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Science Wins Over Creationism In South Korea 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the bribed-with-vespene-gas dept.
ananyo writes "South Korea's government has urged textbook publishers to ignore calls to remove two examples of evolution from high-school textbooks. The move marks a change of heart for the government, which had earlier forwarded a petition from the 'Society for Textbook Revise' to publishers and told them to make their own minds up about the demands. The petition called for details about the evolution of the horse and of the avian ancestor Archaeopteryx to be removed from the books. In May, news emerged that publishers were planning to drop the offending sections, sparking outrage among some scientists. The resulting furor prompted the government to set up an 11-member panel, led by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. On 5 September, the panel concluded that Archaeopteryx must be included in Korean science textbooks. And, while accepting that the textbooks' explanation of the evolution of the horse was too simplistic, the panel said the entry should be revised rather than removed or replaced with a different example, such as the evolution of whales."
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Science Wins Over Creationism In South Korea

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  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:54AM (#41258961)
    The Fellowship of the Rings should be taught in science class along side the [derisive tone] "theory" of evolution. Precious.
  • by StripedCow (776465) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:55AM (#41258971)

    Your phone did not pop into existence by command of an almighty Creator. Instead, it evolved in over hundreds of years from insights and incremental improvements from many different people.

    Silly Americans to think different(ly) (tm)

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday September 07, 2012 @07:59AM (#41258989) Homepage

      Your phone did not pop into existence by command of an almighty Creator. Instead,

      Wrong...

      I even know people who claim to have seen Steve Jobs in person. That proves he's real.

    • by Petron (1771156)

      Your phone didn't make itself and crawl out of a pile of parts either... It was intelligently designed. Its evolution was planned.

      • by andy16666 (1592393) on Friday September 07, 2012 @09:11AM (#41259731)
        You know what's funny, is that human design does bear a stronger resemblance to evolution than to the top to bottom all at once intelligent design proposed by ID. Especially when that design is the result of years of experimental products involving the market as a selection force. Ideas of course would be the genetic material.

        Like it or not, there is not a single high tech product on the market that could be designed from top to bottom by a single man in effective isolation. Most (and usually almost all) of the functionality and design in even the most (apparently) original products is simply inherited from earlier generations of products, even if it's combined in an somewhat novel way on occasion.
  • by revelation60 (2036940) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:09AM (#41259087)
    Woppa science style!
  • Christianity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by puddingebola (2036796) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:09AM (#41259089) Journal
    According to the Wikipedia page, Christianity came to South Korea in the 17th century. When the more obnoxious form of modern fundamentalist Christianity arrived, with anti-science creationism, I'm not sure. Or maybe that statement is a bit ridiculous, since anti-science creationism is part of the original philosophy. Does anyone have any insight into the history of this form of evangelical Christianity? There is now a Korea Association for Creation Research, whose history I'd like to know more about. I imagine they have some tie to the Institute for Creation Research. Creationism, setting science education back by several centuries.
    • Re:Christianity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:37AM (#41259321)

      According to the Wikipedia page, Christianity came to South Korea in the 17th century. When the more obnoxious form of modern fundamentalist Christianity arrived, with anti-science creationism, I'm not sure. Or maybe that statement is a bit ridiculous, since anti-science creationism is part of the original philosophy. Does anyone have any insight into the history of this form of evangelical Christianity?

      I don't know about the history of Christianity specifically in Korea, but I do know that even the term "fundamentalism" as applied to Christianity didn't exist until the early 20th century. (It's derived from The Fundamentals, a series of conservative Christian essays published between 1910 and 1915.) For most of Christian history, the Bible was interpreted metaphorically in areas where a literal interpretation would lead to absurd results. Even St. Augustine, a highly conservative Christian writing in the 4th-5th century, said that Christians should not hold up the faith to ridicule by insisting on a literal interpretation of the Bible: "Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn."

      Fundamentalism is not a pre-modern ideology, but a specific reaction to modernity. The same is true of Islamic Wahabbism, which is akin to Christian Fundamentalism in many ways. They think they are "that old time religion" but they are actually nothing of the sort. A medieval Christian or Muslim would have found these ideologies both repulsive and unrecognizable.

      • They think they are "that old time religion" but they are actually nothing of the sort.

        Everyone wants to turn the clock back to those Good Old Days that never existed.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I don't know about the history of Christianity specifically in Korea, but I do know that even the term "fundamentalism" as applied to Christianity didn't exist until the early 20th century. (It's derived from The Fundamentals, a series of conservative Christian essays published between 1910 and 1915.) For most of Christian history, the Bible was interpreted metaphorically in areas where a literal interpretation would lead to absurd results. Even St. Augustine, a highly conservative Christian writing in the

  • by ACK!! (10229) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:16AM (#41259141) Journal
    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.
  • by seven of five (578993) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:37AM (#41259319) Homepage
    I think South Korea's education system may have more pressing problems...
  • IMBA! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr. Spork (142693) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:47AM (#41259437)
    Wow, if Korea turned against evolution, how would Zerg do their upgrades?
    • by KatchooNJ (173554)

      That one literally got me laughing out loud at work. lol I would toss you a point if I had one. :-D Thanks for the laugh.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday September 07, 2012 @08:59AM (#41259563)

    evolution of the horse

    I'm sorry, but science simply cannot explain how the pegasus (equus aves) and unicorn (equus magicus) arose from the earth pony (equus terra) without intervention from the goddess Faustia.

  • by Koreantoast (527520) on Friday September 07, 2012 @10:23AM (#41260509)
    I think it's worth reposting this:

    No Evolution in Korea?

    "What STR did manage to pull off with three textbook publishers was this: STR convinced those publishers that two diagrams in their books -- one about the evolution of horses, and the other about archeopteryx -- and the text accompanying them were scientifically incorrect. Notice the claim here: the claim was not that the diagrams were against creationism. The claim was that the diagrams were scientifically incorrect."

    "And you know what? Technically, they were right! The diagram above showing the evolution of horses is horribly outdated, and the pictures no longer comport with the current scientific consensus. The text accompanying archeopteryx said archeopteryx is the middle step between dinosaurs and birds, which is also technically incorrect -- archeopteryx is considered a close relative to the true ancestral birds, not itself a true ancestral bird. So the three textbook companies decided that they would drop the two diagrams in the next edition of their textbooks."

    "Pay close attention to what actually happened here. What got dropped was two diagrams and the accompanying texts about evolution that were scientifically incorrect -- not the theory of evolution. It is not possible for the textbook publishers to drop the discussion about the theory of evolution, because that would violate MEST guidelines. Further, not even the decision to drop the two diagrams was final, because MEST still had to approve the new textbooks that the publishers proposed to make."

    "But of course, STR nutcases thought they scored a huge victory for creationism, and started trumpeting their "victory." By and large, Korean media yawned -- exactly one national newspaper (and a relatively minor one at that) covered the story, and even that story made it quite clear that all that got dropped were diagrams. But the Nature magazine decided to run with the story, with a sensational headline that read: "South Korea surrenders to creationist demands," and here we are -- Korea is branded as a dumb country that doesn't believe in evolution."

    Basically, it didn't become a problem until foreigners misunderstood what happened and trumpeted it as the beginning of creationism in Korea. The Korean government responded not because of creeping creationism but to save face in front of the international community. If anything, this whole misunderstanding may in fact work in favor of creationists in Korea because now it has drawn attention to what had been a fringe, ignored cause from other creationist movements overseas.

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