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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 12:36 GMT
Blair downplays creationism fears
Tony Blair
Tony Blair said issues such as GM foods were important
The prime minister has rejected worries about current teaching of creationism - saying it would only be a concern if it became the "mainstream" of education.

Tony Blair dismissed concerns about creationism in schools, saying they were often "hugely exaggerated".

He said scientists should concentrate on fighting the right "battles" - such as on GM food or climate change.

Mr Blair, speaking to New Scientist, said these were more important issues to have a "real debate" about.

The Department for Education said creationism was not taught as a subject in schools.

I wouldn't bother fighting a great battle over homeopathy - there are people who use it, people who don't use it, it is not going to determine the future of the world, frankly
Tony Blair

The national curriculum requires that Darwinian evolution is put across as the dominant scientific theory, but also requires that pupils are taught "how scientific controversies can result from different ways of interpreting empirical data".

In an interview with the magazine ahead of a speech on science on Friday, Mr Blair said he had visited one school where creationism was taught.

"Actually what they are providing, which is far more important, [is] the first disciplined, high-quality teaching that most of these kids have ever had.

"If I notice creationism becoming the mainstream of the education system in this country, I think that is the time to start worrying."

He said he did not believe creationism was science, adding: "I don't suppose the people who teach it or preach it would say that it is."

Explanations

He said getting the public to understand such scientific developments as stem cell research and genetically modified food was more important for scientists.

"I think that most people today have a rational view about science and my advice to the scientific community would be fight the battles you need to fight.

"I wouldn't bother fighting a great battle over homeopathy - there are people who use it, people who don't use it, it is not going to determine the future of the world, frankly.

"What will determine the future of the world however, is the scientific community explaining for example the science of genetics and how it develops, or the issue to do with climate change and so on."


SEE ALSO
Fears over teaching creationism
21 Mar 06 |  Education
Would you Adam and Eve it?
01 Apr 05 |  Magazine
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