South Korea Ministry of Education Removes Evolution References from Textbooks

Nature reports:

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 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 STR is also campaigning to remove content about “the evolution of humans” and “the adaptation of finch beaks based on habitat and mode of sustenance”, a reference to one of the most famous observations in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

…The STR is an independent offshoot of the Korea Association for Creation Research (KACR), according to KACR spokesman Jungyeol Han. 

The KACR website can be seen here; it seems that an event to promote the revisions will take place on 16 June. A news report here has further details; unfortunately, the Google Translate version is of very limited use.

The popularity of Creationism in  Korea is long-standing; in 2000, New Scientist ran a special issue on how “From Kansas to Korea, Creationism is Flooding the Earth”. The Institute for Creation Research has some general background, in an article by Professor Young-Gil Kim of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who was the first president of the organisation. It appears to be an old article, dating from 1985:

The Korean creation science movement was inspired by a large international creation seminar held during August 12-15, 1980, at the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade Meeting in Seoul, Korea. The seminar, entitled “Creation? Evolution?” attracted great attention, and the total number of attendees was about 4,000.

This first creation science seminar in Korea had a great impact on many people, especially evolutionists. The seminar was covered by Korea’s national TV and radio stations. The invited speakers from the USA were Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish from the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. Walter Bradley, of Texas A & M, and Dr. Charles Thaxton, of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics.

…KACR has published five books, including several translations of ICR books. One Korean-authored book, entitled Is Evolution a Scientific Fact?, has become one of the best-selling books in Korea.

…KACR is now writing a college textbook, Introduction to Natural Science, in terms of the creation model. The writers of the book are Professor Harriet Kim of Seoul National University (Biochemistry), Professor Eun-Ho Lee of Yonsei University (Biology), Professor Jung-Han Kim of Yonsei University (Chemistry), Professor Jung-Wook Kim of Seoul National University (Environmental Science), and Professor Seung-Hong Yang of Kyoungbook University (Physics). 

A second ICR article, by Chon-Ho Hyon, has further details:

…a considerable number of pastors are realizing the importance of creation science education for the youth in their churches. In 1994, Rev. Hongnam Lee, Pastor of Chanyang Presbyterian Church in Daejeon persuaded a few other fellow pastors to join him in support of the KACR mission, especially to give financial assistance for the Creation Science Exhibition Center. In 1995, they founded an organization called “The Creation Science Supporters’ Association.” The purpose of the association was to support the mission of KACR and at the same time to reclaim the younger generation in their churches who had been tainted by evolutionary ideology.

KACR’s achievements are listed; for example:

A project recently completed on “Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway” by Dr. S. W. Hong and others at Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering, demonstrated that the Ark’s design was the best of all possible designs.

Also, interestingly:

It is our vision to strengthen world missions by using creation science as a tool. Drs. Bunsam Yim and Chongsung Kim in Indonesia, a Moslem country, are already using this missionary approach with positive results.