Is South Korea Removing Evolution From Public School Textbooks?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who is a fellow creation scientist residing in South Korea sent me an email explaining that certain “iconic” examples of evolution were going to be removed from South Korean public school biology textbooks. I couldn’t help but think how different the situation is here in the U.S. Instead of removing so-called “evolutionary examples,” U.S. textbook publishers keep adding them (see Evolution Exposed for more details).

My friend “Luke” wrote, “These scientists (including myself) collected scientific evidences disproving supposed evolution facts and submitted petitions to the Korean Ministry of Education. The governmental officers accommodated petitions and many public school textbook publishers are going to delete or modify current contents of archeopteryx and horse evolution.” The scientists submitting the petition were part of a group called the Society for Textbook Revision (STR) that is associated with the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR).

According to an article from a Seoul newspaper that Luke translated for me,

On May 16 2012, The Korean Ministry of Education announced that three out of seven governmentally approved textbook publishers accepted a petition, entitled “Gradual changes of horse evolution is an imaginary description and does not have scientific basis.” One publisher (Chunjae Education) is going to replace whale evolution in the place of horse evolution in textbook description. The other two publishers (Kyohak Publishing and Sangsang Academy) are going to delete horse evolution examples in textbook.

Although whale evolution is also an imaginary description, it is encouraging that two of the publishers are going to remove the horse evolution series completely. As Ken Ham mentioned in his blog recently upon seeing a display of horse evolution at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park, “Many of us will remember seeing the supposed ‘horse evolution’ series in our textbooks many years ago. However, this idea has been basically thrown out—even by many secularists. It is simply not true. The flaws have been exposed many times, but sadly, that doesn’t always stop some museums and science textbooks from regurgitating this old idea.” It’s good to see Korean publishers eliminating outdated and false information (even considered to be so by evolutionists!) from their textbooks.

Another icon that STR wanted removed from textbooks was Archaeopteryx, the supposed link between dinosaurs and birds. The Seoul newspaper article (translated by Luke) stated, “In December 2011, STR submitted a petition, “Archaeopteryx is not an intermediate form of reptile to bird.” The Korean Ministry of Education accepted this petition and six out of seven governmentally approved textbook publishers are going to delete or revise wrong descriptions of Archaeopteryx in their textbooks in the future.” Even among secular scientists there is much debate as to the identity of Archaeopteryx—whether bird, dinosaur, or something in between. As biblical creationists, we know it was not a transitional form between dinosaurs and birds, since birds were created on Day Five and dinosaurs on Day Six. Most creationists would classify Archaeopteryx as a bird with some odd features.

And STR isn’t finished! The Seoul newspaper article reports, “STR is going to submit more petitions of human evolution, Darwin’s finches, and peppered moth evolution, etc. to delete or revise these evolution contents in textbook. STR’s ultimate goal is to change the current Korean education policy of evolution being a scientifically valid theory.” Although Darwin’s finches and peppered moths are good examples of variation within a kind, they are not examples of molecules-to-man evolution.

The Korean Ministry of Education did not force the changes in textbooks. The Seoul newspaper article writes, “One publisher, Kyohak publishing, mentioned that textbook authors carefully reviewed these petitions and authors decided to delete or modify these evolution contents since these are not scientifically valid enough to describe them as established facts in science textbook.” Unlike the Nature article headline on this issue that reads, “South Korea surrenders to creationist demands,” I think it is unlikely that the petitions by STR will be successful in removing all “icons of evolution” from textbooks. Or that textbook authors will change their mind about evolution. After all, these are public schools and public school textbooks, and they do not hold to the authority of Scripture. However, STR and KACR may be successful in showing the problems with supposed evidence for evolution to the extent that evolutionary content of the textbooks is effectively “watered down.”

STR is being successful in using good observational science to point out problems with certain examples as support of an evolutionary view of historical science. For example, Darwin’s finches and peppered moths are good examples in the observable present of what can happen as a result of natural selection and other processes. What is observable is that the mechanisms resulting in variation, different sizes of finch beaks and different colors of moths; are not the result of new genetic information. No matter how much time is given, finches remain finches and moths remain moths because there is no known mechanism to allow them to evolve from one kind of organism into another. Thus, these examples and many others do not support molecules-to-man evolution.

Of course, STR is being met with opposition. Dayk Jang, an evolutionary scientist at Seoul National University, “is now organizing a group of experts, including evolutionary scientists and theologians who believe in evolution, to counter the STR’s campaign by working to improve the teaching of evolution in the classroom, and in broader public life.” I pray that the victories being won by STR and KACR are not short-lived.

Whether in the U.S. or South Korea, public schools need to present valid and updated information in their textbooks, and teachers need to be given the freedom to point out the problems with many of the so-called evolutionary icons. I’m so thankful for the great resources AiG offers to help equip parents and students like my new DVD Kids’ Most Asked Questions and the Evolution Exposed series.

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!