| STRASBOURG, France
STRASBOURG, France Europe's main human rights
body voted on Thursday to urge schools across the continent to
firmly oppose the teaching of creationist and "intelligent
design" views in their science classes.
The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly approved a
resolution saying attacks on the theory of evolution were
rooted "in forms of religious extremism" and amounted to a
dangerous assault on science and human rights.
The text said European schools should "resist presentation
of creationist ideas in any discipline other than religion." It
said the "intelligent design" view defended by some United
States conservatives was an updated version of creationism.
Creationism says God made the world in six days as depicted
in the Bible. Intelligent design argues some life forms are too
complex to have evolved according to Charles Darwin's theory
and needed an unnamed higher intelligence to develop as they
Anne Brasseur, an Assembly member from Luxembourg who
updated an earlier draft resolution, said the report showed how
creationists -- most recently a shadowy Turkish Muslim writer
Harun Yahya -- were trying to infiltrate European schools.
"The purpose of this report is to warn against the attempt
to pass off a belief -- creationism -- as a science and to
teach the theses of this belief in science classes," she said.
"Its purpose is not to fight any belief."
The vote was due in June but was postponed because some
members felt the original text amounted to an attack on
religious belief. A few changes were made to spell out that it
was not directed against religion.
The Council, based in the eastern French city of
Strasbourg, oversees human rights standards in member states
and enforces decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
The resolution, which passed 48 votes to 25 with 3
abstentions, is not binding on the Council's 47 member states
but reflects widespread opposition among politicians to
teaching creationism in science class.
Some conservatives in the United States, both religious and
secular, have long opposed the teaching of evolution in public
schools but U.S. courts have regularly barred them from
teaching what they describe as religious views of creation.
Pressure to teach creationism is weaker in Europe, but has
been mounting. An Assembly committee took up the issue because
Harun Yahya has been sending his lavish Islamic creationist
book "Atlas of Creation" to schools in several countries.
Supporters of intelligent design want it taught in science
class alongside evolution. A U.S. court ruled this out in a
landmark decision in 2005, dismissing it as "neo-creationism."