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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Serb schools told to drop Darwin
Charles darwin
Colic described Darwin's theory as dogmatic
Serbia's education minister has ordered schools to stop teaching the theory of evolution for the current school year, a leading newspaper has reported.

The paper, Glas Javnosti, quoted Ljiljana Colic as saying that in future Charles Darwin's theory would only be taught alongside creationism.

Ms Colic said the two theories were equally dogmatic.

Correspondents say the move shocked educators in a republic where religion only recently began to be taught.

Ms Colic said current material on evolution would remain in textbooks but would not be taught.

It was not clear how the ban would be enforced in schools.

Biologist Nikola Tucic described the ruling as "outrageous", and showed Serbia's Orthodox Church was interfering in politics.

"We are slowly turning into a theocratic state and in the 21st Century we are going back to the Book of Revelations," he told the newspaper.

"There were attempts like this in several US states, but they were rejected. It turns out that our fundamentalists are much more successful."

Creationism is the belief that the Old Testament account of God's creation of the world is true.

Darwin's theory of evolution is the dominant explanation of man's origins within the scientific community.

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