Europe - Balkans
Serbia reverses ban on Darwinism
("BBC News," September 9, 2004)
The Serbian government has reversed an order to ban Charles Darwin's theory of evolution from schools, following widespread criticism from scientists.
"I have come here to confirm Charles Darwin is still alive," said deputy education minister Milan Brdar.
His boss, Ljiljana Colic, who had announced the controversial policy, had gone "away on business", he said.
She had proposed banning the evolution theory this school year, until creationism could be taught alongside.
Both Darwin's theory of natural selection and the Old Testament view on the beginning of life were equally dogmatic, the minister had said.
After a deluge of protest from scientists, teachers and opposition parties, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called Ms Colic in for a meeting.
They agreed to drop the move, Mr Brdar said.
Biologist Nikola Tucic described the original ruling as "outrageous" and said it showed Serbia's Orthodox Church was interfering in politics.
"We are slowly turning into a theocratic state and in the 21st Century we are going back to the Book of Revelations," he said.