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
Schools in Turkey to Stop Teaching Evolution
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution will no longer be taught in schools in Turkey.   (AP Photo, File)

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. (Read more Turkey stories.)

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