I know third world countries are currently known as under-development, a more politically correct way to say the same thing. And I also know that news coverage about under development countries, at least in North American media, is very limited and brief. Usually you find reports in the business section or when some natural or man made catastrophe happens. So it is no surprise when you don’t find anything about creationism teaching and under-development countries (at least on the outlets I am used to check).
This week, the most important Brazilian magazine, Veja (like it or not) has a review on the educational quality of Adventist-supported schools. The title of the report is clear: Thank God – and not Darwin (in a free translation; warning: resource available to subscribers and in Portuguese). After introductory paragraphs putting in historical context church-supported schools in Brazil and the good level of formal education of students coming out these schools, the article gets to the point of evolution/creationism teaching that is common in such schools.
We learn that religion classes are a daily event, and in such classes religious hymns are chanted with fervour. And this starts in kindergarten, along with children’s versions of the Old Testament. And the most important, creationism is taught side-by-side with evolution.
We are clear about our point of view, creationist, but we allow the students to know both sides. (…) We respect all customers. Furthermore, they need to know Darwin to be accepted in a university”
Ivany Queiroga da Silva, principal of an Adventist school
In Brazil there is no current unified score to access university. Usually a test hosted by the university is applied once or twice a year with general questions on every subject. That’s why evolution has not been completely banned from their curriculum, but the article also points that such schools are the ones with the largest increase in number of students and profit. Also the Adventist church already has six universities and publish their own school books.
To me, it seems a pretty gloomy future. There is no obstacle for the universities controlled by the adventists to ban evolution from their entry test and from the regular curriculum. Even though they are clearly motivated by profit, it is not impossible that they ban evolution from their schools. When these children, that are taught from the early age with religion concepts, become adults and parents they might see Darwin’s Theory as a wrong and sinful concept. Then the circle is complete, and evolution will be a no-no in these schools and universities.
In a country where more than half of the population is functional illiterate and the science education is precarious, to say the least, these news are very sad. Instead of stepping into the future, it seems that things are slowly drifting back to the past.