The land-locked nation of Serbia is rarely in the news these days. According to Wikipedia, “It borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the southwest.” It’s probably not the first place you think of as a vacation destination. The reason this humble blog is mentioning that nation today is because The Controversy between evolution and creationism is alive and well there.
Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have this news headline: Antievolution petition rebuffed in Serbia. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A recent controversial petition challenging the teaching of evolution and calling for the teaching of creationism in the schools and universities of Serbia is apparently going to be ignored. According to Nature (May 10, 2017), the May 3, 2017, petition, signed by about 170 Serbian academics and intellectuals, was accompanied by a letter addressed to the education, science, and technological development ministry as well as to the education, science, technological development, and information committee of the National Assembly, The letter complained that there is no scientific evidence for evolution and blamed the acceptance of evolution on “globalists and atheists.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Serbian creationists are just as crazed as our own. This is the week-old article in Nature they’re referring to. It discusses several topics, but here’s what it said about Serbia:
Serbia’s evolutionary society has expressed concern over a renewed attack on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by some 170 Serbian academics, including engineers, physicians, artists, philosophers, journalists, teachers and clergy. On 3 May, the group signed a petition to include the teaching of creationist theory in schools and universities. The academics also claim in a letter to the education and science ministry, the parliament, Serbia’s Academy of Sciences and Arts and its leading universities that Darwin’s “dogmatic” theory lacks scientific confirmation. In response, scientists with the evolutionary society said that the signatories and their creationist reasoning lack understanding of simple biology. In 2004, the Serbian education ministry had attempted in vain to ban evolutionary theory from school curricula.
It seems typical of the legislative struggles we see so often in several US states. NCSE says:
Ljiljana Colic, a professor at Belgrade University who lost her job as minister for education in 2004 after ordering the removal of evolution from the high school biology curriculum [Hee hee!], agreed with the petition, according to Radio Free Europe (May 14, 2017). But the dean of the biology department, Zeljko Tomanovic, retorted, “It is the old creationist ideas that are totally anachronistic and unscientific. There is no scientific knowledge that supports the aforementioned claims [of creationism] and that deny evolution.”
Same old story — droolers versus sane people. What happened then? NCSE tells us:
The Serbian Biological Society, together with a number of Serbian scientific societies and the science faculty at a number of Serbian universities, sent a letter dated May 9, 2017, to the ministry and the committee. The letter described evolution as “the backbone of modern biology,” observed that the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences endorsed the IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, and warned that the goals of the petition were inappropriate for a secular republic such as Serbia.
We’ve seen conflicts like that all the time in various US state legislatures, where sane and crazed witnesses testify about attempts to pass laws based on the anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act promoted by the Discovery Institute. Usually such creationist legislation is defeated, but in some backward states it gets enacted into law. What happened in Serbia? According to NCSE:
Subsequently, the Serbian state news agency Tanjug (May 10, 2017) reported that Mladen Sarcevic, the minister of education, science, and technological development, said that the ministry will not comply with the petition.
We congratulate Serbia, and we ask you, dear reader, to compare the obvious sanity which prevails there to US states like Louisiana and Tennessee that have declared the “academic freedom” to “teach the controversy” and present the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution in their government schools. Are the governments in those states embarrassed by Serbia’s enlightened attitude? Probably not. Tragic, isn’t it?
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