February 2, 2007
“Disgusting obscurantism and delirium”
Otherwise known as Russian creationism. From Science magazine:
Russian court is scheduled to resume hearing testimony on 21 February in the country’s first legal chal-
lenge to the teaching of Darwinian evolution.
Mariya Shraiber, 16, an 11th grader at public school No. 148 in St. Petersburg, has sued the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, claiming—on the basis of an obscure law governing political parties--that the school’s biology textbook offends her religious sentiments because it does not allow for other theories, such as creationism. She also contends that the science in The Origin of Species is unproven and derived from Marxist-
The case—dubbed the “Monkey Process” by the Russian press as a nod to the Scopes trial—is being promoted by a maverick Russian public relations agent who set up a Web site called antidarvin.ru. Mariya’s father Kirill, who is representing her in court, says his daughter does not belong to any particular faith.
The plaintiffs have the support of members of the Russian Orthodox Church, some of whom have regularly attended the court proceedings. Russian scientists are less enthusiastic. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Vitaly Ginzburg has characterized the lawsuit as “disgusting obscurantism and delirium.”
Andrei Fursenko, the country’s education and science minister, suggested last month in a radio interview that he is not averse to amending the textbook to include a variety of theories.
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