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A Change of Heart?

The backlash against the South Korean government's plan to remove evolution from high school science textbooks has caused officials to reconsider, reports ScienceInsider's Rachel Nuwer. In May, a South Korean creationist group called the Society for Textbook Revise petitioned the government to drop two examples of evolution from high school texts in that country. "According to microbiologist Bun-Sam Lim, the chief of STR's Scholarship Committee, the organization aims to weed out 'atheist materialism' that paints an 'unhopeful' worldview for students," Nuwer reports. "The Archaeopteryx and horse examples were targeted as 'typical icons of evolutionism.'"

But after the story was reported in Nature, Nuwer adds, Korean researchers began organizing a counter-petition. In June, the Korean education ministry said it would seek out expert opinions on the changes from the Korean academy and the Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies. And it has now announced that it will appoint a new committee to rethink the plan to drop the two examples of evolution. Jae Cho — an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University who helped organize the petition and is known as South Korea's Richard Dawkins — tells Nuwer that "when these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion." For its part, the STR says it will continue to work to have any and all examples of evolution stripped from Korean textbooks.

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