “make assumptions about the conclusion”. Considering you have failed to do so, and your only line of “evidence” is to merely claim that you are right, this is more evidence that you have no idea on what you are talking about.

    Science is based on EMPIRICAL experimentation, assuming the conclusion means that there is no requirement for empirical experimentation which therefore defies the scientific method. This is why I claim that you do not know what science is because your premise defies the central principle of its verification.

    In essence you are asking for “special pleading” since Religion is based on the assumption of God, therefore the fact that you are advocating assuming the conclusion of evolution in “science” means that you are making this logical fallacy a reality.

    In fact evolutionist dogma is built around many logical fallacies.

    Appeal to probability (“over millions of years X can happen”)
    Slippery Slope Fallacy (small changes lead to large changes… though this hasn’t been empirically demonstrated)
    Argument to the future (wishful thinking- “in the future the missing fossil links will be found”)
    Appeal to authority (when debating evolutionists)
    Poisoning the well fallacy (the Creationist I win button I mentioned earlier)
    Equivocation (definition of evolution and species)
    Circular reasoning (“evidence” of evolution assumes evolution is true in the first place)
    Special Pleading (as I discussed earlier)

    This is merely a taste of the intellectual innuendo that is evolutionary thinking.

  10. Bella Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Arguing with creationists is like arguing with drunks. Both are exercises in futility. It’s quite clear by some of these comments that the christian trolls have come to call. Were I you Mr. Ringo I would not waste my time with such fools. By the way god is a myth, a silly lie perpetuated by ancient cave dwellers and men desperate to explain their elevated status in the universe. There is absolutely no evidence, not one shred, of the existence of a god.

    • Anonymous Reply

      June 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      (I’m the anonymous who posted farther up)

      “Arguing with creationists is like arguing with drunks. Both are exercises in futility.”
      To be honest, sometimes we feel the same about you guys. I often wonder weather or not debates of this sort are ever worth it… I don’t think any of us here, evolutionist or not, is willing to change their views any time soon…
      Also, one final thought: just because you haven’t noticed any evidence yet doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

  11. Chris Reply

    June 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    To Anonymous, well said. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, for example we have no evidence that there is Gold on Pluto… Yet there could be Gold on Pluto for all we know. The only time that absence of evidence is evidence in and of itself is when what we expect is more than what we get. For example if I said there are two moons, and we only saw one that absence is evidence against there being a 2nd moon since we’d expect to see a 2nd one there.

    The kicker to this is do we expect more if God is claimed to be real. Considering the origin of the universe which is unexplainable by naturalist thinking, (and defys some laws of physics and logic), as well as the origin of life which requires whole systems to be developed and working in order for it to survive… I believe that there these observations are suffice in what we would expect if there was a God.

    Yes I am quite sure that no-one is willing to change their minds here. However at lest the Christian / Jew / Agnostic / Islamic / etc can be rest assured that they are taking the open minded approach by considering all sides of the debate rather than the atheist who is obsessed only with one.

    To Bella, you do realise that such a claim is made when the person has no further evidence or points to pursue. As I wrote to Ringo, name calling and false accusations / sweeping generalizations are signs of weakness in one’s position. In other words they define the point when one is “scrapping the bottom of the barrel”.

    Perhaps consider this (very) simple line of reasoning as evidence of a designer, (note how I don’t claim as to WHO this designer is since I believe that is still unknown and thus debatable)

    Premise 1: Information only comes from intelligence, there is no naturalist process by which information is generated.
    Premise 2: DNA in cells contain information.

    Question: What was the intelligence that created the information in DNA?

    Honestly naturalists have no reason or cause for the complexity of DNA. Many have claimed it to be akin to digital code. Considering that naturalist dogmna proclaims that evolution is an unguided UNTHINKING process then the fact that DNA has information is an anathema to the very idea of evolution.

    Again, it seems that reality defies evolutionary imagination.

  12. Wade Reply

    June 10, 2012 at 5:22 am

    To Bella

    In the bible the prophet Daniel predicted the rise and fall of kingdoms precisely, the fulfilments occurring for many hundreds of years after his death. The supernatural is real.

  13. Pingback: T-Rex blood and soft tissue find has now been confirmed! | Yec Headquarters 6 Day Creation

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