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Richard Dawkins among academics calling for compulsory evolution teaching at primary school

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Evolution should be taught to all primary school pupils, according to leading scientists and academics.

Experts including three Nobel laureates and Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist, are calling on the new Government to make teaching of the theory a compulsory part of the curriculum.

They say it is necessary because of the increasing number of schools that do not have to follow the curriculum, and because of the “threat” posed by the religious concept of creationism.

It comes after two proposals to ensure pupils are taught Darwin’s theory of natural selection were dropped, one by Labour and the other by the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition.

The 26 signatories to the letter sent to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, say they are “deeply concerned that evolution and science form a core part of any revised primary curriculum”.

They wrote: “Evolution is the most important idea underlying biological science. It is a key concept that children should be introduced to at an early stage.

“Whatever curriculum reforms are made, we urge that there is teaching of evolution for all school-age children, and especially in the primary curriculum.”

Most English schools teach evolution, the theory developed by Charles Darwin that organisms develop over time with only the most successful mutations surviving.

But in recent years its position has been challenged by the increasing popularity of theories supported by devout Muslims and Christians.
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