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Friday, 17 December, 1999, 11:17 GMT
Creation story still banned in class

fossil Creationists want pupils taught an alternative to evolution

A school board in the United States has thrown out a proposal to lift a ban on teaching the biblical story of creation.

Kanawha County board members in Charleston, West Virginia, voted 4-1 against the proposal, despite hearing many speeches from its supporters.

It would have allowed teachers to use their classrooms to challenge Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Most supporters insisted their interest was not in the introduction of religion into schools, but rather in allowing students to hear an argument to counter Darwin's theory.

Darwin Charles Darwin's theory is no longer taught in some schools
Board member Betty Jarvis, who put forward the proposal, said: "This is not about religion.

"I would just like to see a resolution that would raise questions on the fallacies known as evolution.''

Pastors of several churches in the area joined representatives of the West Virginia Education Association and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in vigorously arguing against the proposal.

"The Bible, which I hold to be the word of God, is a book of faith, not of science,'' said the Reverend Parker Druttan, pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church of Charleston.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU had said they would sue if the resolution had been passed.

The US Supreme Court ruled more than a decade ago that the story of creation cannot be taught in schools.

Kanawha County school board approved a policy in 1987 that states "creation science is not to be taught.''

But a separate board policy says when controversial issues are taught, both sides of the issue must be presented.

Earlier this year, the theory of evolution was removed from what pupils in Kentucky were expected to learn.

And education authorities in Kansas made changes to their school tests which were seen as reducing the teaching of evolution.
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See also:
07 Oct 99 |  Education
Evolution removed from school tests
12 Aug 99 |  Americas
Kansas rejects theory of evolution

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