The Rev Prof Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, said that excluding alternatives to scientific explanations for the origin of life and the universe from science lessons was counterproductive and would alienate some children from science altogether.
He said that around one in 10 children comes from a family with creationist beliefs. “My experience after having tried to teach biology for 20 years is if one simply gives the impression that such children are wrong, then they are not likely to learn much about the science,” he said.
“I think a better way forward is to say to them ‘look, I simply want to present you with the scientific understanding of the history of the universe and how animals and plants and other organisms evolved’.”
Reiss said he used to be an “evangelist” for evolution in the classroom, but that the approach had backfired. “I realised that simply banging on about evolution and natural selection didn’t lead some pupils to change their minds at all. Now I would be more content simply for them to understand it as one way of understanding the universe,” he said.
Reiss, who is an ordained Church of England minister, told the British Association Festival of Science in Liverpool that science teachers should not see creationism as a “misconception” but as an alternative “world view”. He added that he was not advocating devoting the same time to teaching creationism or intelligent design as to evolution.
I think in the U.S. that refusing to mention God in the classroom has reached blowback proportions. Teachers should tackle creationism, says science education expert | Science | guardian.co.uk