Turkey Isn't Going to Teach Kids About Evolution Anymore
Official says evolution is 'controversial' and too complicated for students
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2017 4:54 PM CDT
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution will no longer be taught in schools in Turkey.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – Schools in Turkey will no longer teach evolution, and critics worry the country is moving further away from secularism, the Guardian reports. Alpaslan Durmus, a senior education official under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says evolution is "controversial" and still being debated. He also says it's too complicated a concept for students, who "don't have the necessary scientific background" needed to understand it, according to the New York Times. A chapter on evolution is being removed from ninth-grade biology textbooks.

"The last crumbs of secular scientific education have been removed," the head of a secular teachers union says. And the Telegraph reports a group of Turkish academics released a statement criticizing the move. Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a secular state, but it's moving further away from that under Erdogan, who has said he wants to oversee a "pious generation" of Turkish youth. In addition to forgoing the teaching of evolution, there are reports schools will focus less on Ataturk and more on religion.

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