South Korea: A Creationist Nation

This is just being reported by Nature: South Korea surrenders to creationist demands. It’s the first time in our blogging experience that we’ve seen any news about The Controversy in South Korea. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

SEOUL: A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx. The move has alarmed biologists, who say that they were not consulted.


The campaign was led by the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which aims to delete the “error” of evolution from textbooks to “correct” students’ views of the world, according to the society’s website. The society says that its members include professors of biology and high-school science teachers.


The STR is an independent offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR), according to KACR spokesman Jungyeol Han. Thanks in part to the KACR’s efforts, creation science — which seeks to provide evidence in support of the creation myth described in the Book of Genesis — has had a growing influence in South Korea, although the STR itself has distanced itself from such doctrines.


Even the nation’s leading science institute — the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology — has a creation science display on campus. “The exhibition was set up by scientists who believed in creation science back in 1993,” says Gab-duk Jang, a pastor of the campus church. The institute also has a thriving Research Association for Creation Science, run by professors and students, he adds.

Half a century ago we fought to keep those people from going communist. Now they’ve gone creationist.

There’s nothing we can add at this point, but we assume those folks didn’t figure all this out on their own. The usual suspects in the US are undoubtedly responsible. When we learn more, we’ll let you know.

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17 responses to “South Korea: A Creationist Nation

  1. I agree that creationists from the USA influenced the
    Koreans. I am sure the US creationists/ fundamentalist chaplains,
    that there are a great number of, influenced the Koreans, too.
    According to Wikipedia: 18.3% are Protestants and 10.9% are Catholics
    Those stats lead me to think that the creationist victory may be
    short lived if the more enlightened realize what the real meaning
    and goals are of the creationists.

  2. S. Korea ranked 3rd among first world nations in terms of science education in 2010, while the US was 17th. Looks like we might be moving on up!

  3. Charley Horse: “Those stats lead me to think that the creationist victory may be short lived if the more enlightened realize what the real meaning and goals are of the creationists.”

    Ah, but who are “the enlightened”? Probably only a tiny minority of the other ~70%. The rest are probably just as suspicious of science as Americans are, and just as easily fooled by slick pseudoscience-peddlers. Note that their brand of “creationism” is to merely omit evolution, and not to add any easily-falsifed claims, either for one of the mutually-contradictory “creationist” positions, or the usual misrepresentations of evolution.
    Note that the DI does not even approve of that strategy, but rather demands that evolution be taught – so that it can be accompanied by arguments “designed” specifically to promote unreasonable doubt, and with all refutations of those arguments censored. Of course they will not likely advertise their disapproval. And they, and all US anti-evolution activist organizations, will clearly show their audacious double standard – they throw tantrums time they are “not consulted” but will surely ignore that the biologists who actually earn the right to have their material taught were not! I say that they will “clearly” show it, but unfortunately not even the small minority that will notice will usually not bother to point it out to the rest. More likely they’ll just whine about “sneaking in God.”

  4. NeonNoodle

    This post surprised me. I thought South Korea was more advanced, but maybe that was just in comparison to the Stone Age “necropolis” (to paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens) to their north.

  5. A New Global Dark Age is approaching. Better communication ability apparently means bad ideas can be absorbed as easily as good ones.
    If it looks like science on an iphone screen, and has color displays,
    its kind of like a witch doctor woth face paint meant to impress by appearance rather than content.

  6. There’s nothing we can add at this point, but we assume those folks didn’t figure all this out on their own.

    Right, because it’s not like Koreans can read or think for themselves, they must have been tricked by American creationists? That’s a little paternalistic, don’t you think?

    This isn’t news to anyone whose spent any time around Koreans–I alluded to this a few days ago here.

    Koreans are intelligent, adult humans morally responsible for their actions. If they have chosen to embrace creationism, that’s is THEIR choice. They’re not children or puppets.

    This didn’t happen overnight either. Christianity has been growing in Korea for five hundred years.

    Have we forgotten that one of the of the DI fellows is a member of the Unification Church, headed by a South Korean creationist whose spent millions to influence America politics? Which way does the influence run?

    I was just as angry when American progressives blamed the anti-gay laws in Uganda on American Christians, as though persecution of gays is not something Africans came up with on their own and is not historically endemic all over Africa–no, one delegation of evangelist Christians three years ago must have planted the idea in their heads.

  7. This doesn’t suprise me. The first week I lived in Uijongbu Korean Jehovah’s witnesses came to my door. When I answered the got all excited because they happened to have a few of their flyers in English.

    Seoul is no better, it is home to the largest evangelical congregation in the world. Following the Korean War American missionaries flooded to South Korea to convert them from Buddhism and local religions.

    I head back to Seoul in a few months. It is really sad that creationism has been able to subvert such an intelligent and industrious people. Missionaries are a cancer that eats away culture and history.

  8. “That’s a little paternalistic, don’t you think?”

    You have to take into account their history, espeically under Japanese rule. I don’t think it is paternalistic to assume that being inundated with American Bible-thumpers following a war played a large role in their current acceptance of creationism.

  9. Gabriel Hanna says: “That’s a little paternalistic, don’t you think?”

    Come on, Gabe. I was thinking of the literature that US creation scientists have developed and that they pass around and lecture about in meetings around the world. My assumption is that such material is the foundation of the creationist movements in many other countries.

  10. Jonathan Bartlett

    The Nature report is highly misleading. I put some additional information that Nature left out here

  11. Cruising the web…found a new word for those of the fanatical protestant
    persuasion–gaedoks. Korean word.
    As one commenter on one Korean article put it:
    Science is science and religion is religion, why try to change the context by petitioning??? Should we petition to change the Biblical storylines??

  12. that would be hilarious – imagine the reaction if there was a movement to edit the Bible to exlude the creation account.

  13. TJW: “that would be hilarious – imagine the reaction if there was a movement to edit the Bible to exlude the creation account.”

    Why would anyone bother? Most major Biblical religions don’t take it literally any more. And even those groups that still do can’t agree on which of several radically different interpretations is “the” literal one.

  14. Spector567

    I’d love to know what there creation science research is.


    From what I read, the lobby was about correcting the truth. I’m a Creationist Christian and I’ve been told that some evolutionist mistakes like Haeckel’s pictures of embryo, and Professor F. Clark Howell’s non factual “ascent of man” would less likely be brought to scrutiny without opposition from creationists.