- (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Efforts to challenge and even remove the theory of evolution from the public school system in South Korea have been gaining ground after a petition last month seeking to make notable changes to textbooks in favor of creationism proved successful.
The South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that publishers will now be producing revised editions of textbooks without examples of the evolution of the horse or of the avian bird Archaeopteryx, which recent discoveries suggest was a separate species of dinosaur rather than ancestor to all birds. The campaign is apparently being led by an organization called the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which seeks to remove the "error" of evolution from textbooks to "correct" students' views of the world. STR also wants to remove content about the evolution of humans.
Christians in South Korea, which has historically been a Buddhist nation, are still a minority but are rising in numbers. The STR, as part of the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR), supports efforts to provide evidence in support of the creation account described in the book of Genesis, where God creates all animals, as well as the first humans, Adam and Eve. The KACR itself experienced notable success in 2008 when it opened a creationism exhibit at Seoul Land, one of the country's leading amusement parks, Nature magazine shared.
Although the theory of evolution enjoys majority acceptance in most places around the world, a 2009 survey reported in the documentary "The Era of God and Darwin" revealed that almost one-third of Koreans do not believe in evolution – with most of those either claiming there is insufficient scientific evidence to support it, or stating that it contradicts their religious beliefs.
The magazine states that up to 40 percent of biology teachers in Korea are also confused about the acceptance of evolution, as they agreed with a statement that "much of the scientific community doubts if evolution occurs."
"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," says Dayk Jang, an evolutionary scientist at Seoul National University.
Creationism is still a topic of great debate in America as well. A recent Gallup poll found that 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans as they are today within the past 10,000 years, while another 32 percent believe in "theistic evolution," or that God guided the way humans evolved.
On the other hand, 59 percent of Canadians and close to 80 percent of Europeans support the theory of evolution, GMA news shared.