Serbia takes a bold step back into the Middle Ages

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I've gotten several e-mails about this sad situation: Serbia has decreed that evolution not be taught.

Serbian Education Minister Ljiljana Colic has ordered schools to stop teaching children the theory of evolution for this year, and to resume teaching it in future only if it shares equal billing with creationism.
The move has shocked educators and textbook editors in the formerly communist state, where religion was kept out of education and politics and was only recently allowed to enter the classroom.
"(Darwinism) is a theory as dogmatic as the one which says God created the first man," Colic told the daily Glas Javnosti.
Colic, an Orthdox Christian, ordered that evolution theory be dropped from this year's biology course for 14- and 15-year-olds in the final grade of primary school. As of next year, both creationism and evolution will be taught, she said.

I'm not exactly thrilled with the peculiar implication that keeping religion out of the classroom has something to do with being a communist state…after all, we have our own creationists trying to manipulate the school system, and they tend to be anti-communist. This is a sad day for the school children of Serbia, unfortunately. Their education is getting compromised.

"Both theories exist in parallel and legitimately in the rest of the world," Colic asserted. "The evolutionist, which says man is descended from the ape, and the one which says God Almighty created man and the entire world."

It's not at all surprising to see a creationist lie like that. No, creationism is not a legitimate theory anywhere in the world.

Belgrade University biology lecturer Nikola Tucic called the education minister's ruling a "disaster."
"This is outrageous…We are slowly turning into a theocratic state and in the 21st century we are going back to the Book of Revelations," Tucic told Glas Javnosti, referring to the final section of the Christian Bible.
"Where did the minister get the idea that Darwin's theory was dogmatic? There were attempts like this in several U.S. states, but they were rejected. It turns out that our fundamentalists are much more successful," he said.

I see how it could be worse here in the US, and we can be thankful we don't have a Ljiljana Colic in charge of our educational system. That doesn't change the fact that this is a waste of many children's minds, and we should all be distressed at this unfortunate turn.

8 Comments

Fine with me! We can use Serbia as an experiment in chaos.

I’d give my right arm to be on the curriculum committee. Imagine having to slog through ICR, AIG, and Discovery Institute materials, reconciling them and presenting that material to public school students. Fun galore.

P

Hmm, I wonder if the AiG mission to the Olympics had anything to do with this.…

Colic holds a Masters in Philosophy and Ph.D. in philology. She is an associate professor at Belgrade University, where she used to be a guest professor at the Faculty of Philosophy. In the main article she states that it is “normal that a minister’s personality leaves a mark,” adding: “This is my mark, and time will tell if I was right.”

I believe the order not to teach evolution in Serbia is a natural reaction to the suppression of religion by the former Yugoslavia’s communist rulers. The pendulum just swings in the opposite direction. Similar events are now happening in Russia where the churches during the communist rule were converted into storages of potatoes but now have gold-plated domes while millions are in an abject poverty. Recently an exhibition of atheists in Moscow was attacked by a mob and destroyed while its organizers were severely beaten up (and the courts took the side of the religious hooligans, condemning the exhibition’s organizers). Just one more example of any extreme position being destructive and counter-productive, no matter left or right.

Actually this fits in with what I’ve heard of the quality of Serbia’s political, er, ‘elite.’ Your choice of stupid and corrupt or stupid and barking mad! Have sent links to this discussion and the MNSBC story to one or two expatriate Serbian friends of mine, am eagerly awaiting their comments.

Ok, so Serbia was busy for a couple of days, making fun of this imbecile order, and here are the results:

http://www.b92.net/english/news/ind[…]mp;yyyy=2004

The goverment is playing the “we were just kidding, no harm done” game, but I for one will not be satisfied with this. I want that women out of office! Btw, when put in broader context, all this does have a lot to do with the Serbian Orthodox Church, and its revamping. It’s a good thing to have freedom of religion back. Having the clergy behave as if they’ve all recently risen from the grave and are now scouring for blood is not.

P.S. I agree with the comment on the quality of our ruling elite.

And here is the epilogue:

Anti-Darwin minister quits, September 16 2004 Education Minister Ljiljana Colic has resigned, just hours before she was expected to be dismissed.

According to a government statement, Colic reported to Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on the results of her ministry and the problems which faced her.

Because those problems had begun to affect the work of the government, said Colic, she had decided to resign.

Kostunica has accepted the resignation of the minister, who is a member of his Democratic Party of Serbia, and thanked her for her work.

That work included her personal decision to ban the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution from Serbian schools. This led to growing calls for her dismissal, and focused worldwide attention on the eccentricities of the Serbian education system.

Several sources reported this morning that Colic would be dumped at today’s cabinet meeting. Daily Blic writes that Kostunica’s candidate for the Belgrade mayoral elections had, had demanded her dismissal, warning that she was affecting the party’s ratings for next weekend’s local government elections.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on September 8, 2004 1:28 PM.

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