Italy: Italian scientists rally behind evolution

Italian scientists rally behind evolution

At the beginning of March, members of Italy’s scientific community were called to action. Their impetus? A decree by the ministry of education to remove evolutionary theory from middle school science curriculum.

The Rev. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, said that evolution is a scientific conclusion that does not deny the existence of God. “Whether evolution is true or not is a separate issue,” he said. “It’s true from a scientific view. God could create an evolutionary world just as He could create a static world.”

Pigliucci explained that anti-evolutionist sentiment in Italy is a part of an extreme right-wing political minority that links evolution to Marxism and is uninformed about accurate Darwinian theory. This connection, though, is weak, he said. Out of admiration, Marx wanted to dedicate the capitol to Darwin, but the naturalist refused, recognizing that any political affiliation could taint his scientific credibility.

Overwhelmed with protest –from both the scientific community and the general public – Moratti retracted the proposal within a week. In an official statement, she said: “The teaching of Darwin’s theories are ensured starting in elementary school. A commission headed by Rita Levi-Montalcini will work with me to develop a precise proposal.” The commission has not yet determined when to begin discussions.