Turkey is Teaching Students About Evolution and Darwin for the Last Time

By Hemant Mehta

When students in Turkey begin school today, it’ll be the last time they hear the words “evolution” or “Darwin” in the classroom. Next year, those words will be eliminated from all textbooks as a more religious regime takes control of what kids learn in school.

The actual change was made this past June, when the head of the Education Ministry’s curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmuş, said lessons on evolution would only occur in college because it was considered too complicated for high schoolers.

The fundamental idea tying together all of science is somehow too difficult for most teenagers to understand.

I say that with the awareness that evolution is taught in U.S. classrooms, but it doesn’t mean teachers always understand it, or that their students always come away with proper knowledge. But removing it from the curriculum will only make the problem worse. A 2006 article in the journal Science noted that, of 34 countries, acceptance of evolution was lowest in the U.S. (~40%) and Turkey (~27%).

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3 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – the head of the Education Ministry’s curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmuş, said lessons on evolution would only occur in college
    because it was considered too complicated for high schoolers.

    Strange that in England basics of evolution are taught to the 10 -11 year olds in primary school (YEAR 6), and encounter fossils in YEAR 3, but in Turkey these are “too complicated” for the head of the Education Ministry’s curriculum board, Alpaslan Durmuş to explain to high-schoolers!

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study#year-6-programme-of-study

    Evolution and inheritance

    Pupils should be taught to:

    recognise that living things have changed over time
    and that fossils provide information about living things
    that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago

    recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind,
    but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

    identify how animals and plants are adapted
    to suit their environment in different ways
    and that adaptation may lead to evolution

    Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

    Building on what they learned about fossils in the topic on rocks in year 3, pupils should find out more about how living things on earth have changed over time.
    They should be introduced to the idea that characteristics are passed from parents to their offspring, for instance by considering different breeds of dogs, and what happens when, for example, labradors are crossed with poodles.
    They should also appreciate that variation in offspring over time can make animals more or less able to survive in particular environments, for example, by exploring how giraffes’ necks got longer, or the development of insulating fur on the arctic fox.
    Pupils might find out about the work of palaeontologists such as Mary Anning and about how Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace developed their ideas on evolution.

    Note: at this stage, pupils are not expected to understand how genes and chromosomes work.

    Pupils might work scientifically by: observing and raising questions about local animals and how they are adapted to their environment; comparing how some living things are adapted to survive in extreme conditions, for example, cactuses, penguins and camels.
    They might analyse the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations, such as being on 2 feet rather than 4, having a long or a short beak, having gills or lungs, tendrils on climbing plants, brightly coloured and scented flowers.

  2. Whilst a few interested parties object to the findings of climate science, and get their stooges to try to cast doubt on AGW, they do so on financial grounds. However when it comes to evolution and the big bang, the objections are invariably from reactionary religious people. I am not familiar with the Koran’s version of Genesis, but presumably the theory of evolution by natural selection conflicts with such account, much as it does with Genesis. If the Turkish ruling class want to shoot the next generation in the foot scientifically, then what better way than not to teach it ?

  3. Mr Darcy #2

    From what I read on FB last night, comments coming in thick and fast, some of the Muslim world want to have him as their religious leader and are in danger also.

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