CREATIONISM and intelligent design will be taught in Queensland state schools for the first time as part of the new national curriculum.
Creationists dismiss the science of evolution, instead believing that living things are best explained by an intelligent being or God, rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.
The issue of creationism being taught in schools has caused huge controversy in the US, where some fundamentalist religious schools teach it as a science subject instead of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of “controversies”.
Teachers are still formulating a response to the draft national curriculum, scheduled to be introduced next year.
Queensland History Teachers’ Association head Kay Bishop said the curriculum asked students to develop their historical skills in an “investigation of a controversial issue” such as “human origins (eg, Darwin’s theory of evolution and its critics”).
“It’s opening up opportunities for debate and discussion, not to push a particular view,” Ms Bishop said. Classroom debate about issues encouraged critical thinking – an important tool, she said.
Associated Christian Schools executive officer Lynne Doneley welcomed the draft curriculum, saying it cemented the position of a faith-based approach to teaching.
“We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we’re not biased in the delivery of curriculum,” Mrs Doneley said. “We say, ‘This is where we’re coming from’ but allow students to make up their own minds.”
But Griffith University humanities lecturer Paul Williams said it was important to be cautious about such content.
“It’s important that education authorities are vigilant that this is not a blank cheque to push theological barrows,” Mr Williams said.
“I would be loath to see it taught as theory.
“It’s up there with the world being occupied by aliens since Roswell.”
Ms Bishop said there were bigger problems with the national curriculum.
History teachers are planning to object to repetitive subject matter, such as World War I being a major part of the Year 10 course and repeated in Year 11.